The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
March 17, 2015
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Lucky 13, long may she reign. Photo from Facebook.

Last week, SocketSite reported that ~LUCKY 13~, one of the best damn divey bars in this town, may be demolished to make room for condos. There has been lots of concern about this, naturally, because everything about this is so symbolic of San Francisco in this moment in time. While we sincerely hope the bar stays put, it also looks like whatever does happen to the bar is going to take a long time.

The Bold Italic has a comprehensive look at exactly what has happened and breaks it all down. Essentially, the only thing that has happened so far is that plans to demolish the building and build condos on the site have indeed been submitted to the Planning Commission. However, the process has only just begun and this initial permit phase alone will still take three to six months, followed by lots more permitting issues.

It is also worth noting that this is not the first time the bar has been threatened with demolition. As Lucky 13′s Martin Kraenkel wrote on Facebook, “The possibility of the replacement of the bar with condos has been hanging over our heads since 2002.” Because it is a historic landmark building, that makes the whole process a bit more challenging, as well. So while there is definitely reason for concern, don’t completely freak out. There is still hope, and we will keep you updated as the process continues. 2140 Market St. at 14th St., 415-487-1313.

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The interior of Tofino Wines. Photo courtesy Tofino Wines.

Husband-and-wife team and wine industry veterans, Mark Nevin and April Sack, are opening a new wine shop and bar on Geary near the Masonic hill, called ~TOFINO WINES~, at the end of March. The new project is focused on wines from small, family producers in California, France, Italy, and Spain. They’ll be paying special attention to Champagne and Sherry selections (hello, hopper favorites), as well as “producers who practice natural winemaking and make well-balanced wines that reflect the terroir of their particular sites,” according to an email from Sack. The selection of wines available by the glass at the bar will change weekly, allowing customers to try different options before purchasing a bottle in the shop. Bottles bought in the shop can be enjoyed on-site for a $10 corkage. They will also offer a small menu of wine-friendly snacks, like cheese, charcuterie, and crostini.

The space is located near the rather odd corner of Geary and Masonic, just across from Corner Store and Target. The space has been made quite lovely, with vaulted ceilings and large windows evocative of a busy transit hub. Exposed concrete beams and flooring are balanced with warmer, more natural elements like a marble bar counter, walnut wine shelving, and terra-cotta tile from the 1920s. Right now, the plan is to open in late March—we’ll let you know when it’s official. (H/t Scoop). 2696 Geary Blvd. at Emerson, 415-872-5782.

On Sunday evening, I attended the Charin monthly pop-up dinner at Stable, which had quite the wine team on the floor (the pours we had were mighty fabulous). I had a chance to catch up with Michael Ireland (previously The Restaurant at Meadowood, consultant for Verbena) about his upcoming Inner Richmond project with John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko), ~PIVOT~ (you can read our previous post about it here). It ends up construction is just getting started, so it’s going to be another three or four months before it opens. Sit tight for now! 443 Clement St. at 6th Ave.

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Beautiful bubbles at Quince. Photo: Paul Dryer.

A couple of updates for you in sommelier land: first up, as you may have noted from the matchmaker ad we ran last week, ~QUINCE~ is looking for a new wine director. Previous director Jai Wilson has departed and is now with Bar Agricole and Trou Normand. We’ll let you know who lands at Quince.

Meanwhile, the fabulous Cara Patricia is no longer at ~LES CLOS~ in SoMa, but she has left on very good terms; they have hired a few folks to fulfill her duties. For now, she will be traveling to Burgundy with Mark Bright and chef Shawn Gawle (that trip won’t suck), and expect to see her at some upcoming events, like Pebble Beach. I’ll keep you posted on what else she has cooking for 2016, it’s gonna be good.

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The Mexican-American Vintners Association is an organization dedicated to promoting and organizing Mexican-American winemakers in California, and on Wednesday April 8th they’ll be in town for their Spring Tasting. It’s at Fort Mason from 5pm to 7pm, and will showcase wines from 15 different wineries. Some of these wines are hard to find, and the tasting is a unique opportunity to taste them, purchase them, and chat with the winemakers about their process.

There will also be cheese, charcuterie, fruit, and other snacks on hand. Tickets are $35 per person for special advance tickets (until they sell out), then $55 per person until April 7th. A limited number of tickets can be purchased at the door for $75 per person. A trade and media event will precede the tasting from 2pm to 4pm; details here. Fort Mason Center, Fleet Room, 2 Marina Blvd. at Laguna.

