The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
August 15, 2017

Magnolia on tap. Photo via Facebook.

Some big news in our local beer world: a group led by New Belgium Brewing Company (which is a 100 percent employee-owned brewery, by the way)—with Elysian founder Dick Cantwell and Belgian lambic producer Oud Beersel as minority partners—is purchasing the assets of Magnolia Brewing as part of a bankruptcy proceeding (Magnolia encountered financial difficulties and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2015).

Both Magnolia locations will continue to operate with existing staff and brands. Cantwell will head up brewing operations and will be working alongside Magnolia founder Dave McLean, who will be an employee of the partnership. The press release states: “The plan is to build an alliance that brings varied talent and experience to a combination of old and new, not to turn Magnolia’s Haight Street and Dogpatch locations into New Belgium brewpubs.”

Another component (and experiment!) will be blending Magnolia beers with Belgian lambic producer Oud Beersel’s beers, making this the “world’s first dedicated lambic blendery outside of Belgium.” New Belgium is also likely to ship beer to San Francisco for blending from its Fort Collins, Colorado brewery. Here’s to a successful future and collaborations for all involved.


The Hive Oakland. Yelp photo by Phillip K.

Feel like a wild (but still family-friendly) Sunday afternoon party? Head to The Hive in Oakland for Lucha!, a day with masked wrestlers from Pro Wrestling Revolution; cocktails, food, and mezcal from Calavera; food and beer from Drake’s Dealership; and coffee by Red Bay Coffee. It all goes down in the plaza between Calavera and Drake’s Dealership in downtown Oakland. Sunday August 20th, 2pm-6pm.

Tickets are $25, or VIP is $50 and includes an after-party (and with the Mezcalistas hosting, you know what they’ll be pouring). The Hive, 2325 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland.

August 8, 2017

The fantastic 500 Club sign. Long may it bubble. Yelp photo by Nick S.


The Gangway. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.


The iconic sign at Doc’s Clock. Photo via Facebook.

It’s time to check in on some of our beloved dive bars, ever the endangered species. I have some bad news and some good news. Let’s dive in. SFist brings the disturbing news that the ~500 CLUB~, yes, she of the best sign in the city (that bubbling martini glass, I mean, come ON!) is up for sale. For $1.25 mil. Dear lord. Please have a cool person with a soul who happens to have access to that kind of money be the buyer.

SFist brings up the fact that a new owner means they’d have to bring the bar up to code, which would mean some changes. We’ll just need to sit tight on this for now. So go enjoy a no-frills cocktail or a beer with some fun neighborhood folks (and their dogs) while you can. 500 Guerrero St. at 17th St., 415-861-2500.

In other news, it looks like there’s someone circling ~THE GANGWAY~ again, SF’s oldest gay bar (since 1961, although the tatty bar dates back to 1910). Nooooooo.

And let’s just say the potential new owner isn’t known for gay establishments. Quite the opposite: he’s one of the partners behind Kozy Kar. Yeah, the bar with the pervy van and water bed inside. Anyway, there’s ABC license transfer activity that lists Kung Fu Action Theatre & Laundry LLC (the owner is Sam Ruslender Young). I reached out to him, will have to see what’s the word. 841 Larkin St. at Geary, 415-776-6828.

Okay, enough bad news, ugh. Here’s some good news: the ~ELBO ROOM~ has snagged a stay of execution and just gained a year on their current lease. Magic! They would now be able to stay in the current location until January 2019. Read this post on Hoodline for more. 647 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-552-7788.

And after that Leticia Luna (what is she, the female Les Natali?) booted ~DOC’S CLOCK~ from their location (she wouldn’t renew the lease), the bar has successfully moved and set up and is slinging drinks again at their new and very nearby address. Owner Carey Suckow brought over the liquor license, the bar, the jukebox, the pinball machine, and the shuffleboard game, and now has a 20-year lease on the new space. Boom.

The fate of the iconic sign, however, remains in the balance. For now, you can look for the painted facsimile of the original sign on the storefront—it’s Cocktail Time! You can read more in this Hoodline post. 2417 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-824-3627.

July 25, 2017

Get ready for Party Under the Palms. Photos courtesy of CUESA.

Beer school sounds fun, right? Especially when you can learn from Master Cicerone Rich Higgins at Mikkeller Bar San Francisco at the appropriately named Rich Higgins Beer School. Classes will allow attendees to taste the spectrum of hop flavors in beer, detect and describe beer off-flavors, and learn how different water terroir can perfect or ruin a beer. Check out the classes and more details here. It all begins in August with four classes, each of which is available separately. Classes will take place on Sunday afternoons in The Sour Room, Mikkeller Bar’s downstairs private space. All class prices include a post-class draft beer of your choice at Mikkeller on the date of class (up to $10). 34 Mason St. at Eddy, 415-984-0279.

