February 24, 2015

February 24, 2015

Trouble in Paradise at Tosca. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The 21 Club’s vintage sign. Yelp photo by Brian J.

I was reading some Facebook news this weekend and was so sorry to learn that Isaac Shumway is no longer the lead bartender at ~TOSCA CAFE~. Taking over his position is Joe Cleveland (formerly head barman at Coqueta and for Michael Chiarello’s restaurant group). Previously, he worked with José Andrés for Oyamel and Minibar in Washington, D.C.

A connection in our local real estate scene tipped me off that the pocket-sized bar ~BIG~, known for its fantastic craft cocktails during its run under bartenders Brian Felley and Mo Hodges, would be opening once again, in the 21 Club in the Tenderloin (just across from Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s upcoming Loco’l). While Felley and Hodges are busy with their own soon-to-open bar, Benjamin Cooper, which we reported on a couple weeks ago, Scoop confirms this new Big is from Jordan Langer (Big, Oddjob), Pete Glickshtern (Jones, Oddjob), Ryan Melchiano, and Ryan Hisamune.

They will reportedly continue Big’s bespoke format: no cocktail list, just talk with the bartender and tell them what you like. The 21 Club will stay open until the license transfer is complete (you can read an homage to the dive bar here); look for a summer opening. I also learned this will be just the beginning of changes to the building, which is going to be revitalized. 98 Turk St. at Taylor.

Over on Divisadero, Dajani Group’s ~BAR 821~ just reopened after a monthlong remodel. Changes include more seating at the extended bar and a bigger back bar, highlighting a large selection of amari and a new amaro-themed cocktail list. 821 Divisadero St. at McAllister.


The exterior of Tupper & Reed. Photo courtesy of Doug Dalton.

Sound the trumpets: ~TUPPER & REED~ is opening this week, a new bar from the Future Bars team (Bourbon & Branch, Swig, Local Edition, Devil’s Acre, Wilson and Wilson, Tradition, Rickhouse, Cask) in the former Beckett’s in Berkeley. Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton are taking the space back to its roots, way back, when it was a music store (Tupper and Reed), which John Tupper and Lawrence Reed started in 1906 and opened in the storybook structure in 1925.

You will see many elements that highlight the building’s early musical heritage, from the original signage that is back up to signs painted on the brick walls, plus lots of rustic wood, pendant lights, and archways over the doors. The space has two levels: the upstairs bar has a reservations-only area (you can reserve here), with a library of rare and hard-to-find spirits (Pappy in the house), and 110 seats. There are two fireplaces, and you’ll find one in a listening room, along with an Edison gramophone (which was originally sold in the Tupper and Reed store!) and old Victrola records—but there’s room for just a couple of people in the listening room.

There’s a huge wooden staircase, and downstairs is where you’ll find another 2,000 square feet, with a bar and 120 seats. The menu will include some elements from their other bars, like punch bowls, and you’ll find some classic cocktails on the menu too.

The plan is to soft open this Wednesday February 25th, and officially open for business on Friday February 27th. Hours will be Mon-Sat 4pm-2am, closed Sun. 2271 Shattuck Ave. at Bancroft, Berkeley, 510-900-2588.


The busy tasting scene at Rhone Rangers; photo courtesy of Rhone Rangers.

Tonight, Tuesday February 24th, catch the Agricole Rum Extravaganza on the patio at K&L Wines in SoMa. As the name would suggest, the party is all about rhum agricole, with legendary rum fiend Ed Hamilton. They’ll be shaking up drinks and opening rare rum bottles all night, and there will also be snacks like jerk chicken wings, salt cod fritters, and goat curry. The party runs from 6pm-9pm, and tickets are $50 per person. 638 4th St. at Bluxome, 415-896-1734.

Don’t miss this When Sipsmith Met Sherry cocktail party at ~LOLINDA~ on Wednesday February 25th from 5:30pm until 9:30pm. Lolinda’s Nora Furst has paired up with Trick Dog’s Caitlin Laman and Sipsmith’s Leilani Vella to create cocktails using sherry and gin, all to benefit those who have been displaced by Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco, with proceeds going to the San Francisco Tenants Union. You can take a look at the cocktail menu here; all cocktails will be priced at $12.

The Rhone Rangers are swinging into town March 27th and 28th, for their fab annual Bay Area Rhone Tasting. Events include a winemaker dinner in the Presidio on Friday March 27th, a grand tasting in Richmond on Saturday March 28th, and the seminar series on American Rhones wines. Tickets begin at $75, and prices for the different events vary. You can also buy weekend passes and packages; head here for details on prices, locations, and time of specific events.