The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
January 20, 2015

The interior of Longitude. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.

Suzanne Long, owner of ~LONGITUDE~, is going to be teaching some classes on tiki drinks and rum in the coming weeks. First up is Tiki Mixology 101 on Monday January 26th at 8pm. You’ll learn how to mix classic tiki cocktails at home, and then go behind the bar to make your own. A photographer will be in attendance, photographing each participant, as well. The class is $100 and includes a welcome punch, two participant-made drinks, recipes, and a photograph.

Then, on Tuesday February 3rd at 6pm, check out Rum 101 Tasting and Education. You’ll learn about rum production all over the world, and get to taste at least six different rums (rumor has it Suzanne brings out some special, rare rums for these classes, so be prepared for a treat). This class is also $100 per person, including a welcome punch, six tastes, and instruction. You can reserve your spot in either class by email.


Crab in a smoky lime vinaigrette with pomegranate and celery at a recent dinner at Copita. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. On Tuesday January 27th, ~COPITA~ will be hosting another of their popular Agave Girls dinners with Tequila Herradura. From 6:30pm until 8:30pm, they’ll be pairing special tequilas and cocktails with a four-course menu from chefs Joanne Weir and Gonzalo Rivera. The menu includes dishes like pork meatballs with garlic and peanut chilmole, as well as a roasted duck breast with duck thigh carnitas, carrots, and mole negro. Check out the whole menu here.

I highly recommend taking the whole evening and riding the ferry over if the weather is nice; on a recent evening, the pleasant chill and sunset view of the bay was the perfect preamble for a warm, richly flavored dinner at Copita. The regional, modern Mexican cooking is well balanced with the warm, tiled space, and the wood-fired oven at the center of the kitchen makes the entire restaurant especially inviting. Tickets to the dinner are $65 per person and include food and beverages but not gratuity. 739 Bridgeway at Anchor, Sausalito, 415-331-7400.

January 13, 2015

The exterior of The Addition. Photo from Yelp.

Quirky nightclub/restaurant/bar/venue ~SUPPERCLUB~ is serving its last dinner on Friday January 23rd, Scoop reports. On Sunday January 25th, they’ll be throwing an “everything must go party” from 2pm-2am, for these wanting to say good-bye in (in)appropriate style. The club will continue, though, in pop-up form, around the city, check the calendar for details. 657 Harrison St. at 3rd St., 415-348-0900.

It looks like ~THE ADDITION~, or the artist formerly known as Yoshi’s, is closing once and for all. The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Fillmore Live Entertainment Group has been trying to revive the location, which opened in 2007, but its financial commitments have been too burdensome. It will close January 14th, but they are hoping a new partner will step in yet again to try and breathe some life into the location. 1330 Fillmore St. at Eddy.


The disco ball buffalo head at Buffalo Club. Photo courtesy Buffalo Club.


The bar (and groovy stools) at Les Clos. Photo courtesy of Les Clos.

As we reported last month, the team behind Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem and Tonic has a new bar and restaurant in the Mission, in the former Specchio space. It’s called ~BUFFALO CLUB~ and is serving classic cocktails, beer, and wine along with an Italian-inspired menu of pizza, salads, and snacks. Here’s the opening menu, but some additional snacks and pizzas will be available in the next few weeks. You can also peek at the drink list right here. Hours are daily 5pm-2am, with the kitchen open until 1am daily. 2331 Mission St. at 19th St., no phone yet.

This is a fantastic way to try new wines: ~LES CLOS~, the new wine bar from sommeliers Mark Bright and Cara Patricia, is now offering weekly Saturday afternoon wine tastings. Every Saturday from 3pm-5pm, beginning January 17th, guests can try four to six different pours for a tasting fee of $10 per person. Each week will have a different theme, starting with wines from Italy and followed by pinot noirs from around the world. The highlighted bottles will be offered at a discounted price the day of the tasting too. Walk-ins at the bar only. 234 Townsend St. at Lusk, 415-795-1422.

The seasonal Cocktails of the Farmers Market series at the Ferry Building continues with winter’s installment, Jazz on the Rocks on Wednesday February 4th from 5:30pm-8pm. The event is a partnership with SFJAZZ, CUESA, and the local chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, and offers seasonal cocktails from 17 local bartenders, all inspired by the bounty of the farmers’ market.

The theme this time is all things jazzy, with the appropriate soundtrack, of course, and participants include Shirley Brooks (The European), Tony Devencenzi and Suzie Robinson (Novela), and Ian Adams (15 Romolo). Seven chefs will be providing snacks, as well, including the likes of Preeti Mistry (Juhu Beach Club) and Josh Even (Tosca Cafe). Tickets are $50 per person and include three full-size drinks and unlimited sample-size drinks and bites. 1 Ferry Plaza at Embarcadero.

