March 17, 2015

March 17, 2015
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Lucky 13, long may she reign. Photo from Facebook.

Last week, SocketSite reported that ~LUCKY 13~, one of the best damn divey bars in this town, may be demolished to make room for condos. There has been lots of concern about this, naturally, because everything about this is so symbolic of San Francisco in this moment in time. While we sincerely hope the bar stays put, it also looks like whatever does happen to the bar is going to take a long time.

The Bold Italic has a comprehensive look at exactly what has happened and breaks it all down. Essentially, the only thing that has happened so far is that plans to demolish the building and build condos on the site have indeed been submitted to the Planning Commission. However, the process has only just begun and this initial permit phase alone will still take three to six months, followed by lots more permitting issues.

It is also worth noting that this is not the first time the bar has been threatened with demolition. As Lucky 13′s Martin Kraenkel wrote on Facebook, “The possibility of the replacement of the bar with condos has been hanging over our heads since 2002.” Because it is a historic landmark building, that makes the whole process a bit more challenging, as well. So while there is definitely reason for concern, don’t completely freak out. There is still hope, and we will keep you updated as the process continues. 2140 Market St. at 14th St., 415-487-1313.

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The interior of Tofino Wines. Photo courtesy Tofino Wines.

Husband-and-wife team and wine industry veterans, Mark Nevin and April Sack, are opening a new wine shop and bar on Geary near the Masonic hill, called ~TOFINO WINES~, at the end of March. The new project is focused on wines from small, family producers in California, France, Italy, and Spain. They’ll be paying special attention to Champagne and Sherry selections (hello, hopper favorites), as well as “producers who practice natural winemaking and make well-balanced wines that reflect the terroir of their particular sites,” according to an email from Sack. The selection of wines available by the glass at the bar will change weekly, allowing customers to try different options before purchasing a bottle in the shop. Bottles bought in the shop can be enjoyed on-site for a $10 corkage. They will also offer a small menu of wine-friendly snacks, like cheese, charcuterie, and crostini.

The space is located near the rather odd corner of Geary and Masonic, just across from Corner Store and Target. The space has been made quite lovely, with vaulted ceilings and large windows evocative of a busy transit hub. Exposed concrete beams and flooring are balanced with warmer, more natural elements like a marble bar counter, walnut wine shelving, and terra-cotta tile from the 1920s. Right now, the plan is to open in late March—we’ll let you know when it’s official. (H/t Scoop). 2696 Geary Blvd. at Emerson, 415-872-5782.

On Sunday evening, I attended the Charin monthly pop-up dinner at Stable, which had quite the wine team on the floor (the pours we had were mighty fabulous). I had a chance to catch up with Michael Ireland (previously The Restaurant at Meadowood, consultant for Verbena) about his upcoming Inner Richmond project with John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko), ~PIVOT~ (you can read our previous post about it here). It ends up construction is just getting started, so it’s going to be another three or four months before it opens. Sit tight for now! 443 Clement St. at 6th Ave.

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Beautiful bubbles at Quince. Photo: Paul Dryer.

A couple of updates for you in sommelier land: first up, as you may have noted from the matchmaker ad we ran last week, ~QUINCE~ is looking for a new wine director. Previous director Jai Wilson has departed and is now with Bar Agricole and Trou Normand. We’ll let you know who lands at Quince.

Meanwhile, the fabulous Cara Patricia is no longer at ~LES CLOS~ in SoMa, but she has left on very good terms; they have hired a few folks to fulfill her duties. For now, she will be traveling to Burgundy with Mark Bright and chef Shawn Gawle (that trip won’t suck), and expect to see her at some upcoming events, like Pebble Beach. I’ll keep you posted on what else she has cooking for 2016, it’s gonna be good.

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The Mexican-American Vintners Association is an organization dedicated to promoting and organizing Mexican-American winemakers in California, and on Wednesday April 8th they’ll be in town for their Spring Tasting. It’s at Fort Mason from 5pm to 7pm, and will showcase wines from 15 different wineries. Some of these wines are hard to find, and the tasting is a unique opportunity to taste them, purchase them, and chat with the winemakers about their process.

There will also be cheese, charcuterie, fruit, and other snacks on hand. Tickets are $35 per person for special advance tickets (until they sell out), then $55 per person until April 7th. A limited number of tickets can be purchased at the door for $75 per person. A trade and media event will precede the tasting from 2pm to 4pm; details here. Fort Mason Center, Fleet Room, 2 Marina Blvd. at Laguna.