January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009

According to permits, Last Laugh Coffee is becoming ~NOETECA~ (an enoteca/wine bar?). The number is disconnected, so we’ll have to see what pops up. Here’s a little tablehopper P.I. work: one of the names on the permit, Scott McDonald, might be the Last Laugh’s former employee, Scott, so we’ll have to see… Any Noe residents have some intel? 1551 Dolores St. at 29th St.

Over in North Beach, Magnet has transitioned to becoming ~CHURCH KEY~, a bar featuring primarily beers, 55 in all, from microbrews to imports. Eight are on tap, with the rest bottled—and the beers rotate, so there’s always something new to try, plus there are also some well-priced wines. The place has a turn-of-the-century traveler look, with unique wallpaper (the floral pattern actually features demons), exotic light fixtures, a copper bar, and an ever-growing collection of Victorian artwork, like pinned butterflies. There’s an upstairs mezzanine with room for 20, and about 15 at the downstairs bar. Church Key just finished its soft opening, and is now open nightly, starting at 5pm until midnight, and until 2am Thu–Sat. Happy hour is daily until 8pm, with $2 off all draft beers. The grand opening will be the weekend of January 30 and 31st.

The owner is Jason King, who some may know from his place Broken Record out in the Excelsior. Since the Broken Record has a kitchen (and some cool chefs, more on this in a moment), it will be supplying Church Key with some exotic meat pies that will be heated in ramekins in the bar’s convection oven, like braised oxtail, venison with brandied cherry, and a root vegetable version, all under $10. That’s some mighty fine and beer-ready bar food.
So, about the chefs: they are Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher, a couple who met while working in the pastry department at Boulevard. Zacher has also worked at Campton Place, as well as Firefly, where she became the pastry chef. Ostler helped open Range (he was behind the brill Brillat-Savarin soufflé), plus Quince, tinderbox, and Serpentine. So now you know who’s doin’ that tasty food you’re eating while sipping your beer. 1402 Grant Ave. at Union, 415-963-1713.

in the Mission closed this past weekend, and word on the street is Frankie Boissy is still the owner, but is reportedly transforming the space into more of an upscale nightclub experience. Does this mean bottle service is coming to the corner of South Van Ness and 16th Street? Eep. Time will tell. I’m just gonna say it: I miss my Mondays at Liquid. 2925 16th St. at S. Van Ness.

More in the bottle service department (a runaway train, will this trend just stay in Vegas, please?): ~INFUSION LOUNGE~, the $4.6 million “ultra lounge” and restaurant is officially opening this weekend on January 9th (“the most anticipated opening of this decade,” according to the website). I’m calling designer Kinney Chan’s look “Enter the Dragon”—you can check out pics for yourself here. And yes, the bathroom is coed, every woman’s favorite. As for the restaurant portion of the project, I’ll let the website do the talking for what’s on the menu: “Post-Modern New California Fusion small plates with a very strong gastro-molecular presence.” All righty then. Open Tue–Sat. 124 Ellis St. at Powell.Â

Greg Bronstein has done the BOC shuffle, and is moving the ~BAR ON CASTRO~ (staff included) to the former Transfer location, and is calling it the BOC, Bar on Church. The launch happens on Tuesday January 20th—we’ll have to see if the boyz want to venture that far down Market Street. Well, I imagine they will on January 20th, when there will be complimentary cocktails from 9pm–11pm, timed to synchronize with Obama’s Inauguration Day. Craige Walters did the interior, with a mirror ball-inspired back bar, plus special lighting and effects, a new sound system, and game room. According to the press release, “BOC’s weekly parade of parties will reflect favorites – with a bump!” (I wouldn’t tell the police that.) Anyway. The line-up, ahem, includes Manic Mondays (with ‘80s music and 80-cent cosmos—that’s about all people should pay for them), Tuesday is Womanizer (ladies drink for half price—although I’d like to see the bar determine what constitutes a “lady” that night), Wednesday is Booty Call, Thursdays and Sundays is Kick It (Long Island Iced Tea specials, which basically means a one-way ticket to a black-out), and DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. Open daily 12pm–2am. 198 Church St. at Market.

Over at ~ZINNIA~, lead ‘tender Jackie Patterson is back from her trip to France for the Marie Brizard 2008 Cocktail Challenge, and was inspired to come up with a new light and delicate aperitif cocktail, Le Mistral. The base ingredient is Pineau des Charentes, a fortified white Bordeaux grape juice that is often consumed as a slightly sweet aperitif, plus some brandy, lemon verbena leaves from chef Sean O’Brien and his wife Pat’s garden, stirred and served in a chilled martini glass with a little lemon oil, plus a spanked lemon verbena leaf (bad leaf, bad!). It’s $7, and will be available from Tuesday through Saturday of this week. 500 Jackson St. at Montgomery, 415-956-7300.

Oh, and in case you wanted to get a copy of the ~BIXOLOGY~ book I mentioned a few weeks back, Bix is the only place you can get the book until Chronicle releases it in early spring. Bix will happily ship it to you. The book is $16.95, and is $21.50 with first class postage and tax. 56 Gold St. off Montgomery, 415-433-6300.