December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017
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The plaster wall sculpture by Nicholas Roberto at True Laurel. Photo: Wes Rowe.

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The main bar at True Laurel. Photo: Wes Rowe.

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The tasting bar with reserved seating will open in 2018. Photo: Wes Rowe.

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Crispy hen-of-the-woods mushrooms with sour cream and alliums dip. Photo: Wes Rowe.

Opening this Friday December 22nd is a new project from David Barzelay and Nicolas Torres of Lazy Bear: ~TRUE LAUREL~. This stylish bar was designed along with Nicholas Roberto, and the former woodsy look of The Tradesman has been replaced with new materials like powder-coated steel, concrete, and a plaster wall sculpture. True to its name, the main bar is made from a cross section of a laurel tree and is inlaid with white-green quartzite.

There is also an eight-person back bar that will open in 2018, offering a tasting menu of five tasting-sized cocktails with dishes from the kitchen. There will be two seating times per night and a designated bartender.

Unlike Lazy Bear, the bar is walk-in only (no reservations), and it has a more relaxed style and vibe, whether you want a drink and a bite or are looking for more of a meal (there is both bar and table seating).

The cocktails by Torres are ingredient-driven, with a focus on seasonality and minimal waste, so he utilizes everything from the pith to the pit when possible. He also likes to utilize wines from around the world and apéritifs in his drinks, making them even more food-friendly.

Cocktails include the Top Dawg (house Shinko pear tonic, rancio wine, carbonated and served tall with a black sudachi and smoked salt rim) and the Shaker Lemon Stirred (with Meyer lemon fino sherry, moscato chinato, and wheat vodka, served up with a candied and charred lemon wheel). They run $14-$16 each.

There are some fun vintage elements, from the glassware to some spirits like bourbon from the 1940s-50s, bottled and labeled specifically for the San Francisco Pacific-Union Club.

As for the menu from Barzelay and chef de cuisine Geoff Davis, look for fun shared plates like Dungeness crab and aged cheddar fondue served with toasts; charred pumpkin lettuce wraps; crispy hen-of-the-woods mushrooms with sour cream and alliums dip; and a TL patty melt.

Hours will be daily 4pm-2am. The kitchen opens at 5pm, with last call for the kitchen at 1am. They will be closed for a Christmas break from December 24th-25th. 753 Alabama St. at 19th St. 

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A rendering of the upstairs balcony at August Hall.

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A rendering of the main space at August Hall.

Back in March, we learned that Nate Valentine (Umami, Mamacita, The Tipsy Pig, Padrecito, Harper & Rye, Ambassador, Double Dutch) was partnering with Scott Murphy (Deckstar, Eventbrite, SnowGlobe Music Festival), Chad Donnelly (SnowGlobe Music Festival), and Justin Roja (Redford Bar | Eat, Rambler at Hotel Zeppelin) to take over Ruby Skye and Slide and open ~AUGUST HALL~ and ~FIFTH ARROW~ in their places. A bit more detail has been released, with some renderings and timing (they are targeting spring 2018).

To recap, they are opening in the historic Native Sons of the Golden West building and are taking some inspiration from the building’s history. August Hall (named after its 1890s architect, August Headman) is going to be a live music and special event venue, with room for 750 guests for concerts and up to 1,000 guests for dance events. It will feature a modernist style (designed by Britt Hull of the Tide Design Co. and Parisa O’Connell Interior Design), state-of-the-art-technical elements (including a sound system by d&b audiotechnik), three full bars with food service, and top artists presented through Live Nation Entertainment. Jodi Goodman, president at Live Nation Northern California, says, ”August Hall is destined to become an iconic, must-visit venue in the Bay Area, and we look forward to releasing an inspiring schedule of shows in the coming months.” This is shaping up to be a pretty amazing new venue.

Fifth Arrow is going to be the downstairs cocktail, dining, and gaming parlor with three bowling lanes (the first and only in Union Square)—it was originally a 1930s Prohibition speakeasy. (It takes its name from the target point used by bowling aficionados for optimal scoring.)

Stand by for news about upcoming shows, menus (chef Todd Shoberg is no longer involved), and more soon. 420 Mason St. at Geary.

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The Speakeasy Tap Room is open once again. Photo via Facebook.

After a nine-month hiatus, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is back in business and has reopened its newly remodeled Hunters Point taproom (it has an expanded 17-line draft system and new copper-top tables and lighting). Ces Butner (Hunters Point Brewery LLC) is the new owner—it’s refreshing news that he’s a local African-American businessperson with three decades of experience in the craft beer industry (instead of some big beer company). Butner will open up the brewery to additional regional brands in need of a local facility looking to enhance their production numbers. He says, “We have a 60,000-barrel facility and we’re looking forward to inviting brands in need of a brewing facility to collaborate with us in 2018.” Brand-new crowlers as well as growlers will now be available

Bottle production for retail distribution throughout California and select markets across the country will kick back in on January 1st, 2018, and there will be a grand opening event at the brewery on Saturday January 27th. Open Tue-Thu 3pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-10pm, and Sun 12pm-8pm. 1195 Evans Ave. at Keith.