Great news: ~BOXING ROOM~ will be launching their cocktail list with their brand-new liquor license on Friday February 6th, which we mentioned was in the works not too long ago. Jonny Raglin, who developed the list, says it’s all about classic and straightforward New Orleans cocktails, spanning from the Sazerac to the Hurricane. Just last night, he ran a preview at Brass Tacks, and you can take a peek at the list here. A big hit was the drive-thru daiquiri, with a blender in effect—the daiquiri and Sazerac will be running as a special in the beginning in honor of Mardi Gras season, but expect most of the drinks to hover around $10. Let the good times roll.

December 23, 2014

The bar at Trick Dog. Photo from Facebook.

Get primed for the new year with a Champagne tasting at ~BAY GRAPE~ wine shop in Oakland. The class takes place on Sunday December 28th and is called All About Champagne, Lovers! Sounds pretty perfect, right? The class takes place from 3pm-4pm and is $35 per person. There is space for 16 people, first come first served. Sign-ups begin that day at 1pm. 376 Grand Ave. at Perkins, 510-686-3615.

Nothing says New Year’s like Champagne, and the bar at ~BRASSERIE S&P~ is hosting a special Champagne Tasting on New Year’s Eve from 3pm-7pm. The tasting includes a Champagne Henriot flight of brut, blanc de blancs, and rosé, along with canapés, and is $55 per person. To reserve your spot, email or call 415-986-2020. (The Brasserie will also be serving dinner on New Year’s Eve in case you want to stick around.)

Earlier this month, Geral Lowe, a doorman at ~BRASS TACKS~, lost his apartment and almost all his belongings when his building caught fire. He is fortunately safe, but he has tragically lost almost everything. To help raise some money to get him back on his feet, Brass Tacks is hosting a fundraiser on Monday December 29th at 7pm. There will be a silent auction and a raffle with lots of prizes, including gift certificates to bars and restaurants like Locanda, Biergarten, Piccino, Nopa, Boxing Room, and Mission Bowling Club. In addition, the bar will be offering drink specials (with all proceeds going to Lowe), and Deli Board will be serving food. So, basically, not only is this a great cause, but it’s going to be a pretty fun party too. Let’s all come together and help a fella out! 488A Hayes St. at Octavia.

For those of you who follow the menus at ~TRICK DOG~, get ready for a new menu on Thursday January 8th. This means the San Francisco map menu is on its way out, so be sure to stop by for a Golden Fire Hydrant or Alcatraz before it’s too late (and note they’ll be closed January 1st-6th). 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

Heklina and D’Arcy Drollinger, the high-heeled hostesses behind the new ~OASIS~ in SoMa, said they were going to be opening their new 6,000-square-foot cabaret theater and nightclub on New Year’s Eve, and they are doing it! Tickets are selling fast for opening night. We wrote about the project a couple of months ago, and you can read some great details and backstory on the space here. The January calendar is already looking busy, including the launch of Heklina’s new party, Mother, formerly Trannyshack. Yay, a new playground! 298 11th St. at Folsom.

December 16, 2014

The Clover Leaf cocktail. Photo: ©


The main bar. Photo: ©


Various vintage pharmacy items. Photo: ©


The vintage cocktail shaker. Photo: ©


The main room at Devil’s Acre. Photo: ©


The downstairs bar at Devil’s Acre (Remedie). Photo: ©

On Sunday evening, I swung by the ~DEVIL’S ACRE~ in North Beach for the first night of the bar’s (very quiet) soft opening—the official opening is Wednesday December 17th. “The Devil’s Acre” was a nickname a section of the neighborhood used to have (it wasn’t just known as the Barbary Coast). More fun trivia: did you know the word “hoodlum” originates from the area as well?

The spacious project is in the former Jazz at Pearl’s, a location that was vacant for some time, just next door to Tosca and Specs’. The Future Bars team (Bourbon & Branch, Tradition, The Wilson, Local Edition, Cask, and the upcoming Tupper & Reed in Berkeley) gutted the space and completely built it back out as a Barbary Coast bar—at one time it was a hotel and pharmacy, with a jewelry shop and Chinese-American cigar-rolling shop upstairs.

The vibe is very much a pharmacy-saloon-apothecary hybrid, with one wall lined with a collection of vintage pharmacy containers, and many little remedy bottles above the bar. The bartenders wear cowhide aprons that mimic old pharmacist aprons, which had to be sturdy enough to protect them from corrosive substances (fun fact: the aprons are the same cowhide as the padded rail along the bar). And about that amazing bar: it was originally from Pennsylvania, and then was shipped to someone in Hawaii, who never did anything with it, so now here it is in San Francisco. It’s a beaut.

