February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014
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The many taps at Hopwater. Photo from Facebook.

We told you about it back in September, and now it’s open. Ladies and gentlemen, ~HOPWATER DISTRIBUTION~, the new beer bar from partners Sky Wegman, Chris Barry (both of Dogpatch Saloon, 83 Proof), and Jon Guinea (of Wood Tavern in Oakland), opened its doors Friday February 12th. The new spot, in the former Key Klub bar (oh yeahhh), offers 31 beers on tap, all of them from California. While the beers will change regularly, to start, all the offerings are from the Bay Area, including selections from Anchor, Magnolia, Pine Street, and Almanac. Take a look at all the current brews right here.

The food is from chef Bruce Paton, who previously worked at the Clift Hotel and has so much experience pairing food with beer, he’s known as the “Beer Chef.” The menu includes a burger, naturally, with optional additions like egg, pork cheeks, and bacon, along with a duck charcuterie platter, salads, and a fried chicken sandwich. Hours are Sun-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 5pm-1am. 850 Bush St. at Taylor.

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The bar at Topsy’s. Photo courtesy of Steve Schefsky.

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The harlequin-patterned walls. Photo courtesy of Steve Schefsky.

Opening tonight in the former OZ on Kearny (next to Rickhouse) is ~TOPSY’S FUN HOUSE~, a new bar from the owners of Playland on Polk (Angela Bisesi and Steve Schefsky). Anyone who knows SF history will note the place is an homage to Topsy’s Roost, an absolutely bonkers restaurant and dance club that used to be at Playland at-the-Beach: the multilevel space had people eating in chicken “roosts and coops” and riding slides to the dance floor in the center of the room. Yes, it was fricking amazing.

This bar is on the smaller side, with room for 25 at a bar, some high-top tables in the front, and some lounge seating as well. There’s also a downstairs, which will eventually be a place for dancing. Designer Michael Brennan says the look is circus-inspired, with harlequin-patterned walls, carnival lights behind the bar, a tin ceiling, and if you look up in the rafters, you’ll see a clown’s apartment, with a dressing room and storage area (don’t go up there).

The space also has a kitchen, which will be opening soon (and will be open late). They will serve classic SF dishes, like crab Louie and It’s-Its (which originated at Playland at-the-Beach), and in the spirit of Topsy’s Roost, there will be chicken and waffles. Since one of the partners is Russian, there will also be blini with smoked salmon, caviar, and more.

Another interesting component: they have a brewery license, and they have plans to brew a boutique beer line called Fog Hog Brewhouse. I caught up with brewer Jessica Lehr, who has been a home brewer the past three years and has done some commercial work around the city. She said there will be two draft lines: a dark lager, which she says is full and rich in flavor but has a light drinkability, and a California poppy saison—her take on a French farmouse pale ale—using barley and fresh California hops. Here’s the cool thing: part of the water she uses for brewing is fog harvested! She explains that she has some nets up on a farm north of SF that resemble volleyball nets that collect fog condensation in buckets, which she uses in the brewing water! (Karl the Fog would definitely approve.) The draft lines should be open in April! Hours for now are 4pm-2am (weekend hours may change a bit). 260 Kearny St. at Bush.

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The stocked shelves at Ordinaire. Photo via their Facebook page.

A few groovy wine deals for you. First, have you noticed the fantastic list of sparkling wine at ~1760~? Well, you may want to pay closer attention, especially on Mondays, which are Grower Champagne Mondays, which means you get 20 percent off all bottles of grower Champagne. It’s time to party with Gaston (Chiquet)! Pop!

And just in time for Hump Day: over at ~BLUEPRINT TAP ROOM~, you can enjoy a glass of rosé all day for only $5 (normally $9). They’re pouring the 2012 Ampelos rosé of syrah from Santa Ynez. Because we can drink rosé all winter long in California.

If you’re in the 510 this coming Thursday February 20th (or maybe you’ll want to head over after reading this): ~ORDINAIRE WINE SHOP~ is hosting a big Central Coast wine tasting for only $20. Think Roark Wine Company, Sandhi, and more, plus some vittles from Chris Kronner will also be available (he has been popping up there on Thursdays and Fridays). 5:30pm-8pm. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-629-3844.