Iconic rotating restaurant in downtown SF spinning again 17 years after shutting down

ABC7 Bay Area Digital Staff Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Iconic rotating restaurant in SF spinning again 17 years after closing
The rotating restaurant in San Francisco's Hyatt Regency on the Embarcadero is spinning again for the first time in 17 years.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The rotating restaurant in San Francisco's Hyatt Regency on the Embarcadero is spinning again for the first time in nearly 20 years. The hotel held a soft opening for guests Tuesday, following months of renovations and repairs.

For decades, the former Equinox restaurant drew long lines for its slowly rotating floor and panoramic views from the Financial District to Treasure Island. It opened with the hotel in 1973, but the Hyatt shuttered the restaurant in 2007 and stopped the mechanics that allowed the floor to move.

Engineer Dennis Alcaire, now in his 47th year at the Hyatt, watched the wheels stop spinning 17 years ago. For the last year, he's led the team to get the place turning again.

VIDEO: SF Ikea opens Saluhall, 2-story eatery named after famous Stockholm market

Nine months after opening its store in the mid-Market area, Ikea opened Saluhall on Thursday.

"That was a lot of work but we got it done," Alcaire said. "We had to reverse everything the contractors did back in 2007."

Alcaire and his crew ripped out old wiring and adjusted the hydraulics. They had to replace the controller that starts the turntable and sets its direction and speed. It took months of troubleshooting.

"We went to turn it on and all we could hear is the main drive wheels slipping on the metal rail," Alcaire said. "It would not move."

They made more adjustments and finally one late Wednesday night, the floor finally gave.

"You could see the grout line just move ever so slowly, just inching along," Alcaire said. "I just froze right there, just watched and got that feeling of 17 years ago. It was pretty exciting."

VIDEO: What doom loop? Downtown San Francisco showing signs of economic rebound, experts say

Shuttered storefronts and office vacancy rates are hitting over 35%. However, there are signs things may finally have bottomed out.

Hotel managers do not have a concrete timeline to reopen the space and its 360-degree view to the public. For now, it's reserved for Hyatt guests, with a grand reopening set for May 1 as part of the hotel's 51st anniversary celebration.

"The buzz around the hotel today has been electrifying, truly," Hyatt Regency Director of Operations Karla Pecorelli said. "They truly have always wanted to see it again and to see them just be so excited today was really exciting for all of us."

For Alcaire, the return of the iconic, slow-moving city view makes months of work worthwhile.

"It's an iconic place. I'm glad to see it up and running again," Alcaire said. "This is really awesome. It really is."

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live