The bar menu is a booklet designed like an almanac, and in between the cocktail sections (“Period Specific Classics” and “Barbary Coast Originals”) are ads for neighboring businesses, like Comstock Saloon, Tony Nik’s, and Naked Lunch. (Classy, that.)

The bar is a partial homage to Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant’s Companion, the first cocktail book, which was printed in 1862. Partner Doug Dalton says the goal was to put a spin on some of the cocktails and make them more palatable, and also serve other drinks of that era. Bar leads Darren Crawford (who has lived in North Beach the past 10 years and has worked at Tony Nik’s) and Jay Pouliot (Tradition, Alchemist, Cotogna, Beretta) include a pisco punch, bourbon crusta, and sherry cobbler (Harry Johnson, 1888) on the menu.

I tried the Clover Leaf (inspired by Harry MacElhone and the old Waldorf Astoria, 1910), shaken with jonge genever, Carpano bianco, lemon, grenadine, egg white, and a mint leaf, an ideal cocktail to start the night with. The Golden Era features gin, applejack, dry vermouth, lemon, aromatic bitters, and an orchard syrup that was was potent with the flavor of apple and spice—it’s a bewitching, fragrant, balanced cocktail.

Further into the almanac is a soda fountain section, where you can enjoy that same orchard syrup in a soda, along with a root beer, a lemon-lime soda, ginger beer, and other bubbly drinks made with real syrups. Sodas were how pharmacists used to serve bitter medications, and I know exactly where I’m heading the next time I have a nasty hangover: I’ll try the ammonia Coke, which was once used as an antacid.

There is also a section of pharmacy remedies and elixirs: you can order an aromatic elixir or surfeit water (a cordial) with an immunity tonic, or maybe an energy boost is what you need? There’s even a love potion. (You can also add some of these remedies to your cocktails.) Isn’t this fun? And just wait until you see the vintage mechanized cocktail shakers on the bar.

There’s a lot of seating in the main room (perfect if you’re waiting for your table at Tosca), and the large windows that look out on Columbus keep it from feeling like a hidden speakeasy. There are so many quality details, from the beautiful wallpaper to the elaborate medallions on the ceiling, plus chairs with striped silk backrests, and inlaid in the wood floors are reproductions of pharmacist pill tiles (which they would use to prepare medications on).

Downstairs is the Remedie room, which will be open all the time (unless someone has a private buyout). It’s the perfect private party room, with its own bar, and vintage chairs and tables. Open Tue 5pm-2am, Wed-Sat 3pm-2am, Sun 3pm-12am, closed Mon. 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway.


Some of the sherries at Sherry Christmas 2013. Photo by Balthazar Digital Media via Facebook.

December 15th marked the 129th anniversary of the death of Jerry Thomas, the famed bartender and pioneer of American cocktailing, and the author of How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant’s Companion. He was a champion of genever, the Dutch spirit that was a predecessor to gin, and to celebrate, Bols is hosting several events all around the bay this week. Until December 21st, check out specials at bars including Prizefighter in Emeryville, Bocanova in Oakland, and Lolinda, Rich Table, and Comstock Saloon in San Francisco. Check out the full lineup of participating bars here, and raise a glass to a true spirits pioneer!

Here at tablehopper, the belief is that you can never have enough sherry, and ~15 ROMOLO~ agrees. This year, don’t miss their Third Annual Sherry Christmas celebration, when they offer a special menu of food designed to pair with a selection of 18 different sherries by the glass. Check out the menu here. 15 Romolo Pl. at Broadway, 415-398-1359.


The exterior of Specchio (then Piattini, now Buffalo Club). Yelp photo by Thomas R.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the team behind Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem and Tonic has taken over the former Specchio/Piattini in the Mission. The new project is called ~BUFFALO CLUB~, and the partners are Duncan Ley, Ben Bleiman, Mark Devito, and Joshua Callen. Devito says the concept for this location will be a bit less themed than nearby Dr. Teeth, though it will still be fun and visually interesting. They’re keeping the Italian spirit alive, with mostly pizza on the menu, along with some charcuterie and salads. They’ve been working on a sourdough-style dough, and toppings will be creative, beyond the usual pepperoni. Devito wasn’t prepared to divulge too many details, but he did say there would be at least two pizza offerings that were in the piadine vein, with fresh greens on top of the crust.

The space is being updated to have a bit of a retro vibe, sort of like “an old Brooklyn pizzeria,” with wood paneling. There are also lots of tributes to the buffalo, including a disco ball buffalo head. The space and menu will be group-friendly, and they want to make sure that the place feels like a good neighborhood spot to hang out, with great cocktails. And about those cocktails: Callen is running the bar, and though they are still working out the menu, look for delicious drinks that pair well with pizza and won’t take forever to prepare. At least two rotating house cocktails will be on tap, along with six beers. There will also be some wines. Right now, the plan is to open in the first week of the new year, so stay tuned for an exact date. To start, the kitchen will be open daily 5pm-1am, with the bar staying open until 2am. 2331 Mission St. at 19th St.

