Comfortably situated on 2223 Market Street is Copas, your new favorite Castro District spot for the most delectable Californian-Spanish cuisine.
With the must-visit hotspot's name meaning "cups" in Spanish, the posh restaurant excels in offering their guests a welcoming and familial atmosphere to casually lounge through both their cozy interior and refined, yet comforting drinks and dishes. "Copas" also refers to the heart suit in a Spanish deck of cards, further solidifying their drive to be a trusted and heartfelt anchor in the community that's both fun and authentic.
Stepping into this cute and colorful venue, you are guaranteed to immediately feel the sense of being at home, with their incredibly friendly service and stunning rotating art displayed on their walls.
The artful care and passion of the chefs are also clearly felt, demonstrated in not only the masterful presentation of their many can't-miss cocktails and meals, but also from their subtle complexities and ingenious gastronomic combinations.
We had a chance to speak to Copas founder Jessica Kapoor on all about what makes this irresistable and vibrant restaurant so magical and unique.
Hi Jessica! Thank you for speaking with me. I would love to know, how did Copas come about?
Copas came about during the pandemic. This was a time that everyone was separated from their friends and families, and what everyone missed the most was being able to gather around a table together to enjoy the simple things in life: a bite, a drink, a laugh, or simply being in the presence of others. It was also a time where many people in the industry were coming together with an entrepreneurial spirit, providing products and services that they wouldn't have pre-COVID.
We wanted Copas to honor this time and continue to do the simple things that we may have once taken for granted.
That's amazing to hear how passionate you are about wanting to provide levity and community during this time while still being conscientious about adapting to the safety precautions. What were some of the creative ways you were able to host?
Chef Julio and I hosted a series of small pop ups in the South Bay at Pedro's in Santa Clara at their Secret Garden. This was an outdoor space that was COVID-safe and friendly. Everyone loved the experience of being able to come together and enjoy delicious food, wine and cocktails, even if it was just in an outdoor environment.
How would you describe the atmosphere and mission of Copas?
Copas is warm, fun, familial, inspired and nostalgic - these are the feelings that we want to evoke when guests come in. We want everyone to appreciate and be immersed in the creativity they're surrounded by, from the art on the walls, to the food that they taste, to the sips of wine or cocktails they drink, the music they listen to, and even by just being present with the company that they are there with.
Our mission for Copas is to provide guests with warm hospitality and delicious flavors, all in an environment celebrating community and collaboration.
So how does being in San Francisco influence the flavors and culture of Copa?
San Francisco is one of the best cities to experience a multitude of flavors and cuisine - we have access to the most authentic ingredients and flavors, which allows us to not just experience them, but also be inspired by them. Being in SF allows us to take advantage of the incredible products we have available to us year-round, from produce to seafood and more.
Lastly, San Francisco at its core is a creative city. We want to do our part to celebrate and sustain that creativity.
Speaking of creativity, I'd love to know which menu/cocktail items do you recommend the most for everyone to try?
We like to think we have a perfect recommendation or every drinker on our cocktail menu. For a bubbly refreshment, the Copa Escoba is a must. If you like a little kick, try the Burro; with Mezcal and Firewater Tincture. For something stiff to sip, try the Siete y Media.
Our most popular dishes at the moment are Chef Julio’s cheesy pillows, chicken and rice, SmashBurger, chicken liver mousse and our version of patatas bravas, the sunchokes bravas.
See also: Your Ultimate San Francisco Mezcal Guide
Those all sound exquisite! Why else must everyone try Copas?
The second you step into Copas, you'll feel a warm energy that welcomes you in and piques your interest to experience more. It's opportunity to escape the obstacles we face on a daily basis, by appreciating the art on the walls as if you were in a gallery, tasting delicious ingredients that showcase the best what California has to offer, celebrating culture, and being gathered around a table full with the people you enjoy being around. It's that same feeling of spending time with family or friends for a casual dinner or game night.
Copas offers a unique atmosphere where you can cultivate a number of experiences. Friends gather for drinks and snacks at the bar while families gather for dinner in the dining room. It creates a beautiful, open sense of community designed for everyone to always feel welcome.
Lastly, what is your favorite part about working at Copas?
I particularly enjoy the ability to be a part of a community post-pandemic. We have absolutely wonderful guests and a wonderful staff. For me, coming to work is just another extension of who I really am, and I love that.
You heard it here first! From the inventive mixology to the divinely cloud-like cheesy pillows and exclusive papas bravas, Copas ensures there is something for everyone to feel at home here, all while experiencing all the local art.
Copas is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and for their can't-miss weekend brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Dennis Schmidt/Unsplash