The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
June 21, 2016
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Ferment.Drink.Repeat. is now open in Portola. Photo via FDR.

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Barebottle in Bernal (check out the groovy hop pendant lights!). Photo via Facebook.

Do you smell something brewing in Bernal? That would be ~BAREBOTTLE BREW CO.~, newly opened on Cortland. The taproom features test beers on tap that were voted the best in homebrew competitions that the brewery hosts (like what would a Russian Hill imperial stout or Muir Woods-inspired IPA taste like?), and there are production beers available as well. Eater mentions there is a rotating number of food trucks visiting the brewery, plus homebrewing classes, lectures, and more. Open Wed-Fri 3pm-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-7pm. 1525 Cortland Ave. at Bradford, 415-926-8617.

We broke the news back in 2014 about ~FERMENT.DRINK.REPEAT~, a nano-brewery, homebrew supply shop, taproom, and brewery incubator that was coming to the Portola neighborhood from Kevin and Shae Inglin (a husband-and-wife team). After two years of getting things permitted and built out and squared away, their grand opening is this Saturday June 25th. They will be brewing all beers on-site, with a seven-barrel brew system. The grand opening is 10am-10pm, and they will have food for sale, music, a brewery tour, and more. Moving forward, visitors can bring their own food, as well as well-behaved kids and dogs. It’s a party. Follow their Facebook page for updates. Hours are Tue-Wed 3pm-9pm, Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun noon to TBD; the homebrew shop closes at 7pm on most days. 2636 San Bruno Ave. at Burrows.

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What’s on tap at Wine Down. Yelp photo by Kasey M.

Remember when I told you about ~WINE DOWN~, the laid-back wine bar coming to SoMa? Well, Sarah Garand and Jaime Hiraishi got the place open and are ready to greet you after work with an affordable but quality glass of local wine (think $10 and thereabouts), craft beer, and bites too. Look for eight whites and reds each on tap, two sparkling wines, and four beers. Hours are Mon-Wed 4pm-10 pm, Thu-Sat 4pm-11pm. There are also “happiest hours” from 4pm-6:30pm daily, with $1 off glasses/$5 off carafes and pitchers. 685 Folsom St. at 3rd St., 415-829-7005.

If you haven’t been able to head up to Mendocino to explore their many wineries, check out Taste of Mendocino 2016, coming to the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture on Saturday June 25th. There will be more than 30 wineries, plus artisanal food producers, from Mendocino County serving samples. Gallery 308, 1pm-5pm. Tickets are $60.

June 14, 2016
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The new basement bar at LihoLiho Yacht Club, Louie’s Gen-Gen Room. Photo: Medium Raw Arts.

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The beautiful bar. Photo: Medium Raw Arts.

And now the folks at ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ are giving us yet another reason to come by their ever-hot and packed place: they have opened a bar in the basement called ~LOUIE’S GEN-GEN ROOM~. But it won’t get too crazy down there: the space is reservation only, with a completely different cocktail and food menu than upstairs.

Take a look at the menu here, which has snacks from chef Ravi Kapur like potato chips with French onion, egg, chives, and hello smoked trout caviar ($12.50); furikake waffle with uni, avocado, toasted walnuts ($18.50); and grilled cheese with Nicasio Square, black truffle, and maple butter ($12.50). Cocktails from Yanni Kehagiaras range from $12-$15, and include The Last Mango in Paris (LOL).

The 24-seat space got its name from the space’s former incarnation as Louie’s Market (as for Gen-Gen, it’s a made-up word because they liked the name The Genuine but wanted something more fun). Cheers! Specials are updated on Gen-Gen’s Instagram: @louiesgengenroom. 871 Sutter St. at Leavenworth.

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A selection of cocktails at P.C.H. Photo via Facebook.

The changes to the former Cantina on Sutter have been unveiled with the opening of ~P.C.H.~ (Pacific Cocktail Haven) from bar director-partner Kevin Diedrich and managing partners Andy Chun and Jan Wiginton (Sidecar Hospitality: Press Club, Schroeder’s). Opening on June 16th, the new name and concept is all about being a neighborhood bar, with good service (which ties in to the pineapple logo, a symbol of hospitality and a reference to the space’s history as Williams-Sonoma’s first San Francisco retail store).

The menu features cocktails that start at $11, and each has their own glass (and custom ice—there are four types the team uses, carving more than 300 pounds per month). There’s The Saffron ($13), with grilled pineapple, saffron, and mezcal, and you’ll find sugar snap peas in the Oh Snap! ($12), made with Aviation Gin, sugar snap peas, manzanilla sherry, absinthe, citrus, and tonic. There are also some large-format punches and a wine and beer list.

The space got an overhaul, with a brick wall that was revealed, new bar tops, wallpaper, and more. Open Mon-Sat 5pm to close. 580 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-398-0195.

May 31, 2016
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Wise Sons’ special Negroni Week bagel. Photo: Grace Sager.

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Bi-Rite Creamery’s “Happy Accident” Ice Cream Float. Photo courtesy of Bi-Rite Creamery.

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Tropical Negroni at Bear vs. Bull at the Alamo Drafthouse. Photo: Wes Rowe.

