December 17, 2019

December 17, 2019
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The welcoming interior of the new Macondray on Polk. Photo via Macondray.

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Now this is a bar I want to spend some quality time at. California Gold in San Rafael. Photo: Allison Webber.

There are some new bars where you can get your holiday cheers on: now open on Polk in the former Bullitt is ~MACONDRAY~ from Aaron Paul (previously Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group) and Jake Roberts (Harper & Rye). Look for cocktails and New England-inspired seafood and bar bites (there are pier fries with malt vinegar powder and lobster roll bites). There’s also a $1.50 oyster happy hour every day from 5pm-6pm.

Cocktails have a fun culinary spin to them, and there’s a globetrotting list of wines by the glass and bottle. The space has a classic yet eclectic look, with white wainscoting, a pressed tin ceiling, tobacco banquettes, high-top tables with cobalt blue bar stools, and plenty of plants and tropical wallpaper. It’s cute. Open daily 5pm-1am. 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Over in Oakland is ~FIRST EDITION~, the Bay Area’s first comic book-themed cocktail bar from the Jackalope and Soda Popinski’s team, with food from Oakland’s Xolo Taqueria. It has quite the over-the-top interior. Designer Michael Brennan = there are creepy clowns. Open Sun-Mon 5pm-12am and Tue-Sat 5pm-2am. 1915 Broadway at 19th St., Oakland.

Up in San Rafael is a beautiful and classic bar in an 1896 building, ~CALIFORNIA GOLD~, from Isaac Shumway (Tosca Café, Alamo Drafthouse) and wine director/wife, Rhia Shumway. It’s looking very destination-worthy for any city dwellers, with an interior designed and built by both Isaac and Ignacio “Notch” Gonzalez (who designed Smugglers Cove and Whitechapel), complete with the original 1906 mahogany bar. There’s dark wood, tufted red leather booths, a pressed tin ceiling, dark green walls, and historic California art and photography. I’m so ready to hang out.

The bar pays tribute to California’s Spanish, English, and Mexican roots, with quality boilermaker (“shot and a beer”) options, with a heavy focus on thoughtful spirits (over 300 selections) and craft beers (12 rotating beer taps), while cocktails take inspiration from the classic to pre-Tiki tropical exotica, plus (primarily) Californian wines. Open daily 4pm-2am. 848 B St. at 3rd St., San Rafael.