January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016
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Jeff Hollinger doing his special voodoo at Comstock Saloon. Photo: Liza Gershman Photography.

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The exterior of The Lark Bar. Yelp photo by Albertino M.

This Friday January 29th is going to be a dark day in SF: after 14 years with the Absinthe Group (currently celebrating 18 years), which includes more than five years at ~COMSTOCK SALOON~, Jeff Hollinger (aka Jefe) is leaving his post as saloonkeeper. Sadly a barman’s late hours don’t coincide well with a busy family life, and he has decided—after at least a year of mulling it over—that he needs to move on. Hollinger started as a bartender at Absinthe and will be wrapping things up as a bartender this Friday, when he’ll be behind the stick starting at 12pm—we’ll have to see how long he lasts. There will be boots.

I’m sorry I won’t be there to raise a glass in person to one of my favorite and most talented people in the industry. Thank you, Jeff, for everything you have contributed to the SF cocktail legacy and craft. You have always been a font of information about cocktail history, a keeper of the flame of SF bar history, and you make a mean Martinez (and Cherry Bounce!). You have always been so hospitable, ever-ready with a big guffaw, and a mentor to many—we all learned from you in many ways. The ultimate barkeep. We’ll miss you, but now we hope to see you on the other side of the bar.

Meanwhile, ~THE LARK BAR~ has opened in the former Dave’s. To recap, Future Bars (Bourbon & Branch, and Cask, which is next door) took over the beloved downtown dive bar and are keeping things pretty simple. Look for a sports bar vibe (TVs still in effect), with affordable cocktails, shots, and beers. They have a an updated food menu, including chili (a Dave’s tradition, $4), hot dogs ($5-$6), a variety of panini (ham and cheese, cheese and bacon, and mozzarella and tomato, all $6), and a few snacky items. Hours are Mon-Sun 11am-2am. 29 3rd St. at Market, 415-952-7504.

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The “I’m a Broke Ass” Flight: three wines for $9 at The Punchdown Yelp photo by Albertino M.

Fans of natural/minimal intervention wines will be happy to hear ~THE PUNCHDOWN~ has reopened in its new location in Uptown Oakland—they closed a little over a year ago when owners D.C. Looney and Lisa Costa lost their lease.

So the next time you’re seeing a show at the Fox Theater, you can swing by and check out the new and spacious digs. Look for more room, more retail wine, more flights, and more food options (well, once their gas gets turned on—so no food for now). Scoop also reports: “They’ll also bring back their daily happy hour, winemaker/importer events, and guest chefs, as well as organize their natural wine club.” Hours are daily 12pm to close (10pm during the week and 12am Fri-Sat). Follow @thepunchdown on Twitter for updates as they ramp up. 1737 Broadway at 19th St., Oakland, 510-788-7877.