March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

Suzanne Long, suited up and ready for an adventure. Photo courtesy Suzanne Long.

Suzanne Long, a tropical drink expert and rum educator who was previously the bar manager at Forbidden Island in Alameda, is getting ready to open her new bar in Oakland, called ~LONGITUDE~. The new spot takes the place of the shuttered Disco Volante, and is all about adventure, as explored through rum and whiskey from all over the world (hey, that’s an adventure that is hopper-approved, yesiree). Many of the drinks will have a tropical, tiki-inspired bent, which has become Long’s signature drink style. In addition, the broad selection of rum and whiskey will offer a chance to try flights or new spirits unadulterated. Either way, there should be lots of ways to explore new things.

Long collaborated with Bamboo Ben on the bar’s interior, which evokes a variety of tropical locales. There’s an East African-style hut, lots of natural texture, and straw and grasses to evoke the full tiki experience. There will be a pub menu, as well, though no details yet on exactly what that will looks like. The spot is slated to open this spring; we’ll keep you updated! 347 14th St. at Webster, 510-465-2008.


John Colins, in the 90 Natoma days. Yelp photo by Jamie L.


The exterior of the beloved Esta Noche. Yelp photo by James Z.

An upcoming project: Dennis Leary and Eric Passetti just aren’t busy enough with their new businesses, Trocadero Club and Cafe Terminus, because now they’re taking over the John Colins space in SoMa as well. License activity shows the name will be ~NATOMA CABANA~. Scoop caught up with the gents, who said they have been working on the deal for a while. Eater adds that Leary wants to create an easygoing beer garden/outdoor party feeling (the space has a lot of skylights)—just unpretentious and fun. Stand by for more—it’s looking like summer for this one. 90 Natoma St. at 2nd St.

And now for some losses. After making it through a financial rough spot last year, it looks like ~ESTA NOCHE~ is sadly closing for good. Eater mentions the new owners are behind Wish in SoMa, and are currently figuring out what they are going to do with the space: “The new owners plan to take over the bar next week and run it as is for a few months, so fans of Esta Noche will have time to say goodbye. After that, they’ll close for a renovation and are targeting an opening date sometime in late summer or early fall.”

Yes, it saddens me when I hear that funky little places like Esta Noche are closing. Gay dive bars in SF are becoming such an endangered species, and this one, a gay Latino bar, is even more rare. But here’s the thing—when was the last time you had a drink there? Some of you may be die-hard regulars, but to be honest, the last time I was in there was about 10 years ago (although I do have some very funny and rather blurry memories of that place). I always love walking by it, I love the sassy Latino crowd milling around (and those who love them), the sign with the palm tree (which reminds you this bar is kind of a queer island in a sea of Mission hetero bars), the shows, and everything the place stands for—it’s also a very special kind of seedy. It’s sad that the current owners have to sell it, but if they aren’t making their numbers, well, that’s the tough part of business in this town (and in that part of town).

And so another funky part of our city’s landscape is being sanitized away, and new gays who come to the city won’t get to experience one of the icons of our city’s gay dive bars. Damn it. So if there’s a bar you like and don’t want it to ever go away, you should drink there. Often. 3079 16th St. at Valencia, 415-861-5757.

Another spot that just closed for renovations is ~POP’S~, which we knew was gonna happen soon. Uptown Almanac reports about half the staff is going to stay on for the renovation. The new Pop’s will be under the ownership of Michael Krouse (Madrone Art Bar)—it should be opening in three months or so. 2800 24th St. at York.


The exterior of the soon-to-be-beautified space. Photo courtesy of Tim Lee.


Liquid Gold will be coming to the space on the right. Edited photo, provided by Tim Lee.

The folks at Flour & Co. in Nob Hill are going to be getting some great neighbors, in the form of ~LIQUID GOLD~, a new beer and wine bar (and shop) that is due to open in May or thereabouts. Owner Tim Lee is taking over a former bookstore that has been vacant for some time, and fortunately just got approval from the city for a type 42 license, which means he can serve beer and wine and doesn’t need to offer food service.

He was also hoping for an off-sale beer and wine license, but it seems the city has a hard time categorizing craft beer as something more akin to wine (as in, his plan is not to be selling 40s to the neighborhood, just nice beers to the people who love them), but he’s going to try for that conditional license six months to a year after they open. Fingers crossed. He can sell wine to go, however.

There will be 30 local craft beers on draft, with small-producer wines on tap as well. Lee said he’ll have more details about what will be poured (and sold retail) soon. He also plans to host meet-the-brewer/winemaker events.

Construction is going to start in a couple of weeks, and it shouldn’t be too complex. The space has room for 45: there will be some high-top tables in the front, an L-shaped bar with about 15 seats, and a communal table and retail space in the back, with a display fridge too. You’ll be able to keep up with Liquid Gold on Instagram for updates. 1040 Hyde St. at California.


Local Cellar. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Shelving and some of the wine selection. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. In addition to their recently opened ~LOCAL MISSION MARKET~ and of course ~LOCAL MISSION EATERY~ and ~LOCAL’S CORNER~, Jake Des Voignes and Yaron Milgrom have now opened another venture, ~LOCAL CELLAR~. All local, all the time!

The new spot is a wine, beer, and spirits shop on 22nd Street, in a former corner store. All the products sold in the space are locally produced, including mostly local spirits and wines that are mostly from small producers, with a focus on food-friendly, low-oak or no-oak options. Think winemakers like Donkey & Goat, Broc Cellars, and Matthiasson. They’re still working out some of the stock, including the spirits selection, and eventually you’ll also find housemade tonics and mixers and other drink-related offerings.

Right now, they are very softly open. The space is serviceable but not yet completed, so be prepared for some rough edges this week. Hours are also subject to change: right now, they’re open daily 12pm-8pm, but that may change depending on when they are busiest. Eventually, you’ll also be able to order delivery from the cellar to Local Mission Market a couple of blocks away, which will allow for pickup anytime the store is open. 2801 22nd St. at Florida, 415-795-4022.


A victorious bartender at Speed Rack 2013. Photo by Jonathan Fong via Facebook.

Celebrate female bartenders in all their fierceness on Sunday March 9th from 3pm-7pm at the third annual Speed Rack competition. The competition pits local female bartenders against one another as they make rounds of cocktails for a panel of judges. Contestants will be judged based on the accuracy and speed of their mixing skills, and the winner will head to the national finals in New York.

All proceeds from the event go to benefit breast cancer research, and to date they’ve raised more than $150,000. Boom. Tickets are $20, and include samples of punches from sponsors and snacks from local restaurants. The event is held at the Factory, in SoMa. 525 Harrison St. at 1st St.