April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014
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A look into the Harper & Rye space (on March 30th). Photo via Harper & Rye on Twitter.

Last September, we were the first to report on who was taking over the ~RED DEVIL LOUNGE~ on Polk: Jamal Blake-Williams, previously a bar manager at The Tipsy Pig and Mamacita. Based on a few clues on Twitter, we figured out it’s going to be called ~HARPER & RYE~ (named after his business partner’s children).

As you can see, they have uncovered the windows, and will be adding more windows on the Polk Street side that will slide open. There will be a pool table where the stage was (along with some seating), and there’s a mezzanine area as well. The look will feature a lot of wood, and wall textures will add visual interest and contrast. There is a significant amount of seating that has been added, and they want to be able to easily accommodate larger groups. To that end, there will also be more large-format drinking options like punches and batched cocktails. The list itself will be “fairly refined,” offering five or six cocktails that will cover all the main spirits (bourbon, vodka, etc.). The plan is to open in late May. Follow along on Twitter here. 1695 Polk St. at Clay.

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A rendering of the upstairs room (and bar) at Gaspar. Via Facebook.

Good news, my fellow fans of Kevin Diedrich’s bartending ways—he’s currently consulting for the upcoming ~GASPAR BRASSERIE~ that will be opening downtown. He shared a few details on what he has in store: “really heavy on Cognac, Calvados, Armagnac, and absinthe cocktails. The menu will also consist of other spirits to balance out the heavy brandy cocktails. Definitely incorporating French aperitifs into many of them. The menu will be really approachable and balanced. I’m trying to keep to the theme of a French brasserie, but with contemporary cocktail twists.”

So yes, we’ll be drinking pastis before you know it. You’ll find Diedrich behind the stick when Gaspar opens sometime in May. One cool addition to the space: as you can see in the rendering, there will be a bar upstairs (in addition to the bar downstairs). Stand by for more on Gaspar in a couple of weeks! 185 Sutter St. at Kearny.

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Part of the new lounge area at Mercer. Photo: Natasha Gillett.

Earlier in the year, we wrote about ~MERCER~, the club and event space moving into the former Project One. Owners Sean and Isabel Manchester (Mighty, Chambers Eat + Drink) just officially reopened the space last weekend, with the goal of offering “great music in a casual space with gracious service and no attitude.”

James Downs (Chambers, Sugar House in Detroit) is running the bar, offering “honest drinks made with care…No hand-carved ice, no unicorn tears, and no 20-minute wait while your drink is muddled, strained, and doused with tinctures. Okay, maybe just a few tinctures.”  

Since it’s in the design district, it’s also meant to be a place to hang out after work (and not just late into the night). Look for a happy hour every Tue-Fri 5pm-9pm with beer and drink specials (there’s a lounge area), and the beats will starting kicking in on the 222 Hyde TurboSound rig after 9pm, with an eclectic lineup (including J Boogie and Vikter Duplaix and their monthly “Daylight” every fourth Friday). 255 Rhode Island St. at 15th St.

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The vacant 65 Club space on Taylor. Photo via Phantom Coast’s Facebook page.

Last June, we mentioned a big gastropub and brewery coming to one of the city’s sketchier corners (Turk and Taylor): ~PHANTOM COAST BREWERY~. It ends up the project has fallen through—Eater reports the new owners of the building have different plans for the space. Yeah, bummer. So Keith Wilson and Casey Gray (of Tope in North Beach) are on the hunt for a new location. We’ll see if this phantom project finds a new harbor. 65 Taylor St. at Turk.

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Glasses of mezcal, ready for a tasting at Tres. Photo from Facebook.

Perhaps you have noticed that mezcal is all the rage these days, and perhaps you’d like to learn more about it. Or perhaps you’re already well versed in mezcal, and relish an opportunity to geek out. Either way, you’ll be stoked at the Vino de Mezcal: An Evening with Erick “Almamezcalera” Rodriguez at ~TRES~ on Thursday April 24th from 7pm-10pm.

Erick Rodriguez of Wahaka Mezcal will be pouring small-batch “vino de mezcal” from all over Mexico, so-called because they aren’t from the “mezcal” appellation but are produced in the same way. Rodriguez travels all over Mexico to find these special spirits, and this is a unique opportunity to taste them and talk to him about mezcal and the process of distilling it. The event is raising funds for Fundación Agaves Silvestres, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the reforestation of wild agaves in Mexico. Tickets to the event are $125 and include lots of mezcal as well as bites to pair with the tastes. 130 Townsend St. at Stanford, 415-227-0500.

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