March 10, 2015
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The mortadella pizza at Cupola Pizzeria. Photo courtesy Cupola Pizzeria.

Looking for some old-school prices? The happy hour at ~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~ is here to remind you of the good old days with their Throwback Thursdays Happy Hour every Thursday from 4pm to 6pm. Your second beer will be priced at a retro $0.50, glasses of wine at $1, and Manhattans are only $2 (you’ll pay full price for your first round, though). It all kicks off this Thursday March 12th.

Every Monday, ~CUPOLA PIZZERIA~ will be offering half off all bottles of wine. Their wine list includes plenty of Italian and domestic offerings, including some sparklers. Plus, they’ve always got good pizzas, including a new mortadella pie with mozzarella, pistachios, and of course, mortadella.

Now that ~BOXING ROOM~ has a full liquor license, they are offering a Half-Price Highballs Happy Hour (hello, alliteration) Monday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm. There are three highballs to choose from, including the #1: mezcal, super celery soda, and lemon. There will also be half-price oysters, Abita Amber for $3.50, wine on tap for $5.50 a glass, as well as some additional snacks.

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A victorious bartender at Speed Rack 2013. Photo by Jonathan Fong via Facebook.

Celebrate female bartenders in all their badassery on Sunday March 15th from 4pm-8pm at the fourth annual Speed Rack competition. The competition pits local female bartenders against one another as they shake up rounds of cocktails for a panel of judges. Contestants will be judged based on the accuracy and speed of their mixing skills, and the winner will head to the national finals in New York to compete for the national championship.

All proceeds from the event go to benefit breast cancer research, and to date they’ve raised more than $250,000. Holla! Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and include samples of cocktails from sponsors and snacks from local restaurants. For an additional suggested donation, full-size cocktails will also be offered, along with food from a La Cocina food truck. Contestants include such fab ladies as Karri Cormican (Comstock Saloon), Claire Michelle Sprouse (ABV), and Lauren Steele (Nopa, Liholiho Yacht Club). The event is held at Pubic Works, in SoMa. 161 Erie St. at Mission.

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The original Darling’s sign. Photo courtesy of Bar Dogwood.

Almost exactly a year ago, we reported on Uptown’s Bar Dogwood expanding into the space next door and opening Darling’s, which is now going to be ~DARLING’S ELIXIRS~. Owner Alexeis Filipello is paying homage to the space’s former existence as Darling’s Pharmacy in the 1920s, so expect some pharmacy-inspired style and cocktails. On the menu: housemade phosphates, lactarts, and other old-school soda jerk-inspired adult drinks. While it’s primarily reserved for private events, it will be open as a bar Thu-Sat. The official opening is this Friday March 13th. The entrance is at 1635 Broadway at 17th St., Oakland.

Meanwhile, over in Emeryville, the couple behind CommonWealth Café and Public House have just opened ~COMMONWEALTH MICROPUB~ (in the former Café Biere). East Bay Express notes there’s just table service (no bar), and there are eight beers on tap, two ciders, and quite a menu, from miniature Yorkshire puddings to mulligatawny soup. Open Tue-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12am, Sun 4pm-10pm. 3896 Adeline St. at 40th, Emeryville, 510-858-5122.

March 3, 2015
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The Lexington Club’s iconic sign. Photo from Facebook.

We already knew that the ~LEXINGTON CLUB~ was going to be (sadly, tragically, unbelievably) leaving us after 18 years of biz, and now the other shoe has dropped with the news of who’s moving in: The Plumpjack Group. We’ll see what they plan for the space soon enough.

A detailed post by owner Lila Thirkield on Facebook announces the Lex’s last night will be Thursday April 30th, 2015, and the final party will take place over two nights: Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th. There’s more info, like the documentary they are filming, their current art installation showcasing photographs by Ace Morgan and Molly DeCoudreaux (including photos from opening night), and more. Nope, this important queer space will not be pulling a French exit. 3464 19th St. at Mission, 415-863-2052.

We broke the news about ~BENJAMIN COOPER~, a cocktail and oyster bar from Brian Felley and Mo Hodges (previously of Big fame) opening inside the Hotel G. It ends up their grand opening is this Thursday March 5th, although psssst, they are softly open now if you’d like to check it out.

