August 18, 2009

August 18, 2009

15 Romolo has been more than enough to pull me into North Beach for drinks (let's not forget Tony Nik's and Mr. Bing's), but coming to what is actually considered Chinatown is going to be one of the most exciting openings in a while: the ~COMSTOCK SALOON~. If all the final details go according to plan, GM Jeff Hollinger and bar manager Jonny Raglin of Absinthe will be taking over the San Francisco Brewing Company, reopening it in the beginning of 2010 as a Barbary Coast-style saloon. (Raglin and Hollinger will be the operating partners, with Absinthe's Bill Russell-Shapiro as the parent company backing it and offering input.) The saloon has great history—it opened in 1907 as the Andromeda Saloon, and is the only bar in the city that still has a spittoon/pissoir-trough under the bar (how handy, you wouldn't have to ever leave your barstool). (You can read more of the saloon's history here.)

The bar concept is about being inviting, open, and comfortable—you can come in for a serious cocktail, but the vibe will definitely be more saloon than speakeasy. Hollinger mentioned they're excited to be a bit more playful with cocktails and the house-made ingredients here as well. There will be a small menu of cocktail-friendly food, which is TBD, but will most likely feature some SF dishes like Hangtown fry, plus some potted meats, a crab Louie, and other century-old classics. In case you're wondering, the brewing equipment will be pulled, so it's going to be quite the renovation and facelift. As for the bar at Absinthe, Hollinger and Raglin are going to continue to work closely with the bar and front of house, insuring the direction and philosophy remain consistent with what they've so carefully built there. The gents have been looking for a historic bar space for a while, so we can all look forward to raising a glass next year to them finally finding it. 155 Columbus Ave. at Pacific.

Cool tidbit: found out that Scott Baird and Josh Harris of 15 Romolo have been consulting on the drink program for ~EVE~ in SoMa, designing all the cocktails, in addition to selecting the beers, wines, doing the training, and more. (It's part of their new venture, Bon Vivants Consulting.) 575 Howard St. at 2nd St.

More on ~15 ROMOLO~: next Tuesday August 25th from 5pm–8pm, they will be hosting a happy hour with The Back Scratchers Society, with handcrafted $4 Guava Gimlets in addition to the regular happy hour offerings of $6 Pimm's Cups and seasonal carnival-inspired fare ($3–$8). One dollar from every Guava Gimlet sold will benefit Project Open Hand. (The Back Scratchers Society is a collective of employed, unemployed, and freelance professionals who gather monthly to share creative ideas over cocktails. There are no team-building games or "icebreakers," just clever people and good drinks. To "join," simply follow on Twitter or check the blog.)

In honor of ~FIFTH FLOOR'S~ ten-year anniversary, they are making room in their cellar for the next decade of great wines. For the month of August, you have the opportunity to drink any of the great wines they have been collecting at 50% off. 12 Fourth St. at Market, 415-348-1555.

This Wednesday August 19th, ~A16~ will team up with Scarpetta wines, the wine project from Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson of Boulder, Colorado's Frasca Food and Wine. Executive chef Liza Shaw will collaborate with Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson on a few dishes inspired by the Northern Italian region of Friuli, where Frasca takes its culinary cues. Bobby Stuckey and A16's Shelley Lindgren will be pouring Scarpetta's Tocai Friulano and Pinot Grigio selections. A16's regular menu will also be available. 2355 Chestnut St. at Divisadero, 415-771-2216.

Next Wednesday August 26th, ~SPRUCE~ will be hosting a four-course Partida Distiller Dinner, their first distiller dinner. Guests will be able to taste the blanco, reposado, añejo, and elegante extra añejo tequilas, along with original cocktails by Jacques Bezuidenhout and Brandon Clements. Yeah, take a cab. $105, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 3640 Sacramento St. at Spruce, 415-931-5100.

Danger: bottomless Bellinis are now available during brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11am–3pm at ~HARRY'S BAR~ starting this Saturday August 22nd. 2020 Fillmore St. at California, 415-921-1000.

~DIRTY MARTINI~ in the Cannery has closed, and will be getting a big makeover (a $400,000 one), reopening in October. Owner Mick Suverkrubbe (also of Cosmopolitan Cafe and Circa) says, "The building was built in 1906 as the first Del Monte Cannery. There will be two rooms with full bars. The main lounge will be upscale with an extensive mixology program with fresh handcrafted cocktails. There will be a large event space in the back for corporate events and live music. We plan on catering our events from CIRCA." I also heard Jim Maxwell of Architects II is behind the remodel, which will involve a rustic design style referencing the early 1900s. The new name will be released soon. 2801 Leavenworth St. at Beach.

On a heavy note… the bar industry was very sad to lose one of their own last week: ~DAHI DONNELLY~, the kind and talented co-owner of Bourbon & Branch, Swig, and Anu passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was only 34. (I understand the memorial was already held last week.) Best wishes to his family, friends, and colleagues who are mourning their great loss. I know many are raising a glass.