Dining Design Diary: Go Inside Napa's Newest Haunt, Goose & Gander

Napa and nightlife, an oft lauded oxymoron, is about to get a boot in the butt with the much anticipated opening of St. Helena’s Goose & Gander, shacked up in the former space of one of Napa’s favorite haunts, Martini House.

For months locals have been mourning the loss. Luckily restaurant mogul Andy Florsheim swooped in to refashion this iconic 1920s craftsman bungalow while heeding the locals’ mandate of not “messing with the bar.”

Devotees of Martini House will fret no more when G&G rolls out with a soft opening this week. Alexandra Wines, with the assistance of Trisha Florsheim, led the redesign which is best described as “duck club chic,” right on down to the designer cocktails, shaken and stirred by celebrity mixologist Scott Beattie. The Scarlet Gander (above), concocted with Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Citron Vodka, shiso-ginger-galangal syrup, mint and pickled rhubarb, is the perfect summer swig.

The G&G Burger topped with melted bone marrow and accompanied by duck fat fries is dizzying. Thank you Chef Kelly McCown for not disappointing your groupies. The bar bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, as very little has changed. But dive deeper than a duck and you’ll notice enhancements, starting with the addition of corner booths and high tables to allow for some sorely needed standing room.

The once stuffy formality of the dining room now smacks of the rock ‘n’ roll pub vibe of downstairs, inviting you to slink into cozy banquettes made from recycled leather. The Native American touches of the former space are swapped with reclaimed redwood tables and vintage lighting fixtures which reveal the stunning a-frame ceiling.

The broad entryway to the restaurant, flanked by two 100-year-old Deodar cedar trees, has reverted to its rightful place at the front of the house, flaunting the craftsman nature of this bungalow. If all goes according to the G&G plan, locals will have another reason to rally as the bar scene and bites will roll until midnight. Any which way you pluck the duck, these redesigned digs have got soul.

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