July 10, 2013

July 10, 2013
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The interior at Brass Tacks. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As previously reported on tablehhopper, beloved gay bar ~MARLENA’S~ is no more and in its place is ~BRASS TACKS~. Marlena’s owner Garry “Marlena” McLain has retired after 23 years and the place has been reopened by Matt Conway (of Comstock and Absinthe), Anthony Healy-London (Churchill, Bloodhound, and Double Dutch), and Josh McAdam. The first question on everyone’s lips, of course, is how will the quirky and fabulous spirit of Marlena’s live on? The answer seems to be in Marlena herself; McLain was seated at the bar having a grand old time the evening I stopped in during the friends and family opening. McLain was adamant that he wants the new crew to be successful, and has every intention of enjoying at least part of his retirement on the stools at Brass Tacks. For a great tribute to the bar and its fabulous patrons, check out the audio documentary Marlena’s Curtain Call from KALW right here.

So since that’s out of the way, let’s talk drinks, shall we? You’ll find a well-crafted list of cocktails, many with classic film-inspired names, like the Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (that’s mezcal, Averna, cacao, and hellfire bitters) or the To Wong Fu (brandy, Cocchi Americano, pamplemousse, lemon, Smith & Cross). Take a peek at the menu here. Ingredients will change seasonally, like the fruit syrups and other garnishes, while other cocktails might be swapped out according to the time of year. It’s not all fancy cocktails either; there are eight beers on tap and four wine taps. Opening beer choices include Brekle’s Brown from Anchor, Nitro Stout from Drake’s, and Stone IPA; selections will change frequently. For now, only three wine taps are up and running but the fourth will be added shortly. They’ve currently got a red (Vinum Red Dirt from Paso Robles), a white (Vinum White Elephant from Napa), and a rosé (Cultivar Rosé from Napa), and all glasses clock in at a wallet-friendly $8.

The newly revamped space has a long walnut bar, with beautifully chevroned floors and a sexy chandelier that bears a resemblance to ice in a cocktail glass. In the back area is some lounge-style seating for groups, and in front you can snag a stool at the large window that opens to the street outside for prime people watching on a nice day; it’s Marlena’s favorite perch. Hours are 2pm-2am Mon-Fri and 12pm-2am Sat-Sun. 488 A Hayes St. at Octavia.

The hopper inbox received word that ~BIGFOOT LODGE~ on Polk Street is closing this Saturday July 13th. The lumberjack-friendly bar opened in 2001 from the 1933 Group (known for their collection of bars in LA). Scoop reports the next taker is David Zimmerman (Blackthorn Tavern in the Inner Sunset, F8 in SoMa), who will be turning it into Cabin. The updated look will be complete in August, but he is keeping the bar open during the remodel. 1750 Polk St. at Washington, 415-440-2355.

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Broc wines. Photo from Facebook.

It’s that time of the year again, when the Lark Creek Restaurant Group offers half-price bottles of wine throughout the month of July. You can come by for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and whether you go to One Market Restaurant, LarkCreekSteak, Cupola Pizzeria, or other restaurants, you are gonna be able to enjoy that Feudi di San Gregorio Lacryma Christi for just $19, or a 2009 Radio-Coteau Savoy Pinot Noir for $70. Enjoy. (Participating restaurants of Lark Creek Restaurant Group include The Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur; One Market Restaurant, LarkCreekSteak, and Cupola Pizzeria in San Francisco; Lark Creek Walnut Creek; Yankee Pier in Larkspur, Lafayette, and at Santana Row in San Jose; Lark Creek Blue at Santana Row in San Jose, and Parcel 104 at the Santa Clara Marriott [Fridays only].)

On Sunday July 21st, make your way to ~BROC CELLARS~ in Berkeley for their fifth annual Broc-tacular. They’ll be pouring their wines, including several new releases, and there will be small bites from Naked Lunch. The event runs from 1pm-5pm and costs $25; RSVP here. 1300 5th St. at Gilman, Berkeley, 510-542-9463.

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