August 12, 2008

August 12, 2008

Yesterday I popped by to check out ~MINI BAR~ in the Western Addition, a project I’ve been excited to have opening in the ’hood. It’s an intimate spot, but hey, at least it lives up to its name. The owners are really keen to cater to folks in the neighborhood, and keep things comfortable and personal. The narrow space has a simple and timeless, masculine look, with a couple slate-grey booths with button-tufted backs, plus a bar with room for eight or so, plus there are some standing bar areas. There’s also a back lounge with low-slung chocolate brown lounge chairs and wood block tables (a perfect space for private parties).

The colors are all grey, cinnabar, and brown, and were chosen so the art will pop. I got to peek at some of the cool art they’re hanging; mini bar will hold group shows every six weeks showcasing emerging artists in the local community, only taking 20% of sales. There will be specialty cocktails with a Western Addition theme (Panhandle Punch, anyone?), plus four beers, including local brews from Magnolia and Speakeasy. The wines will also have a local focus, many of them boutique. mini bar is scheduled to have its soft opening this Friday, and will then be open Mon–Thu 5pm–11pm, Fri 4pm–12am, Sat noon–12am, and Sun noon–11pm, with bloody Marys on the weekends for you pre- or post-brunch boozing set. Happy hour will run during the week from 5pm–7pm, and look for later hours down the road. 837 Divisadero St. at McAllister, 415-525-3565.

Well, after all the ruckus surrounding the sale of ~JAZZ AT PEARL’S~, Eater noted the joint is now suddenly closed. The website just has a cryptic page of some candids, including one of North Beach fixture Millie, famed for her $5 Polaroids and cheeky comments. All so mystewious. 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway, 415-291-8255.

Just in case you want to play “Where’s Waldo: Bartender Edition,” Dominic Venegas will be behind the bar at Range every Thursday night, and Carlos Yturria will be there on Wednesdays, with both of them behind the stick at bacar on Fridays.

Also just heard that Victoria Damato-Moran will be the day lead bartender and rocking the pisco at La Mar Cebicheria, the new Peruvian restaurant opening on Pier 1 1/2, next to the Ferry Plaza on the Embarcadero. Quick update for you: the restaurant is aiming to open to the public on September 18th for lunch and dinner. Victoria’s last day at Monaghan's Bar is Wednesday August 27th.

Big congrats to San Francisco bartenders who netted us some mentions in GQ’s Men.Style.com’s list of the ~20 BEST COCKTAILS IN THE U.S.~ Woot! Or should I say cheers!

This week I have another half-off wine deal to report: ~XYZ’S ANNUAL WINE OFFER~ is in effect: from now through August 31st, dine there for lunch or dinner and receive 50% off every bottle o’ vino on the list. Their list is pretty extensive, with over 200 bottles of organic and biodynamic wines, in case you want to check some out. 181 3rd St. at Howard, 415-817-7836.

Starting this Wednesday August 13th, ~JACK FALSTAFF~ is launching "Happy Jack Hour" featuring $5 cocktails and $5 bites, including Dungeness-jalapeno crab cakes, spiced lamb meatballs, house-cut fries with shaved cheddar, and more. Kick it while cocktailing al fresco on the enclosed patio or in the lounge. Happy hour is every Wed–Fri 5pm–7pm. 598 Second St. at Brannan, 415-836-9239.

And now, for the weekend: ~BAR BAMBINO~ in the Mission is launching Italian Pop Saturdays this Saturday August 16th, from 12pm–2pm. As the event release cutely says, “If you're not sunning yourself in the Italian Riviera this summer, think Mission District. Pack your stilettos, your Jackie O's, and make your way to the newly renovated patio at Bar Bambino. Celebrate the flavor, the sounds, and the feel of a true Italian Summer with the launch of ITALIAN POP SATURDAYS. Complimentary wine cocktails by the carafe, crostini bites, and the best of Italian pop music. What better way to spend a summer's afternoon?!” Indeed. tablehopper readers are invited to attend (yo, vino and crostini for free!) but you gotta RSVP! Space is limited, so pop a note to genevieve [at] ellisonmediagroup [dot] com to secure your spot. 2931 16th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-738-0444.

Meanwhile, ~TRES AGAVES~ is hosting a monthly third Thursday event that will include a tasting and special dinner. This month, on Thursday August 21st, there is a special advance preview of Tequila Ocho, the first Tequila to ever be released as a vintage-dated, single-estate bottling. The tasting starts at 5pm and the dinner begins at 7pm. Cost for the dinner, including the Tequila tasting and entertainment is $100, inclusive of tax and tip. 130 Townsend St. at 2nd St., 415-227-0500.

People in the industry, don’t freak out, but it seems there is a shortage of “owl beer,” the delicious ~HITACHINO NEST~ which I tried for the first time at Momofuku in New York. (You can get it at Monk’s Kettle in the Mission, and I’ve also seen it at Coffee Bar.) The new Bon Appetit “Foodist” blog has more—basically there’s too much demand, but with a new brewery opening soon, production will be boosted back up, and then some. Now, if only the price could come down a little, man. Or should I say (s)hoot.