July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013
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I have been busy pestering the partners at Benders Bar in the Mission for months, and now we can finally announce the opening of ~EMPEROR NORTON’S BOOZELAND~ in the former Deco Lounge space. Partner Johnny Davis tells me it’s going to be a rock ‘n’ roll lounge/neighborhood bar, but they will no longer have a cabaret license or DJs and entertainment.

The gutting, cleanup, and buildout of the space over the past seven months has been significant—he tells me they removed seven layers of flooring, gaining practically a foot in height! (It now has a poured concrete floor.) They kept the awesome vintage bar, and removed the wall behind it so you can see into the other room. Look for a bust of the namesake Emperor Norton himself in the ticket window, and there will be a portrait of him inside as well. As for the creepy downstairs (which felt like a dungeon), it won’t be open to the public, but you can hang out on the back patio until 10pm, and you no longer will have to duck your head on the stairs either. The capacity is a bit bigger, with all-new electrical, plumbing, bathrooms (yay), paint, and more. Yup, it’s all fresh.

The partners in the venture are Dion Jolley, Liam Martin, Kevin DeMattia, and Johnny Davis, and they will all be doing shifts at the bar, along with bartenders Michelle Kilfeather, Janiece Gonzales, and Courtney Price. The opening should be happening any day now; track the news on the Facebook page. 510 Larkin St. at Turk.

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Yong San Lounge; Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

As we noted back in March, the former Yong San Lounge in Lower Nob Hill/Union Square was being taken over by the Duncan Ley/Benjamin Bleiman crew (Bullitt, Tonic, Dr. Teeth, Lightning Tavern, and more). The new bar is ~ROYAL TUG YACHT CLUB~ (now the third “yacht club” business in town, although this one wins for the most name most likely to elicit dirty jokes). The interior is actually very 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea—the bar was designed to feel like you are in the hull of a ship, with a 20-foot squid with light-up eyes tangled in the frame of the ceiling. The bars are off the windows, and fortunately the awesome pink vinyl bar pad remains. Look for a new cocktail list soon. And per the previous ownership, one more tradition stands: if you ring the big Asian bell, you have to buy the whole bar a round. Ding-ding! 895 Bush St. at Taylor, 415-771-1838.

Taking over the former Stray Bar in Bernal will be a new bar from Mike Goebel and Darren Brunson (behind local watering holes Churchill, Bloodhound, and Double Dutch), working with John Ottman-Combs. Eater mentions they will be upgrading the previously sporty and dog-friendly bar, offering quality cocktails while keeping a neighborhood vibe. Stand by for more; sounds like it could take a couple of months. 309 Cortland Ave. at Bocana.

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The barrel-aged cocktail Zero Zero made for the restaurant’s second anniversary. Photo by Sonya Yu via Facebook.

Tomorrow, Wednesday July 31st, catch a tasting of wines from the Veneto region of Italy at ~WILLIAM CROSS WINE MERCHANTS~. From 6pm-9pm they’ll be pouring six tastes from the region, including Prosecco and rosé. A flight of all six costs $15.

On Thursday August 1st, head to ~NECTAR WINE LOUNGE~ for a tasting from Buglioni Family Wines, also from the Veneto. From 6pm-9pm you can order flights of four wines, none of which have been available in California before. Flights cost $20 and include a sparking rosé, a white, and two reds. 3330 Steiner St. at Lombard, 415-345-1377.

Importer Oliver McCrum has five Southern Italian winemakers visiting in August, and there are some fabulous wine events to catch as a result. On Thursday August 1st, meet all five winemakers at ~ARLEQUIN WINE MERCHANT~ ar 6pm. On Friday August 2nd, check out Grifalco, La Sibilla, and Villa Dora at Biondivino at 6pm, followed by a dinner at ~ACQUERELLO~ with Ciro Biondi and Girolamo Russo. Make the trip to Healdsburg on Saturday August 3rd for a tasting at ~SCOPA~ and ~CAMPO FINA~, where late-night bocce ball can be expected. On Monday August 5th, the winemakers will be at both A16 locations, with Russo and Biondi from Etna headed to ~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ and Villa Dora, La Sibilla, and Grifalco from Campania and Basilicata at ~A16~ in SF. To cap off that whirlwind, they’ll head to Biondivino again on Tuesday August 6th for a wine tasting with Russo and Biondi at 6pm. For more details about each individual event, check out Oliver McCrum’s Facebook page.

~ZERO ZERO~ is turning three and throwing a party to celebrate. The festivities begin Friday August 2nd with a special menu that includes food from their original menu, their latest barrel-aged cocktail, and sangria for $3. The special menu is available until Sunday August 4th during opening hours. Buon Compleanno, Zero Zero!

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The lineup of chalices at Pimp Cup 2012. Photo ©2012 Gamma Nine Photography via Facebook.

Don’t miss this chance to get crafty and try your hand at a year of free Negronis at ~JASPER’S CORNER TAP~ on Sunday August 4th from 3:30pm-5:30pm. Here’s how it works: bring a pimped-out chalice to the competition (past entries have included unicorns, Legos, and, of course, lots of glitter and rhinestones). The winner gets a free Negroni a day from Jasper’s, and everyone who attends gets bottomless Negronis on tap and serious entertainment. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and proceeds benefit the Bartender Relief Fund.

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