On Wednesday August 2nd, it’s the first Oakland edition of CUESA’s popular Cocktails of the Farmers Market series, Party Under the Palms at Jack London Square. There will be an all-East Bay lineup of 15-plus bartenders and restaurants, like the Hotsy Totsy Club, Starline Social Club, and Blind Tiger. Enjoy a night of craft cocktails and bites showcasing stone fruit, melons, berries, tomatoes, and other peak-season produce from the farmers market. Cheers! 5:30pm-8pm. General admission: $50 (until July 30th), last minute: $55. Jack London Square, Palm Plaza (Embarcadero at Webster), Oakland.

July 18, 2017

Calistoga beauty. Photo via Calistoga Wine Growers’ Facebook page.

A few wine events for you to consider, winos. Thursday July 20th is Calistoga Uncorked at The Presidio at the Presidio’s Golden Gate Club (5:30pm-7:30pm), featuring limited-production, reserve wines from 30 family-owned cellars from the Calistoga AVA (most don’t have tasting room and/or aren’t open to the public). Calistoga Uncorked offers a chance to explore rare and little-known wines, and also buy wines on the spot to bring home. $55 in advance, $75 at the door.

Monday July 24th is a Slow Food event welcoming the Consortium del Sannio (from Campania, Italy) to America for the first time. Falanghina del Sannio in the casa! There are classes, tastings, and more (check out the amazing chef lineup!) running from 1pm-8:30pm, details here. $50 donation includes food, wine, and dessert, all unlimited, as well as lectures on the wines and seafood sustainability in California (all proceeds benefit Slow Food San Francisco and the Salmon Restoration Project). Held at the Ferry Building Port Commission Hearing Room and Emporio Rulli Union Square.

Have you bought your tickets to Outside Lands yet? (A limited number of single day and three-day tickets are still available!) To pair with Solange and Little Dragon will be this year’s Cocktail Magic, featuring 12 craft cocktails from Alembic, Homestead, Horsefeather, Pacific Cocktail Haven, Trou Normand, and Whitechapel. David Korins Design, the set designers for Broadway’s Hamilton, are behind the neon bars and décor. Cheers.

July 11, 2017

The Corn Husker (on the Summer Road Trip menu at Lord George). Photo: Allison Webber.


The Vermont Cocktail (on the Summer Road Trip menu at Lord George). Photo: Allison Webber.

Hello, my fellow booze lovers. I’ve got a few items for your attention, starting with the news that ~LORD GEORGE~ has launched their second guest Mavericks menu created by Andrew Calisterio (Whitechapel, House Spirits Distillery). Come by and taste your way through the Summer Road Trip menu, which was hand drawn by Adam Feibelman and features 12 U.S. destinations, starting with our local Haight Street Fog Cutter (paired with a rosemary joint!). I personally loved my visit to the Midwest with the Corn Husker (corn water, honey, whiskey), Seattle’s Coffee Cult (bourbon, coffee liqueur, vanilla, bitters), the Vermont Cocktail (Jamaican rum, Montenegro, maple, and walnut, served in a classic pancake house syrup pitcher, garnished with a waffle cookie), and keep your eyes peeled for an Easter egg on the menu too. There’s also a Philly Float (aquavit, root beer, vanilla cream) for dessert.

The menu runs until September 30th, and the bar donates 50 cents of every Mavericks cocktail sold to the guest bartender’s charity of choice (which in this case is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital). 555 2nd St. at Brannan, 415-660-7633.

It’s also time for the latest ~TRICK DOG~ menu launch, and instead of writing about it, why not let Mr. Rogers (Morgan Schick) tell you all about What Rhymes with Trick Dog? (like Last-Picked Demagogue). The poems are by Daniel Levin Becker, drawings by Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall, and proceeds of the sale of the book will go to McSweeney’s and SOMArts. Strong work, gang! (Per usual.) 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

Congrats to Jennifer Colliau (The Interval, The Perennial, Small Hand Foods), who will be opening her own bar in Uptown Oakland, ~HERE’S HOW~, in a former gallery across from the Fox Theater. Inside Scoop mentions there will also be a kitchen and outdoor area. Stand by for details on timing and more. 1780 Telegraph Ave. at 19th St., Oakland.