October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014
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A peek at the Fez Room (pre-transformation). Photo via Facebook.

It’s true, two of SF’s fabulous drag queens and personalities, Heklina (TrannyShack) and D’Arcy Drollinger, have taken over the long-closed ~OASIS~ in SoMa (most recently Caliente), and will be reopening the 6,000-square-foot venue back under the Oasis name, with their target set for New Year’s Eve (hopefully the project won’t run on drag queen time and be late, because they want to get it open!). Additional partners in the venture are Geoff Benjamin and Jason Beebout (of Samiam).

Heklina and D’Arcy have been doing shows and events together the past couple of years, and have been searching for and looking at numerous venues to claim as their own (Heklina says, “I wanted my own little birdcage!”). With so many venues in the performance world closing, these two are excited to offer, as Heklina puts it, “an oasis of performance, drag, and glamour to keep the flag flying!” Acts will be hosted from around the world, ranging from drag to theater to cabaret. Heklina adds there will be some nightclub and promoter nights to pay the bills, but they want it to be different, and not yet another space with flyers of shirtless boys.

The space is currently being gutted, with the floors being made even (can’t have anyone falling in their heels), the stage being built, the walls getting painted, the space getting zhooshed, and many more improvements. Alas, the old swimming pool was filled in long ago. The space also include the neighboring VSF, which will be transformed into the Fez Room (it already has a Moroccan vibe to it) and has its own bar. Stand by for an update before we hop into 2015. You can follow along on their Facebook page, which is where they’re posting updates (along with fun pics of the space when it was the Leatherneck bar). 298 11th St. at Folsom.

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Opening night at Richmond Republic Draught House. Photo: Tim McLaughlin.

About a year ago, we mentioned two of the partners in Chomp N’ Swig (David Heft and Albert Lara Rodriguez) were partnering with Ender Markal to open a new business in the former Haig’s Delicacies space. A couple of weeks ago, they opened ~RICHMOND REPUBLIC DRAUGHT HOUSE~, which is currently serving 24 beers on draft (and one nitro), plus a cider and sour. David Heft mentioned the taps are almost all Bay Area craft beers, except when there’s a beer they just want to try and they go out-of-bounds. There’s a mug club too: for $150, you can enjoy free beer on Tuesdays, you’ll always get $1 off your beer, and there’s going to be an annual party.

There’s a full kitchen, and the food will be launching next weekend (Friday October 24th), with high-end burgers, housemade sausages, a big salad, and other bar bites like wings and nachos.

It’s a big space with room for 92—there’s a long bar and a main room, as well as a mezzanine. They also play the game on three big screens plus a projector. Hours (for now) are Mon-Wed 5pm-12am, Thu-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat 10am-2am, and Sun 10am-12am. 642 Clement St. at 8th Ave., 415-702-6069.

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~JACKALOPE~, a new bar just off Polk, has softly opened in the former Mark’s Bar space. The project comes from some of the partners involved in nearby Soda Popinski’s and shares some conceptual elements. Jackalope will also have a wheel game, as well as an upstairs “duck hunt” room with an older television and some nostalgic video games. As for the cocktail list, it’s all about twists on classics like an old-fashioned and Manhattan. They’re still gearing up, so hours are a little touch and go, but by late November, the hours will be Sun-Thu 5pm-2am and Fri-Sat 3pm-2am. 1092 Post St. at Polk, no phone yet.

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Jonny “Flash” Raglin showing us some tin flash. Photo: Facebook.

I was dismayed to read on Facebook that last Friday was Jonny “Flash” Raglin’s last night at ~COMSTOCK SALOON~. Fortunately he is staying in The Absinthe Group family—he’s just moving over to the upcoming ~888 BRANNAN PROJECT~. Founder Bill Russell-Shapiro tells me they just got their permit a week or two ago, and hope to start work later this month. It looks like late March/early April is the new target for this 5,400-square-foot Spanish project that is a full buildout, which has chef Ryan McIlwraith (previously the opening chef de cuisine at Coqueta) leading the kitchen. The restaurant will be open all day.

Raglin—who did a lot of the design and development at Comstock—is going to be the project manager at 888 Brannan (which is still unnamed), and once the project opens, he will stay on as the operations manager and will also be running the bar and cocktail program. Raglin assured me he’ll sling drinks again at Comstock from time to time, but for now, he’s going to have both of his hands full with this very big project. I know many of us will miss seeing him at Comstock, but that just means we get to torture Jeff “Jefe” Hollinger all the more. 888 Brannan at 8th St.

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Bubbly with a view at the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting in 2012. Photo from Wine & Spirits’ website.

Coming up on Tuesday October 21st is one of the most fun wine events of the year, the 11th annual Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 Tasting Event. You will be able to taste wines from the Top 100 wineries of 2014, with many of the winemakers present. There will also be great food, from oysters to cheeses, and bites from new and notable restaurants like 1760, Dirty Habit, Stones Throw, Shed, Lolo, and the Barrel Room.

The event is at City View at Metreon, and fingers crossed for some gorgeous fall weather so we can enjoy our Louis Roederer and Dom Ruinart on the outdoor terrace, am I right? Get your tickets here, which range from early VIP entrance ($150 at 5:30pm) to general admission ($110 at 6:30pm). The event is a benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper, supporting their initiatives that fight water pollution. See you there! City View at Metreon, 135 4th St., 4th Floor.

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The wine library at Press Club. Photo from Facebook.

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The patio at Jax Vineyards tasting room. Photo from Facebook.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about wine, check out the tasting series from ~PRESS CLUB~ called “Taste Wine Like a Pro.” The classes meet monthly, with a different theme for each class. On Wednesday October 22nd, sommelier Mauro Cirilli will be pouring “Anything Odd” wines from unusual regions or made with unusual processes, including orange wine. Wines include the 2013 Jambalaia, La Clarine Farm, Sierra Foothills and 2010 Vitovska, Zidarich, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy. In November, you’ll learn about good wines for Thanksgiving, and December is all about bubbles from all over. The series takes place from 6pm-7:30pm and costs $50 per person. Head here for tickets and more information.

Jax Vineyards in Calistoga has opened a tasting room in SoMa, in an old family warehouse. They are open for tasting by appointment Monday through Friday, as well as a happy hour Wednesday through Friday from 4pm-8pm. You can try out flights and glasses of wine, as well as bottles to enjoy there or take home. There’s also a cute little patio too. 326 Brannan St. at 2nd St., 415-446-9505.

On Wednesday November 5th, Russian River Valley wines will take over the General’s Residence in Fort Mason, with Single Vineyard Night from 6:30pm-8:30pm. A huge line-up of Russian River wines will be available, including Davis Bynum, Sojourn Cellars, and C. Donatiello. There will be food from City Kitchen and Truffle Gateau,along with like music and a silent auction. Tickets are $55, with additional seminars and raffle tickets available for $25-$50. General’s Residence, 1 Fort Mason at Franklin.

Whether you love Italian wine or want to learn more about it, ~POGGIO~ is the place to be this month with their Venti wine specials. Until October 31st, they’ll be offering 20 bottles of wine from the 20 wine regions of Italy, all priced at $20. The kitchen will be offering regional dishes to complement the wine, as well. Some of the wines include an Abbazia di Novacella, Schiava, 2011 from Trentino Alto-Adige or Lungarotti, Rubesco, Rosso di Torigiano, 2010 from Umbria. Reservations can be made by calling 415-332-7771.