Selby’s Sets a Glamorous Tone in Atherton
By Fran Endicott Miller | Photos by Ed Anderson
Take a look at the S in the name Selby’s. The savvy aesthete might catch the derivation. It’s modeled after the S in Frank Sinatra’s signature, and it’s more than an indication that this new Atherton eatery is something of a posh throwback. Inspired by venerated dining establishments such as Chasen’s, Romanoff’s, and New York’s 21 Club as well as by Hollywood’s beguiling dining scene of the 1930s and 40s, Selby’s marries the luxury of this romanticized era with genuine hospitality and warm service. Such attributes are staples of its Bacchus Management Group-operated sister restaurants, which include The Village Pub in Woodside and Spruce in San Francisco. The restaurant’s signature brass martini cart, modeled after a 1930s Parisian bar trolley, serves frozen versions of “the coldest martini on the West Coast” and sets a luxe tone, as does its menu of modern continental cuisine that features indulgent, contemporary interpretations of classic dishes.
“Our goal and intent in creating a restaurant is always to make it a valued part of the community in which it is located, a place where locals feel at home,” says Tim Stannard, founding partner of Bacchus Management Group. “We also strive to create coveted destinations, and our Wine Spectator Grand Awards and Michelin stars for both Spruce and The Village Pub are testaments to this ethic.”
A South Bay resident, Stannard felt personal responsibility for creating a restaurant that properly serves his community. “We recognize that, as the only restaurant in this town, we have an obligation to adapt to the residents’ various needs,” says Stannard. “We want our guests to maneuver seamlessly within Selby’s, whether it’s a stop in the bar prior to another outing, a business meeting, or a special celebration. We strive to serve every occasion.”
Upon entering the foyer at Selby’s, guests are greeted by a dramatic, elliptical, white marble staircase with handmade brass banisters set against olive green mohair walls, club-style black paneled wainscoting, and chestnut leather furnishings. Two avant-garde custom chandeliers and metalwork from artist Magnus Schevene interplay with a renowned collection of more than 175 original art pieces curated by Lost Art Salon owner Rob Delamater. The distinguished interiors, designed by renowned interior designer Stephen Brady, reflect a level of uncommon luxury and detail.
Atop the stairs, guests can enjoy cocktails and conversation in a relaxed lounge-like area or dine in the grand mezzanine dining room with prime balcony views of the bustling downstairs. Three private dining rooms include a card room that has been thoughtfully designed to eliminate reflective surfaces that might interfere with a game; a card dealer can be requested. The downstairs main dining room is anchored by a fireplace with a striking antique limestone mantle. “When guests walk into this room, I want them to feel immediately at ease,” says Stannard, who is gratified that, after just a few months in operation, Selby’s has its flock of regulars. “And when they leave, I want them to look forward to their next visit.”
A destination in its own right, the Selby’s bar is stunning, with its expansive white marble top and glowing black arched back bar. Original black-andwhite photographs of a young Audrey Hepburn, Lisa Fonssagrives, Truman Capote, and other such icons grace the walls. “There is both a casualness and a sense of elegance in this room,” notes Stannard. “The low coffered ceiling, the inviting seating, and the thoughtful spacing of the tables allow for easy conversation, making this the most intimate room in the restaurant.
“We feel that Selby’s represents the best of Bacchus,” adds Stannard. “From its elevated cuisine featuring tableside preparations to an exceptional beverage program, and its signature, highly personalized service and distinguished design, Selby’s is intended to welcome the local community as well as destination diners.”