A few more details for you: there are 14 barstools (so it’s another intimate space), 10 cocktails ($8-$13), plus a daily selection of oysters, beer, and sparkling wine. A few cocktails on their list include the Z.I.M.A. (ha-ha) with gin, clarified lime cordial, genepy, candied lime zest, served in a bottle with a chilled glass on the side. Or there’s the Salt & Smoke: Islay Scotch, fino sherry, Benedictine, salted orange-chile oil, and bitters, served up. (This pic on Yelp reveals a few more if you’re curious.) Hours are Mon-Fri 5pm-2am and Sat 6pm-2am. 398 Geary St. at Mason.

 

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A festa-ready table at A16. Photo from Facebook.

Sunday March 8th is International Women’s Day, and ~A16~ is celebrating with their annual Festa Della Donna dinner. The special dinner is all about celebrating women in wine and food, two industries that remain male-dominated. Chef Rosetta Costantino and her mother will be running the kitchen, and Italian winemaker Laura Brunelli will be in the house, sharing her wines and some recipes from her restaurant Osteria Le Logge in Siena. Elisa Semino, from La Colombera winery in Piemonte will also be in attendance, along with local winemakers Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines and Chrystal Clifton of Palmina. The special dishes will be available in addition to the restaurant’s à la carte menu. Reservations here.

~PICCINO~ is also celebrating the achievements of women in winemaking this year, with their Fatto da Donne (“made by women”) event. They are collaborating with Peay Vineyards and winemaker Vanessa Wong to create four courses paired with their wines. Tickets are available from 5pm-9pm and cost $125 per person, including wine and food but not tax. They’re selling quickly, so get on it!

Speaking of fab wine events, on Tuesday March 10th ~CALIFORNIOS~ is hosting an Idlewild Wines Dinner with Sosh. Sam Bilbro, the founder and winemaker of Idlewild, will be in attendance discussing his wines and the pairings, as well. Chef Val Cantu hasn’t released the menu yet, but it will be 8 to 10 courses, all with wine pairings. Before each course, they will talk about how they conceived each pairing. The dinner begins at 6:30pm and tickets are $160 per person, all-inclusive. 3115 22nd St. at South Van Ness.

And we mentioned this before, but In Pursuit of Balance is coming up on Monday March 16th, with interesting seminars (like Vintage Variation and the Pursuit of Balance) and of course a fantastic walk-around tasting featuring wines from 33 of California’s top winemakers (for $125), with bites provided by restaurants like Bar Tartine, Nopa, RN74, SPQR, and others. City View at the Metreon, 135 4th St., Suite 4000 at Mission.

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TheLab’s communal table and high-top tables. Photo: Tom Seawell Photography.

Wednesday March 4th is National Absinthe Day, which is apparently a thing. We’re not complaining. ~BLACKBIRD~ is toasting the holiday by offering traditional service with different brands including St. George, Kübler, Vieux Pontarlier, and Duplais Verte. They’re priced between $7 and $12, plus they’ll be mixing up Death in the Afternoon cocktails for $12. Specials will be available all day, from 3pm-2am. 2124 Market St. at 14th St., 415-503-0630.

For a special Dogpatch collaboration, don’t miss the Magnolia Beer Dinners at ~THELAB~ on Friday March 6th and Saturday March 7th. The dinner is part of the Recchiutis’ tasteProject event series, and this one will offer four savory courses, followed by two sweet ones. Many beer elements have been worked into the menu, too, like risotto made with a British barley that’s used in beer making. Magnolia’s Dave McLean will be on hand, talking about the brews and how to pair beer with food. The dinner begins at 7pm both evenings, and tickets are $100 all-inclusive.

On Sunday March 29th ~THE BURRITT ROOM~ is hosting a special installation of their Flights + Bites series. This American Whiskey Edition will include tastings of 10 different whiskeys, along with sample-sized cocktails from AQ, Burritt Room, and more. There will also be bites to pair with the spirituous libations, including chicken and waffles, and pecan pie. The event runs from 3pm-6pm and costs $30 per person; tickets here. 417 Stockton St. at Sutter, 415-400-0561.

February 24, 2015
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Trouble in Paradise at Tosca. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The 21 Club’s vintage sign. Yelp photo by Brian J.

I was reading some Facebook news this weekend and was so sorry to learn that Isaac Shumway is no longer the lead bartender at ~TOSCA CAFE~. Taking over his position is Joe Cleveland (formerly head barman at Coqueta and for Michael Chiarello’s restaurant group). Previously, he worked with José Andrés for Oyamel and Minibar in Washington, D.C.