Whooosh, ~NEGRONI WEEK~ is back in its fourth year (Monday June 6th to Sunday June 12th), and there are no shortages of cocktails, Negroni-inspired bites, events, and more for you to try. It’s pretty amazing to think Negroni Week started in 2013 with only 100 bars and restaurants participating, and it’s now an international event, with more than 3,500 bars, restaurants, and retailers participating in 44 different countries. In 2015, it raised more than $320,000 for charity organizations.

Plunk in your ZIP code to find events and more near you, whether you’re in SF or London. Here are a few highlights:

Negronis for Breakfast at Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery
All week
Swing by the new ~WISE SONS BAGEL & BAKERY~ for their Negroni Week creation: open-faced double poppy seed bagels topped with juniper cream cheese, Campari marmalade, and fresh fruit ($9), benefitting La Cocina.

Whitechapel’s SF-Marin Food Bank Happy Hour
Tuesday June 7th (6pm-9pm)
Come by ~WHITECHAPEL’S~ gorgeous back bar, the Gin Palace, for a special menu of classic Negronis and variations, with all proceeds being donated the SF-Marin Food Bank. In addition, get the Campari Key lime pie (Campari gel and meringue with gin and vermouth sorbet) for dessert.

Bi-Rite Creamery Celebrates PRIDE Month/Ice Cream Aperitivo
Wednesday June 8th
Not like you need an excuse to swing by ~BI-RITE CREAMERY~, but they will be serving their Negroni ice cream, as well as the “Happy Accident” Ice Cream Float—inspired by the Negroni Sbagliato, this float is made of their Negroni ice cream and classic Madecasse vanilla ice cream with Boylan’s Orange Seltzer. One hundred percent of proceeds from the $9.99 float on June 8th will be donated to the Dyke March.

Negroni Week Matinee of La Dolce Vita at Alamo Drafthouse
Saturday June 11th (4pm) and After-Party (6pm)
The folks at ~ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE~ will be screening Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, and you’ll be enjoying Negronis and Boulevardiers from the tap, plus Malted Chocolate Negronis, Frozen Tropical Negronis, and more. The after-party will feature more Negroni variations from bar manager Isaac Shumway with special guest bartenders, and snacks too. They will donate $3 from Negronis (or Negroni variations) throughout the week to Tipping Point.

Keep tabs on the Negroni Week action on Imbibe’s Instagram and Twitter feeds (@imbibe) and tag your pics with the #NegroniWeek hashtag!

If you want to read about some fun New York Negroni Week drinks and eats, read my post in Time Out New York!

May 24, 2016
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Head on down to the Beer Basement! Photo via Facebook.

Folks who enjoy the well-stocked craft beer store Ales Unlimited in Pac Heights have a second place to enjoy Steve and Betty Smith’s selections—the former 222 Hyde in the Tenderloin is now the ~ALES UNLIMITED BEER BASEMENT~. Hoodline reports there are eight taps with rare beers and ciders and 40-plus bottles. The stand-up comedy shows will continue, once their live entertainment permit is all clear. Hours are 4pm-12am. 222 Hyde St. at Turk.

The Rhone Rangers are back, with a series of events celebrating American Rhone-style wines, from Friday June 10th to the grand tasting on Saturday June 11th. Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, 135 Fisher Loop.

And it looks like it’s mission accomplished: In Pursuit of Balance has announced the end of operations will come after their final tasting event in November.

May 17, 2016
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The Perfect Stranger at Loló. Photo: Brandon Tran.

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The Quesilo (yes, that’s Parmesan on top). Photo: Brandon Tran.

Fans of the wonder duo behind the bar at ~LOLÓ~, David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez, will be sorry to hear Gallardo is leaving SF to go travel the world and find a new nest in a few months. As a proper send-off, the gents have launched a new spring/summer cocktail menu, their last together, with 12 new cocktails on the 21-strong list.

Per usual, there is no lack of creativity, like the Perfect Stranger (Lo-Fi dry vermouth, Ford’s gin, oloroso sherry, jalapeño brine, and celery bitters, clarified with goat’s milk), inspired by a late-night staff meal when they realized the flavor of goat cheese and jalapeño would work well in a cocktail. And then there’s the Quesilo (bell pepper-infused gin, sherry, lemon, ruby port, egg white, topped with Parmesan cheese and black pepper)—yup, it sounds like cacio e pepe on top, the kind of drink you want to eat. And then you can have a good laugh over the names, like the Devil’s Dandruff and Mexican Zombie and Wet Dawg. Where’s the Vaya con Dios?

Champagne lovers, you’ll want to pop by the ~FERRY PLAZA WINE MERCHANT~ this Wednesday May 18th—the one and only Eugenio Jardim (whom any of you who attended the tablehopper Vietnamese and Vinho Verde supper will remember well!) will be pouring five special R.M. (Récoltant Manipulant, or grower-producer) Champagnes from the Esprit de Champagne portfolio. Click here for the lineup.

Come by 4:30pm-7:30pm and taste some very special cuvées he has selected. The flight is $32—anyone who purchases the flight can take 15 percent off any of the five wines you will assuredly fall in love with. One Ferry Building, Shop 23, Embarcadero at Market, 415-391-9400.