Top of the Mark

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Top of the Mark
Interior of the Top of the Mark
Interior, showing view
Top of the Mark is located in San Francisco
Top of the Mark
Location within San Francisco
Top of the Mark is located in California
Top of the Mark
Top of the Mark (California)
Top of the Mark is located in the United States
Top of the Mark
Top of the Mark (the United States)
Restaurant information
EstablishedMay 11, 1939 (1939-05-11)
Owner(s)InterContintental Hotels Corporation
Street address999 California Street
CitySan Francisco
CountySan Francisco
Postal/ZIP Code94108
CountryUnited States
Coordinates37°47′30″N 122°24′37″W / 37.791558°N 122.410364°W / 37.791558; -122.410364Coordinates: 37°47′30″N 122°24′37″W / 37.791558°N 122.410364°W / 37.791558; -122.410364

The Top of the Mark is a penthouse level bar located on the nineteenth floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill at California and Mason Streets in San Francisco, California. Located at the highest point of downtown San Francisco, on fog-free days the Top of the Mark has views of the financial district, Chinatown, North Beach, The San Francisco Bay, and of Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park.


The Mark Hopkins Hotel was built by George D. Smith on the site of the old Mark Hopkins mansion, which had burned down following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The hotel was dedicated in 1926, and the penthouse suite was rented exclusively to Daniel C. Jackling, reputedly at US$1,250 (equivalent to $19,000 in 2021) per month,[1] until he moved to his house in Woodside in 1936.[2] In 1939, shortly after emerging from a 1933 bankruptcy, George Smith convinced the trustees of the Mark to spend US$110,000 (equivalent to $2,148,000 in 2021) to convert the 11-room penthouse on the hotel's 19th floor into a glass-walled cocktail lounge,[2] which became known as the Top of The Mark.[3]

Marjorie Trumbull won fame in the 1940s for her radio interviews of celebrities broadcast on KSFO and conducted from the Top of the Mark.[4][5]

During World War II, when San Francisco was a major transit point for troops going to the Pacific Theater, servicemen traditionally had a farewell drink before shipping out while watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge.[6][7] The northwest corner was known as "Weeper's Corner" after the wives and girlfriends who would gather there for their final look at departing ships.[8]

A new tradition was established during the Korean War, when squadron members would sponsor a "squadron bottle" to be kept available at the bar. Each member would sign and date the label after claiming a free drink, and the man who took the last drink would keep the signed bottle and purchase a new bottle. By the end of the Korean War, thirty-two squadron bottles were in use.[2][9]

Present day[edit]

The Top of the Mark features over 100 variations on the martini.[10][11] The bar remains popular today, featuring dancing and live music most days of the week. During the December holiday season, the Top of the Mark offers an afternoon tea service.[12]



  1. ^ Christopher, Lee (25 November 1964). "A "We Love You' Fete for Phyllis; And in SF, a Party at the Mark". Desert Sun. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Erickson, Leif (11 May 1959). "Memories of Remembering: Famous 'Top of the Mark' Holds 20th Anniversary". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. AP. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  3. ^ "A Short Account of Its Long and Illustrious History". InterContinental Mark Hopkins.
  4. ^ "Radio Broadcast Scene". Sausalito News. 7 November 1946. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Marjorie Trumbull; Radio and TV Interviewer". Los Angeles Times. 29 September 1993. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Life Visits the Top of the Mark". LIFE. Chicago, Illinois: TIME Inc. 17 (5): 75–79. 31 July 1944. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  7. ^ Leighty, John (20 December 1976). "Celebration With Style-The Mark: Fifty Years Of Elegance". Desert Sun. UPI. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  8. ^ Chapman, Keith (10 October 2015). "A high-up, San Francisco watering hole on the 19th floor". Boston Globe. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  9. ^ Dixon, Kenneth L. (16 February 1965). "The Changing Scene: Top Of The Mark Revisited". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Top of the Mark – History". InterContinental Mark Hopkins. 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  11. ^ Lovato, Kimberley (31 January 2015). "Discovering the martini's Bay Area roots". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  12. ^ Lovato, Kimberley (14 December 2014). "Tis the season for afternoon tea". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 27 June 2016.

External links[edit]