A connection in our local real estate scene tipped me off that the pocket-sized bar ~BIG~, known for its fantastic craft cocktails during its run under bartenders Brian Felley and Mo Hodges, would be opening once again, in the 21 Club in the Tenderloin (just across from Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s upcoming Loco’l). While Felley and Hodges are busy with their own soon-to-open bar, Benjamin Cooper, which we reported on a couple weeks ago, Scoop confirms this new Big is from Jordan Langer (Big, Oddjob), Pete Glickshtern (Jones, Oddjob), Ryan Melchiano, and Ryan Hisamune.

They will reportedly continue Big’s bespoke format: no cocktail list, just talk with the bartender and tell them what you like. The 21 Club will stay open until the license transfer is complete (you can read an homage to the dive bar here); look for a summer opening. I also learned this will be just the beginning of changes to the building, which is going to be revitalized. 98 Turk St. at Taylor.

Over on Divisadero, Dajani Group’s ~BAR 821~ just reopened after a monthlong remodel. Changes include more seating at the extended bar and a bigger back bar, highlighting a large selection of amari and a new amaro-themed cocktail list. 821 Divisadero St. at McAllister.

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The exterior of Tupper & Reed. Photo courtesy of Doug Dalton.

Sound the trumpets: ~TUPPER & REED~ is opening this week, a new bar from the Future Bars team (Bourbon & Branch, Swig, Local Edition, Devil’s Acre, Wilson and Wilson, Tradition, Rickhouse, Cask) in the former Beckett’s in Berkeley. Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton are taking the space back to its roots, way back, when it was a music store (Tupper and Reed), which John Tupper and Lawrence Reed started in 1906 and opened in the storybook structure in 1925.

You will see many elements that highlight the building’s early musical heritage, from the original signage that is back up to signs painted on the brick walls, plus lots of rustic wood, pendant lights, and archways over the doors. The space has two levels: the upstairs bar has a reservations-only area (you can reserve here), with a library of rare and hard-to-find spirits (Pappy in the house), and 110 seats. There are two fireplaces, and you’ll find one in a listening room, along with an Edison gramophone (which was originally sold in the Tupper and Reed store!) and old Victrola records—but there’s room for just a couple of people in the listening room.

There’s a huge wooden staircase, and downstairs is where you’ll find another 2,000 square feet, with a bar and 120 seats. The menu will include some elements from their other bars, like punch bowls, and you’ll find some classic cocktails on the menu too.

The plan is to soft open this Wednesday February 25th, and officially open for business on Friday February 27th. Hours will be Mon-Sat 4pm-2am, closed Sun. 2271 Shattuck Ave. at Bancroft, Berkeley, 510-900-2588.

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The busy tasting scene at Rhone Rangers; photo courtesy of Rhone Rangers.

Tonight, Tuesday February 24th, catch the Agricole Rum Extravaganza on the patio at K&L Wines in SoMa. As the name would suggest, the party is all about rhum agricole, with legendary rum fiend Ed Hamilton. They’ll be shaking up drinks and opening rare rum bottles all night, and there will also be snacks like jerk chicken wings, salt cod fritters, and goat curry. The party runs from 6pm-9pm, and tickets are $50 per person. 638 4th St. at Bluxome, 415-896-1734.

Don’t miss this When Sipsmith Met Sherry cocktail party at ~LOLINDA~ on Wednesday February 25th from 5:30pm until 9:30pm. Lolinda’s Nora Furst has paired up with Trick Dog’s Caitlin Laman and Sipsmith’s Leilani Vella to create cocktails using sherry and gin, all to benefit those who have been displaced by Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco, with proceeds going to the San Francisco Tenants Union. You can take a look at the cocktail menu here; all cocktails will be priced at $12.

The Rhone Rangers are swinging into town March 27th and 28th, for their fab annual Bay Area Rhone Tasting. Events include a winemaker dinner in the Presidio on Friday March 27th, a grand tasting in Richmond on Saturday March 28th, and the seminar series on American Rhones wines. Tickets begin at $75, and prices for the different events vary. You can also buy weekend passes and packages; head here for details on prices, locations, and time of specific events.

February 17, 2015
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Some of the many fabulous Japanese beers now lining the shelves at Umami Mart in Oakland. Photo: Umami Mart.

Just in case you’d like to be tasting and learning about wine before getting ready for your Oscars party on Sunday February 22nd, here’s a class you can take at ~HEIRLOOM CAFE~ with owner Matt Straus (it’s a two-hour curriculum covering the building blocks of wine understanding and appreciation). You’ll taste eight wines and talk about some wine basics. 12pm. Tickets are $40.

