Step inside this pawn shop and you'll find ... a hidden tapas and wine bar.
SoMa's newest restaurant is already drawing crowds and a little controversy (a faux pawn shop on 6th Street does come off as insensitive), but as it stands, Pawn Shop is a fun hybrid of a restaurant and a club, as if plucked from Miami or recalling theh hidden bars of Berlin, but with food and decor inspired by Spain and Cuba.
To gain entry, you'll have to find the golden phone hidden inside neighboring Monarch or outside the shop and the Pawn Master will size you up before letting you in. The front of the space displays some vintage items, where hopeful diners wait for a table (there are no reservations except for groups of 10 or more). You're then led into a lofty dining room marked by tropical palm wallpaper, a palm tree, a bar backlit with changing colored lighting and stars projected on a blue ceiling. The buzz is palpable and the music pulsating. The crowd is a mix of those who seem to treat the place like a club (dancing around the bar) and those who are there to dine and sip wine.
Chef Nick Ronan (Beso) is in charge of the kitchen, whipping out Spanish tapas like pulpo a la plancha, gambas al ajillo and pan con tomate. California touches come by way of the seasonal vegetables, highlighted in dishes like the coca, a Spanish flatbread covered in greens and cheese over a broccoli-and-almond spread and the ensalada de berza, with kale, dried cranberries, butternut squash, apple and pumpkin seeds in a lemon vinaigrette.
The wine list is mostly European, heavy on varietals from Spain, France and Italy, with special appearances from the likes of the Zweigelt Rosé from Austria. There are a couple low-proof aperitivo cocktails plus Madeira or late harvest wines for dessert, which includes churros, pecan pie, beignets.