March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012
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Matt Conway, living large. Photo courtesy of Matt Conway.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned Jeff Hollinger was going to be spending a bit more time with the ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ bar program, and it ends up there’s bigger news to share: Matt Conway, whom many of you will recognize from his three years at nopa, has been named bar manager. Conway has worked closely with Hollinger and Jonny Raglin at Comstock Saloon from day one—so he knows their approach and program well—and the past three months has been working behind the stick at Absinthe.

Conway will be collaborating with Hollinger (who will be there a couple days a week) on updating the cocktail list and selecting spirits, while continuing Hollinger and Raglin’s Absinthe legacy of having a focus on housemade ingredients. His first official day as bar manager is today, and you will find his new drink on the board, the Palermo Buck: 1.5 oz Bernheim whiskey, 0.75 oz Averna, 0.5 oz orange juice, 0.5 oz lime juice, 2 dashes orange bitters. Shake and strain into a Collins glass, top with ginger beer. Yup, I could have that for breakfast. Hey, Matty!

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Photo from Monk’s Kettle website.

The 29th San Francisco International Beer Festival isn’t until April 28th, but tickets go on sale on TicketWeb on Friday March 16th at 10am—since tickets sold out last year in less than an hour, you’ll want to get on it. For $65, you will get a bottomless mug of over 100 international and local craft beers paired with edibles from local SF restaurants. All proceeds benefit a local cooperative preschool.

On Monday March 19th, ~MONK’S KETTLE~ is hosting a Moonlight Brewing dinner with Brian Hunt. Check out the five-course menu here. $90 (tax and gratuity not included). 5:45pm door, 6:30pm first course—will last about four hours. Seats can be reserved by emailing Nat.

Whole Foods Market Potrero Hill has opened ~STEEP BREW~, the store’s new full-service beer and coffee bar (the grand opening happy hour event is Friday March 30th from 5pm-7pm, with local brewers and beer guru Wesley Anderson, special pricing on some beers and nibbles, food samples, giveaways, and a raffle). There is a rotating selection of artisanal, local, craft brews served at 38 degrees Fahrenheit in a proper glass; featured tap beers include Ballast Point, Almanac Beer Co., Pacific Brewing Laboratory, Magnolia Brewery, Dying Vines, and Anchor Brewing, and special guest breweries and brewmasters will make appearances on Fridays (like Magnolia on March 23rd, 6pm-9pm). There is also a wide selection of local coffees, plus appetizers, cheeses, burgers, and more, plus flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi. Open daily 8am-10pm; happy hour Mon-Fri 5pm-6pm. 450 Rhode Island St. at 17th St.

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Photo by Justin Lewis.

On Friday March 23rd, ~FIFTH FLOOR~ is hosting a winemaker dinner with Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard. For that night, the restaurant will be offering a special seven-course menu paired with Bonny Doon wines, and Randall will be at the restaurant to talk to guests about his wines. The menu will be $95 and wine tastings will be $68 (taxes and gratuities excluded). 

On Saturday March 24th, Champagne Socials and Planet Grape Presents are hosting a Champagne tasting and sabering event with Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis. Some of the evening’s featured Champagnes include: Perrier-Jouet, Champagne Mumm, L’Host, Piper-Heidsieck, Champagne Henriot, Monthuy, Champagne Taittinger. Yeah, not too shabby. The event will be held at the Nieto Fine Art Gallery. $30; tickets here. 7pm-9pm. 565 Sutter St. at Powell.

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The Office. Photo from Thrillist.

I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for cool party spaces, and ~THE OFFICE~ above Churchill looks pretty sweet. Thrillist mentions there’s room for 99 people, and you get your own private bar (a walnut-topped bar), a list of 15 high-end cocktails, two taps with your choice of kegs, plus audio hookups for DJs and plug-ins for live music, a shuffleboard table, three TVs, a 10’x5’ screen, and a full kitchen. Email for details. And don’t forget to invite me, mmmmmkay? 198 Church St. at Market.

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