Get your tickets now for In Pursuit of Balance, a tasting featuring 33 wineries (selected by the IPOB organization) pouring chardonnay and pinot noir. The San Francisco event is on Monday March 16th; it will also be happening in New York, Houston, and Tokyo and Osaka! $125.

Congrats to Yoko Kumano and Kayoko Akabori of ~UMAMI MART~ in Oakland, who just got their off-sale liquor license, allowing them to sell sake, wine, and beer at their shop, which means they will be the nation’s first Japanese beer shop! They are stocking around 25 Japanese beers (lots of microbreweries and plenty of Hitachino too), and you’ll also find mirin and vermouth! Read their blog post for even more background on this exciting development. 815 Broadway at 8th St., Oakland, 510-250-9559.

Cider lovers, mark your calendars for the second annual Cider Summit SF, featuring artisanal ciders from around the world, more than 120 in all. It will be held at the Civil War Parade Ground in The Presidio on Saturday April 25th, 12pm-6pm. Tickets just went on sale and are $35 in advance, $40 at the door; they include a souvenir tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for sale on-site at $2 per ticket.   

February 10, 2015
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So while cocktail meisters Brian Felley and Mo Hodges (previously at Big) have been busy working with the R&B Lab group—who own and operate all the restaurants inside the Hotel G, including the recently opened Klyde Café & Wine Bar and 398 Restaurant & Bar—it ends up there’s one more exciting project that’s going to be under that umbrella as well. Brian and Mo will also be co-owners of the new ~BENJAMIN COOPER~, a cocktail and oyster bar they are opening at 398 Geary! There will be around 50 seats, and they hope to open around the end of February or early March. The name is an amalgam of their parents’ surnames and is also a fictional character (more on this mysterious man soon).

We’ll also have details on the cocktails, oysters, bar team, décor, and more in coming weeks. Just know there’s going to be another fantastic watering hole coming to Union Square soon! And it’s worth noting, the duo will still be leading the bar at 398 as well. 398 Geary St. at Mason.

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The exterior of Georges, which will become The Barrel Room in April. Yelp photo by Zoey W.

~THE BARREL ROOM~ is moving their San Francisco location in the Tenderloin to the Financial District in mid-April. Owners Sarah Trubnick and Carolyn Johnson have partnered with Stephen Deyton (Park Tavern) and Jay Marx (Georges) on the project, which will function as a retail shop and tasting room during the day, and then transition into a wine bar in the evenings. In addition, there will be a restaurant next door (in the former Georges location) serving lunch and dinner.

The wine list will offer at least 50 selections by the glass, available as flights. On the beer list you’ll find craft beers, and they’ve also added a full liquor license. Cocktails will also be available in flights, which should be fun. Executive chef Manuel Hewitt of Barrel Room Rockridge will be responsible for the menu, which will rotate through different regions on a quarterly basis. There will be in-house charcuterie, along with oysters, caviar, and daily seafood specials.

There will be happy hour Monday through Friday from 4pm until 5:30pm, with $5 beer and $6 wine and cocktails. The wine bar and shop will be open daily 10am-12:30am, and the restaurant will be open 11am-12:30am. 415 Sansome St. at Commercial.

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The San Francisco Belle; photo from Whiskies of the World.

I was watching the news on Friday night and was sorry to see Martin Cate of ~SMUGGLER’S COVE~ talking to a reporter on ABC about how someone (er, a drunken douche) stole a Fijian war club off the bar’s wall, one that was especially made for the bar. If you see someone with a new tiki club in their apartment or dorm room, please whack them with it and then call Cate.

Scotch lovers will be able to get their heat on at this upcoming Scotch party hosted by Nell Waters of SOAK fame, an upcoming urban bathhouse project in SF and advocate of Healthy Hedonism (it’s a lifestyle). There will be Scotches, ryes, Japanese whiskies, and single malts, plus some bites like oysters, Tartine bread with blue cheese, and Negroni popcorn…and music by Brightline. It all goes down on Saturday February 21st. Tickets are $55. 8:30pm-12am. The Barrelhouse, 80 Tehama Alley (between 1st and 2nd streets).

Get your tickets now for the annual Whiskies of the World, coming to the (docked) SF Belle Hornblower Yacht on Saturday March 28th. You’ll meet whisky makers, distillery owners, and brand ambassadors from big brands and boutique distilleries, and sample more than 200 whiskies from all over the world. The show will feature educational master classes, mixology booths, and a full dinner. Tickets are $125. 6pm-9pm. Pier 3, Embarcadero.