Back in October, we mentioned what was replacing the former Esta Noche, ~BOND~, and SFist reports it’s now open. To recap: it’s meant to be a neighborhood bar, with classic rock, straightforward cocktails, and Sunday football. 3079 16th St. at Valencia.

December 9, 2014

The bar at Brewcade. Photo courtesy Brewcade.


Seating at Brewcade. Photo courtesy Brewcade.

It looks like we’re going to have a (much needed) rainy winter this year, so here’s a great way to spend some time indoors: wearing out your thumbs on 1980s vintage arcade games at ~BREWCADE~ (that link isn’t quite live yet, by the way). The bar is from Shawn Vergara of the nearby Blackbird and his sister, Tiffny Vergara Chung, and they have created a veritable fantasy playground for grown-ups. They’ve got 24 vintage gaming machines from the 1980s, offering as many as 50 different games (many machines are multiplay), along with 25 beers on tap, 5 wines on tap, and a selection of carbonated, low-alcohol cocktails. There is also a wide selection of nonalcoholic sodas, from The Fizzary, and coffee from Stumptown, along with a “French-Italian sparkling slushie.” For food, they’ve got a “munchie bar” serving inexpensive snacks ($2-$5) including caramel corn, jerky, chicharrones, and nuts.

So, about those games. The selection is impressive, and includes classics like Pac-Man and Mrs. Pacman, Tetris, and Mario Bros., as well as more obscure titles like Galaxian, Jungle Hunt, and Xevious. Here is a partial list of games on offer, but many more will be available as well. The games will take quarters, though whether or not that means the pricing will also be vintage isn’t clear yet.

The space was designed by Craige Walters, who is also responsible for Fable, Romper Room, and Golden Gate Tap Room. The retro theme has been emphasized in the space, along with an industrial vibe. There is also a patio, with four tables, and a sleek, modern wall-mounted jukebox to keep the soundtrack fun. Hours are 3pm-2am Mon-Fri and 2pm-2am Sat-Sun. 2200 Market St. #102 at 15th St., no phone.


Moody lighting at The Basement. Photo from Yelp.

As noted back in 2013, the former 222 Hyde has closed. In its place is now ~THE BASEMENT~, Eater reports, from owner Larry Livingston of Palladium. There is only a narrow bar on the ground floor, but the large basement has been tricked out with a new sound system, and Livingston will host DJ nights on weekends, as soon as he’s locked down an entertainment license. Right now, it’s all about comedy nights, including an open mic on Thursdays. It’s beer and wine only, with a selection of beers on tap, some wine, and soju- and Champagne-based cocktails. Hours are Tue-Wed 6pm-12am, Thu-Fri 6pm-2am, Sat 7pm-2am. 222 Hyde St. at Turk, 415-742-7222.

It looks like the PlumpJack Group has made yet another acquisition, this time of the former Sloane space in the Mid-Market area. Scoop notes that they plan to reopen next year, though no word yet on any details. 1525 Mission St. at 11th St.


The cazuela cocktail at Uno Dos Tacos. Photo courtesy Uno Dos Tacos.

~UNO DOS TACOS~ has secured their full liquor license, and that means they’re now serving a full cocktail list. Tequila and mezcal are the focus, with a house margarita, of course, available by the glass or pitcher ($8/$29). There is also a special cazuela cocktail on the list, which is kind of like a mini punch bowl: four ounces of tequila (yikes!) with grapefruit, orange, and lime juice with Jarritos soda, served in a traditional ceramic dish ($14). To go along with the new cocktail list is a new happy hour Monday through Saturday from 4pm-8pm. Margaritas are $6 each or $26 for the pitcher, beers are $4, and sangria is available for $5 a glass or $18 for a pitcher. There is also a selection of $5 snacks, including flautas, a quesadilla, and gorditas. Check out the happy hour menu here. 595 Market St. at 2nd St., 415-974-6922.

There’s a new happy hour at Café Claude Marina Monday through Friday from 4:30pm-6:30pm. The offerings include a selection of wines for $1 per ounce, $3 beers, and snacks like oysters Rockefeller ($2) and baguette sliders ($2). Check out the full happy hour menu here. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore, 415-375-9550.

For a pizza happy hour, head to ~CAPO’S~ every day from 5pm-6pm for a special deal. For $8, you get a slice of their deep-dish pizza, and your choice of a soda, Pabst, or shot of well whiskey. The deal is only available at the bar, but that’s more fun, anyway.