The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
June 13, 2017
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The future home of The Snug. Photo courtesy of Josh Spiegelman.

Pacific Heights is gaining a new bar and hangout, ~THE SNUG~, opening in the former Mehfil space (but it will always be the Alta Plaza in my heart, RIP). Owners Zack Schwab and Shane Matthews have a strong craft beer background (Mikkeller and Monk’s Kettle), and are partnering with chef Brian Shin (Alinea, Corton, Benu, In Situ) and Jacob Racusin (recently head of the bar program at The Alembic). So basically it’s going to have a rocking beer selection (20 taps), craft cocktails with seasonal and housemade components, and inventive takes on classic bar food. Other highlights: there will be a cask engine serving real ale and a selection of bottled beers focused around sours, stouts, and strong ales. Local ciders and wines will also be available on draft, plus a cellar of rare and vintage bottles.

As for the name, it’s inspired by all the cozy nooks (snugs) in the room, which will have a living room vibe. Britt Hull of Tide Design Co. is behind the interior and graphic design. Hours will be Sun-Thu 4pm-12am and until 2am Fri-Sat. Brunch and outdoor seating are also in the works. Look for an opening this fall. 2301 Fillmore St.

There’s finally an update on what Phil and Cameron West’s plans are for the former Range, which closed last year. They’re going to be opening ~THE BEEHIVE~ with Arnold Eric Wong, Steve Werney, and Carlos Yturria, who are Phil West’s partners in The Treasury downtown. Eater reports it’s going to be a 1960s themed bar, with some ’60s food like fondue. Of course, the cocktails will also have some vintage references. The former dining room is going to be converted into a second lounge and bar. Stand by for an opening in late summer. 842 Valencia St. at 19th St.

May 16, 2017
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Lucky 13, long may she reign. Photo from Facebook.

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Negroni Week returns June 3rd-12th.

Some booze news for you, starting with the unfortunate update that it looks like ~LUCKY 13~ is going to be replaced with condos after all. Ugh, that location has a lot of history! No word yet on timing, but here’s the paperwork on Hoodline. 2140 Market St. at 14th St., 415-487-1313.

Some good news: up the street, music has already returned to ~CAFE DU NORD~—Noise Pop is working with owner Dylan MacNiven and already filling up the calendar. SFist reports they are also making some changes inside and removing the wall that separated the private Viking Room from the main space. Drinks and bites will be available as well. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez.

Prepare thy liver: Negroni Week returns June 3rd-12th, courtesy of Campari and Imbibe Magazine, and dang, I am sorry to miss it. (I doubt I will find a bar serving Negronis in Koh Tao, but I sure as hell will try!) Now in its fifth year, the weeklong international charity initiative mean bars, restaurants, and vendors from around the world will be promoting their spin on the classic Negroni cocktail, all while raising money and awareness for great causes.

Some new things this year: participating businesses (you can still register through June 1st!) can now choose from a curated list of 42 charities, including many of the most popular charities from the last two years. There is also an up-front donation (recommended $100, minimum of $25) made directly through the Negroni Week website—the goal is a stronger impact for participating charities and benefiting them as much as possible. Participants can contribute additional funds that they’ve raised throughout the week at any time during Negroni Week on the website. Campari will be donating $10,000 to the U.S. charity that receives the top donation amount, and $1,500 to each U.S. charity participating in Negroni Week. Amazing.

Specials and fun treats will be coming to the city, and there’s even a Campari-branded red bicycle from PUBLIC, a Negroni-red Baggu tote, among other items, with various levels of proceeds donated to charity. Look for many upcoming events—like Locanda opening on a Tuesday night for a Negroni Lab, on Tuesday June 6th; stay up to date by following @CampariUSA and @Imbibe on Instagram and rocking the #NegroniWeek hashtag.

There’s also the third annual Team Negroni Bike Ride rolling through multiple cities and led by The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. Bartenders and spirits aficionados will be riding 40 miles in each of the various cities, including Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Santa Fe, and San Francisco (on June 5th). You can join the charity rides to benefit the Helen David Relief Fund and support its mission to assist women in the bar industry who are fighting breast cancer. All riders who raise $250 or more will receive a Team Negroni cycling uniform. More here.

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A sampling of spring dishes and wine at Cultivar. Instagram photo by @cultivar_sf.