Good news: ~WING WINGS~ in the Lower Haight is now serving beer and wine (and sake too), from Almanac IPA to wine from E40, plus you can order beer with your delivery order. Sweet. So the next time you are burning your mouth off with too much Hella Hot sauce, a swig of Golden Gate Gose can help extinguish the fuego.

Just a reminder: last month we broke the news ~BOXING ROOM~ was going to launch a full bar (yay), featuring classic and straightforward New Orleans cocktails from Jonny Raglin (director of bar operations for The Absinthe Group). You can now get your Hurricane and Sazerac on, just in time for Mardi Gras. There are some new menu items, too, including an expanded seafood bar (raw littleneck clams, marinated mussels, a Gulf shrimp cocktail, New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp, a boozy oyster shooter) and Taste of the Swamp (turtle soup, fried frog legs, alligator sauce piquante).

February 3, 2015
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Streamline glam outside Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The busy bar at Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The 20th Century at Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

On Saturday evening, I swung by the brand-new ~STOOKEY’S CLUB MODERNE~, which has opened its doors in the former Yong San Lounge (and short-lived The Royal Tug Yacht Club) in Lower Nob Hill. It was an especially swanky time to come by since owners Tim Stookey (formerly at Presidio Social Club) and siblings Leslie and Aaron Cole were holding a private party, with members of the Art Deco Society of California in all their Deco finery in attendance. I think I saw Dashiell Hammett there. I could be mistaken.

Neo-speakeasy this is not—it’s a post-Prohibition themed bar, evoking the 1930s-1940s with its Streamline Moderne look and sound (the music was from an extensive private collection, featuring some rare recordings of the period). There are glamorous and gleaming silver sconces, a multicolored linoleum floor (and bar top), and you’ll notice more vintage design details and artwork in the coming weeks. They also did some modern upgrades: all beer and wine are on tap and much of the lighting is energy-saving LED. Another eco touch: you won’t find any plastic in your glass since they use paper straws and bamboo skewers.

The white-jacketed bartenders can shake up a variety of cocktails featuring spirits appropriate to the Deco time period, with a number of SF classics (pisco punch, Irish coffee, and the mai tai) and highballs too—all served in vintage glassware. You can take a look at the cocktail list and bar menu here. Don’t miss the 20th Century, with its whispering notes of cacao, and Stookey’s trademark 100 Reasons Rye (James Pepper rye, Punt e Mes, Cointreau, Regan’s orange bitters, $13). Almost all the other cocktails are $11, sweet.

Open Tue-Sun 4:30pm-2am. Welcome (back?) to the neighborhood! 895 Bush St. at Taylor.

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The bar at Flora. Photo from Facebook.

Check out the Wines of South America at the JCCSF on Monday February 9th with master sommelier and author of the book Wines of South America, Evan Goldstein. He’ll be presenting wines from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, and talking about the various regions and climates and what to look for when purchasing bottles. The event begins at 7pm and tickets are $35 and include the talk and tasting. JCCSF members receive 10 percent off the ticket price. 3200 California St. at Presidio, 415-292-1200.

In Oakland, ~FLORA~ is now offering cocktail classes at their bar. Matty McGee, the bar manager, will be leading two two-part series. Each class will be on Sunday evenings from 5pm-7pm, and costs $75 for a single class or $125 for both classes in the series. Classes are limited to ten students, so you’ll get lots of attention and instruction. The first series begins on Sunday February 8th and ends on Sunday March 8th, and is all about Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. YES. Learn about the history of these old-school drinks and about the importance of bitters in each drink. You’ll even make your own bitters to take home. Then, on Sunday April 12th and Sunday May 17th, learn about the difference between West Coast and East Coast Palates with different recipes for gimlets, martinis, and Tom Collins. Full details on each series as well as tickets are right here. 1900 Telegraph Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-286-0100.

Don’t forget San Francisco Beer Week begins on Friday February 6th. Don’t miss the opportunity to try beer from tons of local brewers, attend workshops, pairing dinners, and more. The full schedule of happenings is here, with highlights like a Magnolia Brewing dinner at Bar Crudo, a Belgian beer and dim sum pairing at Mama Ji’s, and a yeast flavor profile workshop at Triple Voodoo Tap Room, for your deep beer nerd needs. Go out there, lather up, and get sudsy! Beer Week runs until Sunday February 15th; locations and prices of events vary.