March 5, 2013

March 5, 2013

The bar at Alchemist. Photo by Phoebe G.


Comfy seating at Alchemist. Photo by Phoebe G.

tablehopper broke the story last July that Kinson Lau, formerly of Gitane, was opening a bar in SoMa called ~THE ALCHEMIST~. After a series of delays, the new bar (which is up on the second floor) is softly open now, serving some lesser-known but classic cocktails, like the Monkey Gland (gin, orange juice, grenadine, absinthe rinse), and twists on classics, like the Beez Nuts, a twist on the Bees Knees, with gin, chamomile, lemon, and honey. Check out the full drink list here. There will also be a chalkboard special called the “Alchemist’s Tincture,” which will be inspired by a Chinese herbal medicine.

In the future, look for pop-up guest bartenders who will mix things up a bit, and food might be forthcoming too. The look is industrial-meets-Gothic, with a touch of steampunk. There’s room for 70, with a 13-seat bar and lounge areas with tufted couches. They’re open Wed-Mon (closed Tue) from 5pm-2am. 679 3rd St. at Townsend, 415-746-9968.


Photo from via Facebook.


Hello, whisky. Photo courtesy Suntory Whisky.

Good news: ~THE EAGLE~ has reopened. New owners Mike Leon and Alex Montiel held their first beer bust this past Sunday! You can read all the details on Grub Street. I was also happy to see on Facebook that Anna Conda (who was very involved in trying to keep the bar under gay ownership) will be relaunching her Charlie Horse drag show (previously at The Cinch) with Mutha Chucka starting on Saturday April 6th. 398 12th St. at Harrison.

Over the weekend, bar manager Joel Teitelbaum announced on Facebook that he is no longer behind the stick at ~HARRY DENTON’S STARLIGHT ROOM~—next stop: Southern Wine & Spirits. Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 21st floor, 450 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-395-8595.

At ~HOG & ROCKS~, bar manager Michael Lazar just launched a new cocktail menu called “Pimp My Old-Fashioned.” The cocktail is more than 200 years old, but now there are some new versions, like the House Rock & Rye, with two different ryes (Wild Turkey and Rittenhouse); rock sugar and a citrus squeeze are added, and it’s finished with vanilla bean and horehound (a member of the mint family, horehound has a bittersweet licorice and root beer-esque flavor). The full menu is available here.

And next Thursday March 14th, ~HOG & ROCKS~ is hosting a special night with Japanese whisky ambassador Neyah White (with Suntory). The dinner is priced at $60 per person, and includes a guided spirits tour. Check out the menu here. Call 415-550-8627 for reservations. (A special cocktail list of Japanese whiskys will be available for happy hour—from 5pm-6:30pm—and after the dinner/late night—from 10:30pm-1am as well.)


The dining room (and mignardises cart) at Acquerello. Photo: ©

This Wednesday March 6th, ~BAR TARTINE~ is hosting a Hungarian dinner with wine pairings from Judit and József Bodó of Bott Winery in Tokaj, Hungary—this is their first time in the United States. The menu includes Zsiros Kenyér (bread with lard and onion) with 2011 Bott Határi Hárslevelű; véres hurka (blood sausage) with 2011 Bott Csontos Furmint; pacalpörkölt (tripe and pork knuckle stew) with 2007 J&J Eged-Hegy Kekfrankos; and many more dishes (check out a pic here). The cost will be $87 for wine and family-style food; tax and tip not included. Just make reservations and specify “the Hungarian dinner.”  

This week, winemaker Sébastien Riffault of Sancerre will be in the Bay Area. His Les Quarterons is more traditional, but wait until you try his old-vine, slow-fermented wines like Akmeniné and Skeveldra. You can meet him and taste all three of his organic and certified biodynamic wines on Thursday March 7th from 6pm-9pm at Terroir Wine Bar (1116 Folsom St.); Friday March 8th from 5pm-9pm at Ruby Wines (1419 18th St., $10 to taste all three wines); and on Saturday March 9th from 6:30pm-9:30pm at Punchdown (2212 Broadway, Oakland; all three wines available by the glass).

This Friday March 8th, swing by ~SAN FRANCISCO WINE TRADING COMPANY~ from 6pm-8pm for the tasting event “Provence Meets Bordeaux.” New arrivals from Domaine du Deffends, Provence, plus some direct-import Bordeaux will be poured, and they’ll be slicing up some serrano ham too. $10 for tastes of 15-plus wines. 250 Taraval St. at Funston.

Did you know ~ACQUERELLO~ is hosting a wine dinner with Pietro Ratti of Renato Ratti in Barolo? On Thursday March 14th, you can meet Pietro, whose father, Renato Ratti, is credited with being the first to map the vineyards of Barolo and Barbaresco. You’ll have a multicourse dinner with Barolos from the La Morra village. UPDATE: There’s a new date for this dinner in April, too: Thursday April 25th. Reservations can be made by calling 415-567-5432.

And on Monday March 11th, ~PLÄJ~ is hosting a five-course Scandinavian beer dinner. The cost is $60; call 415-294-8925 or 415-863-8400 for a reservation.


Join authors Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphy at ~QUINCE~ on Tuesday March 19th. The pair will be talking about their new book, American Wine, which details the appellations, techniques, and styles that make American wines great. The event runs from 11:30am-2pm and includes a three-course lunch with wine pairings, a reception with the authors, and a copy of the book. Tickets are $95 per person, which also include tax and tip.


Location of The Legionnaire Saloon; photo via Facebook.

Now open in Oakland is ~LEGIONNAIRE SALOON~, which according to its Facebook page is “a neighborhood bar and live performance venue located in the heart of the Oakland arts district with excellent bartenders, exceptional spirits, eight beers on tap, pinball and a stage for as well as a vintage 45 jukebox. Brought to you by Prozack Turner and RaeAnne Turner (formerly of The Layover).” I was never able to get someone to get back to me, so that’s all I’ve got on this spot. You can check out upcoming act listings on the website. Mon 4pm-12am, Tue-Fri 4pm-2am, Sat 6pm-2am. 2272 Telegraph Ave. at 23rd St., Oakland.