Getting up to SingleThread’s rooftop has eluded me for a year now. And I was on a mission this trip to get up there! Spoiler alert – I was successful.
When you dine at SingleThread during “warmer months”, you’re invited to arrive up to an hour early for a pre-dinner cocktail up on the rooftop surrounded by their gardens. I was supposed to originally dine at SingleThread almost exactly a year ago. Sadly, they had to cancel my reservation due to lack of power and gas because of the Kincade fire. When I returned to Sonoma County in January for my 30 Wineries in 30 Days adventure, I was saddened to learn that the rooftop bar was closed due to it being January and too cold. If you wanted a pre-dinner cocktail, they recommended the bar at Valette!
Fast forward to the pandemic. I made a quick trip out in July to grab wine from my wine locker at Oeno Vaults. I had seen that SingleThread was doing curbside meals. How fun would that be to experience? Unfortunately, they stopped offering curbside meals the week before I arrived and their dining room was opening the week after my visit. My timing sucked.
Later in the month SingleThread announced they were moving their dinners over to Kistler’s Roadhouse and that sounded fun. I love Kistler wine. And this sounded like a pandemic experience that wouldn’t continue once indoor dining resumes. Unfortunately, I could never find a table for just one person. BUT, I was excited to see that the rooftop wine bar was now open to the public! That was my goal this trip – get up onto that rooftop.
I had time to kill a few days earlier during my visit so I thought I’d give it a try. I found a note taped to the door that the rooftop was closed for a private party. WHAT!?!?! Apparently it was the first time they’d done that. Of course. Just my luck. I was starting to feel like I had the worst luck ever. It turns out I might actually have the best luck. Things happen for a reason. But I wasn’t thinking that at that moment.
Then I realized I hadn’t made dinner reservations for my last night in California. I also didn’t have any wine tasting reservations. My only plans were to pick up and drop off wine at Oeno Vaults and to try the Lytton Springs Taco Truck. I learned in July they only accept cash. I’d brought cash on this trip specifically to get food from that truck. I figured that would take me a couple of hours and I would just park myself outside of SingleThread until that door opened for the rooftop. I arrived an hour and a half early….and sat. I was going to be the first person on that roof.
While seated in my Jeep with the windows down, I people watched. I was literally parked at SingleThread’s front door. I couldn’t get any closer. That also meant that I was directly across the street from Valette’s patio. I had fun watching them set up the patio for that night’s dinner service. My name was even on their wait list for dinner that night just in case someone canceled. No one did. But, I must have made an impression on my server at Valette because she immediately recognized me sitting in my Jeep (insert facepalm emoji). She called out to me and asked if my Jeep was what I had driven to California. Yes! She also asked how much wine was in the back! Ha Ha! Not a lot, actually. Most of my wine was in my hotel room as the daytime temperatures were still a bit too warm to leave wine in the Jeep during the day. But she knew exactly why I was parked there.
I also watched the guests at SingleThread’s Inn arrive and check-in. I watched an employee come out, greet guests, accept beer deliveries, and go about his work. He obviously saw me sitting in my Jeep. And I’m not shy. So, during one of his visits outside of the restaurant, I called out to him. He must have thought I was some sort of psycho stalker. He reluctantly came over to my Jeep. I quizzed him on getting to the rooftop. He told me I had a pretty good parking spot (I literally couldn’t have had a better parking spot). He told me that a line would form. He told me I’d get in. And, because I’m chatty, I’d explained my frustration with not being able to get a table over at Kistler for their dinner. He explained that they just don’t cater to single diners. They don’t have to. They sell out every night – as soon as reservations open. I understood.
Fast forward to about 10 minutes before the doors opened at 5 and people started to show up. I jumped from my Jeep and pretty much put myself at the front of the line. I justified it because I had been sitting there for so long. No one bothered to confront me. I was being bold and I knew it. But I was there LONG before them.
To my delight, I was the very first person led up to the rooftop. They take one party at a time and there were about 5 groups of us standing at the door at 5pm. On a Thursday. Once inside the building, they sanitized my hands. It wasn’t voluntary. Ha Ha. He brought the spray bottle to me and told me he was going to do it. I did not mind at all. I thanked him. And I truly appreciated their approach to keeping us all safe and healthy. I don’t know what I was going to touch – he pushed the elevator buttons for me. I didn’t have to touch anything. Jacob greeted me when the elevator arrived. Jacob is in charge of reservations. I got to know the staff quite well while sitting in front of their restaurant. He led me to my seating area in the middle of the rooftop and presented me with the wine list and food menu. FOOD MENU!?!!? I totally mis-read their website. I thought they only served food on weekends. But they serve food on weeknights as well! I was never so happy to be wrong.
I ordered a half-dozen oysters and let my server choose my wine. The obvious choice is something with bubbles. But, since I’m not a fan of bubbles, he brought me something from Spain. Michael had explained that they focus on Old World Wines on the rooftop. They assume that folks have had their fill of local wines on their visit that they want to give them something different. I DID NOT WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT! I’m in Healdsburg, California. I want local wine. That would be my one complaint.
I had a great view to watch the remaining parties arrive and be seated. I had a great view of their bar/prep area. I noticed a huge pile of sunglasses sitting on the counter and smiled. I know what they’re for! It’s bright up there! They’re prepared when guests forget theirs. So thoughtful! Or it’s the lost and found.
I didn’t stay long. I had my glass of wine. I had a bite to eat. I got to experience the rooftop. I honestly felt guilty taking up a seating area that could accommodate four people. I knew there were others who would be waiting. I wasn’t wrong. Some of the folks I’d been waiting with were still standing on the sidewalk when I came out. I’d never felt better about my decision to give up my table. I wanted as many people as possible to experience it. Though, this couple sounded pretty familiar and I got the feeling they’d been guests of the inn in the past.
I highly recommend you try to visit when you’re there. Granted, the colder months are approaching so who knows how much longer it will be open. You don’t need to get there an hour and a half before they open. But, I’d recommend getting there early. And be prepared to stand on the sidewalk and wait. It’s not like being at a restaurant where they seat one table immediately after the other. It definitely took a good 5 minutes between groups for them to be seated. Even if you are second in line when the door opens, you’ll wait. There isn’t a ton of room on the rooftop. And several areas had “reserved” signs on the tables. I can only assume those were for the guests of the inn.
This is truly one of my favorite pandemic highlights. This experience will surely not be permanent. When SingleThread returns to their dining room, I expect they’ll revert that space to pre-dinner cocktails. So the only way up there will be to dine there during warm months or stay there as a guest- also during warm months. But, the staff did share that they’re loving the concept. I did notice that they’re dressed a bit more casually than they would be, too.