The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
January 17, 2017

From CUESA’s SF Jazz Cocktail Night. Photo: Amanda Lynn.

Last fall, I mentioned a new bar was taking over the former Castle Club in the Tenderloin, ~RUM & SUGAR~, and Hoodline reports it’s now open. Look for a wide selection of rums, rum-based cocktails, and local beer and wine. It’s meant to have a neighborhood vibe (dogs are welcome). Open daily 2pm-2am. 823 Geary St. at Hyde.

I have been waiting for the past month for ~BIIG~ to finish its interior so I could take some pics, but you may as well know that it’s softly open right now in its new Tenderloin location at Turk and Taylor (the former 21 Club). The bar is from Jordan Langer (Big, Oddjob), Ryan Melchiano, Pete Glickshtern (Jones, Oddjob), and Ryan Hisamune. The original Big bartenders, Brian Felley and Mo Hodges, are busy with their own bar, Benjamin Cooper, but this new incarnation will continue the legacy of making bartender’s choice cocktails for guests on the fly. You just tell the bartender your liquor preferences, spiritous or not, and look for some seasonal touches.

I’ll report back soon on the décor, which includes a herringbone marble countertop and lumber panels that were at Big’s previous location. Soft opening hours (according to Hoodline’s report) for now are Wed-Thu 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 6pm-1am (or thereabouts). 98 Turk St. at Taylor.

Mark your calendar and get your ticket for A Library of Libations: Winter Cocktails of the Farmers Market, coming up on Wednesday February 15th. This evening in the Ferry Building will include literary-inspired winter farmers market cocktails and bites from 20-plus Bay Area bartenders and chefs. CUESA, the San Francisco chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library are all collaborating on this event. Yup, there will be cocktails with names like From a Tale of Two Citruses to Infinite Zest, so get ready. Heh. Guests receive three full-size signature cocktails featuring Jack Daniel’s, Rabarbaro Zucca, and Ron Zacapa, along with unlimited sample-size drinks.

Early-bird tickets are $50 (ends January 18th!), general admission tickets are $55 (ends February 5th), last-minute tickets are $60 (ends February 15th)—and then you can get a season ticket for $140 (ends February 15th, more info here). 5:30pm-8pm. Ferry Building Grand Hall, 1 Ferry Building.

January 10, 2017

A look at the tropical vibes at Flip-Flop at Over Proof at ABV. Photo: Wes Rowe.


The Pink Flamingo at Flip-Flop at Over Proof at ABV. Photo: Wes Rowe.


Rum ham musubi with housemade Spam at Flip-Flop at Over Proof. Photo: Wes Rowe.


The main bar at Coin-Op in SoMa. Photo: Luke Beard.

The crew at ~ABV~ (Todd Smith, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud) are opening their own one-year pop-up, Over Proof, on their upstairs mezzanine. The idea is to create a different tasting menu experience each quarter, with cocktails from a single spirit category and food to match. The décor will change with each quarter as well. They’re launching with Flip-Flop, a deep dive into rum and the food culture in the different regions of the world where rum is produced. Expect beachy vibes, with vintage rum posters, bamboo, beach scenes, and tropical glassware.

The menu is $80 (inclusive of tax and gratuity) and comes with five cocktails and dishes by chef Collin Hilton (it’s not a strict food and cocktail pairing, however—things will be a bit more loose). A few items on the current menu: a vermouth-forward and hand-carbonated Presidente with rum, a Jungle Bird-inspired Pink Flamingo with rhum agricole, and dishes like Trini chow mein (the national dish of Trinidad) and a smoked lamb curry with puffed rice, coconut milk, and yogurt served on a fried plantain. You’ll also get some tableside explanation about the spirit, cocktails, and more.

The experience is reservations only (visit to reserve a seat via Resy) and would be a fun outing with a group of friends (buyouts are also available). There’s a bar area with five seats and five communal-style tables that seat between three and six guests each. There are two nightly seating times Mon-Thu at 6:30pm and 8:30pm. Each 90-minute seating will accommodate up to 25 guests, with a few seats available for walk-ins. Flip-Flop starts January 23rd and is running through April 20th, and then a whiskey bar will start May 1st.

Now open in SoMa is ~COIN-OP~, a 10,000-square-foot arcade bar, with vintage arcade games and craft cocktails from multiple bars (including a Tron-themed speakeasy). The space was previously Orson and The Drake, and the sfHEIMAT redesign features Super Mario and Pac-Man wallpaper in the bathrooms, a giant Lego cocktail table, and Star Wars tiki glassware. Coin-Op is also serving food to share (like pierogies, pizzas, and carbonara mac and cheese) and has 16 beers on tap and specialty ciders. Open 4pm-2am daily, kitchen until 1am. Happy hour is Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm. 508 4th St. at Bryant.

~TRICK DOG~ has launched its latest menu, per its biannual schedule, and this ninth menu is the Trick Dog Mural Project. The Bon Vivants (the cocktail consulting team behind Trick Dog) worked with 14 local artists to paint murals around SF (all sanctioned!), and the new menu highlights the works in a book format. There are 13 cocktails (one mural is by a duo, Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock), with the cocktails named after the artists. The book is for sale (you can get it at the bar or online) and will benefit two local nonprofits: Precita Eyes and Creativity Explored. Here’s a video that shows more. 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

December 20, 2016

Streamline glam outside Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: ©

This Wednesday December 21st is the shortest (and darkest) day of the year, and ~EL TECHO~ is hosting a Winter Solstice party on its (covered and heated) roof from 4pm-close (10:30 pm). There will be three $5 cocktails from El Techo/Lolinda bar manager Alvaro Rojas, including the Agua Quemada (served hot!), with black tea-infused mezcal, aged cachaça, all-spice, lemon, molasses, hot water; (no es mi) Presidente, with Haitian rum, Cognac, curaçao, French vermouth, cherry; and Ponche de Almendras, with mezcal, amaretto, cherry heering, orgeat, lime, grapefruit. All proceeds from cocktail sales (from the special cocktail menu) will be donated to La Cocina; first come, first served. 2516 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-550-6970.

This is definitely the week to enjoy holiday cocktails, and I’m happy to see that ~STOOKEY’S CLUB MODERNE~ is going to be putting together a punch bowl of Tom and Jerry cocktails around 10:30pm to 11pm or so on Christmas Eve. Come on by, but last call is at 12:30am. 895 Bush St. at Taylor.