March 26, 2013

March 26, 2013
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House cappuccinos at the ready. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Bartender at Tosca. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A bunch of Lower Haight folks were mourning the passing last week of the legendary Lady T, a well-known character in the neighborhood, whether she was freaking you on the dancefloor at Underground SF (I recall having a few turns on the dancefloor with her back when it was The Top) or busting some moves in your shop, just ‘cause. Haighteration and SFist posted homages with some fun anecdotes about this fiery and fun-loving lady. Let’s all bust an extra move in her honor.

Friday evening, I popped by ~TOSCA CAFE~ for a few adult beverages and potentially a final goodbye since it may close while I’m away in New Zealand. There’s no way I was going to leave town without having some quality time at that beloved bar (and have one more chuckle over my favorite bathroom graffiti, ever). Where else could you go for a civilized cocktail on a Friday night in North Beach, easily slipping in for a quiet drink at the long bar, shaken or stirred by a white-jacketed bartender?

My friend and I started with a round of Negronis, had dinner at the nearby Capo’s, and then returned for a couple of nightcaps: the famed house cappuccino and a White Nun, which was Carol Doda’s preferred cocktail. We chatted a bit with Peter Ridet (owner Jeannette Etheredge’s nephew and business partner), who said the bar will close once the liquor license transfer happens, which could be the end of this month.

New owners Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield will be doing some remodeling during the closure, and according to this interview with Grub Street, they are going to try to do as little as possible to the place (yay). For now, it’s about improvements, like replacing the back booths with real leather, fixing the floors, repairing one of the paintings on the wall with a slash in it, and since they will be adding an Italian-esque menu, updating the ancient kitchen is a priority. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more. And thanks for the years of wonderful memories, Tosca. I’ve had drinks with many of my favorite people at that special bar, something I hope to continue.

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The Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico. Photo courtesy Sierra Nevada.

There are a few big beer projects coming up soon, starting with the new taproom in SoMa from Connor Casey (Press Club, Marin Brewing) and Tim Sciascia (Marin Brewing and Samuel Adams in Boston) called ~CELLARMAKER BREWING COMPANY~. Grub Street reports that the pair is looking to make some unusual beers, including saisons and sour beers with fruit aged in wine barrels. Pours will be available in smaller tastes, pints, and growlers to go. There’s no plan for food right now, but they are hoping to get a rotating roster of food trucks parked out front for all your noshing needs. The opening is currently slated for summer 2013. 1150 Howard St. at Sumner.

Over in Berkeley, Chico-based beer heavy ~SIERRA NEVADA~ is opening a tasting room on 4th Street. Grub Street first caught wind of the story, and Berkeleyside Nosh got some details, including that there will be about 16 different beers available, including lots of small-batch and unusual choices not usually available outside the company’s Chico tasting room. There will be food, though the location will be less focused on lingering and eating as it will be on educating the public about the brewing process. The goal is to open in August, though of course that is subject to change. 2031 4th St. at University, Berkeley.

On the smaller end of the scale (literally) is a new “nano-brewery” (that’s a step smaller than micro) project in Berkeley. Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the new spot just got approval from Berkeley’s zoning commission, and owner Viet Vu hopes to open in seven months. 1763 Alcatraz Ave. at Ellis, Berkeley.

And back on the San Francisco side of the bay, remember that ~ANCHOR BREWING~ is planning a new location just south of AT&T Park, at the upcoming Mission Rock development. Scoop reported in February that second location will include a restaurant and museum, plus it will nearly quadruple the brewery’s output. It’s not opening until 2016, assuming all goes smoothly, but it’s an exciting development nonetheless.