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Sons & Daughters. Photo courtesy of S&D.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned there was a new wine bar coming to Chestnut Street, ~CULTIVAR~, and it’s now open. You can read more in my original post, but expect small-batch wines, seasonal small plates, and 36 seats. Open Wed-Sun 3pm-11pm. 2379 Chestnut St. at Divisadero, 415-962-4200.

I also mentioned that London Market had morphed into ~MAISON CORBEAUX AT LONDON MARKET~, a wine and spirits shop from Kyle Nadeau, who reportedly worked at D&M Liquors on Fillmore for nearly a decade. It also ends up Maison Corbeaux Fine Wines & Spirits has changed its name from The Bank of Wine & Spirits and moved from its FiDi location on the ground floor of Wingtip—the last day in that location is May 19th. Swing by for the opportunity to “rob the bank” with a 15 percent discount on all in-store purchases at 550 Montgomery Street. Meanwhile, Maison Corbeaux at London Market is open daily 11am-7pm, with a vast selection of wines, beers, spirits, and more. A deli and coffee stand are in the works, plus a tasting bar. 2901 Sacramento St. at Divisadero.

One last bit of news: if you come by ~SONS & DAUGHTERS~, now exclusively under the ownership of chef Teague Moriarty, you’ll see a new wine director, Amy Currens. She was previously a Champagne specialist with Moët Hennessy and also served as wine and beverage director at Farmshop in Marin and wine director at Prospect. Moriarty just rolled out a new nine-course menu ($150), and you can rest assured her pairings ($89) are going to rock (with selections off her newly expanded list).

May 9, 2017
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Cheers to all of this. Instagram photo via @gingerssf.

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A sneak peek at the tables (from a few weeks ago). Instagram photo via @gingerssf.

Wow, this is something I did not see coming. ~GINGER’S TROIS~ is back (does that make it Ginger’s Quatre?)! When I worked on Maiden Lane in the ’90s, I used to drink with the downtown hairdressers and the gays who worked with me at our ad agency at this quirky little dive bar on Kearny, with its strong dranks, funky little sunken bar, and parasols galore. It was a total campy hideaway. Future Bars bought and took over Ginger’s in 2008, and then opened Rickhouse in the location, and that was pretty much it for any more divey gay bars in the downtown area. Until now.

Bartender Michael Sedlacek has been with Future Bars for the past few years, and he was a little obsessed with the old Ginger’s sign in storage. He said people who haven’t been to the city in a long time would come by and ask where Ginger’s went, and even though he never went to the bar, he had an interest in it. So when Future Bars asked the team what they should do to convert the underutilized event space downstairs (Keeper’s Share), he pitched them on reopening Ginger’s. So that’s what we’ve got: a queer bar has returned to the FiDi, and almost everyone on staff is LGBT (except one person).

The cocktail menu pays homage to defunct SF gay bars, like Esta Noche and the Lexington (RIP!), and the drinks are approachable and just $9. Here’s hoping they bring the boozy cherries back. (Maybe not. LOL.) There are two wells at the bar and about 8-9 tables, plus some lounge seating and a pool table. You enter the bar on Hardie (yay, an alley entrance)—it’s actually the delivery entrance for their commissary, also downstairs. Doors open at 5pm Thu-Sat (will expand soon), until close. 86 Hardie Pl. at Kearny. [H/t to Eater for the great news.]

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The bar at Bar Agricole. Photo: Colin Price.

Your tolerance level is about to get a workout, so let’s dive in.

This coming Monday May 15th, ~BAR AGRICOLE~ is hosting their annual rum celebration, Agricolextravaganza. There will be tastes from special and rare Caribbean bottles, classic rum cocktails, and Afro-Caribbean snacks like ropa vieja empanadas and maduros (which is a sneak peek at the upcoming Obispo menu). You can also hang out and talk rum with Edward Hamilton, who knows a lot about the finest rums in the world and will be bringing some surprises. $55. 6pm-9pm.

Come by ~SCHROEDER’S~ on Saturdays for Hofbrauhaus Saturday, which is kind of like an Oktoberfest party, set to a David Hasselhoff and polka soundtrack (we’ll see how long that lasts until the staff goes crazy) and all staff will be dressed in a traditional hofbrau look. There’s a family-style menu for $29/person that includes starters (Little Gem salad, pretzel knots), bratwurst, and sides (kartoffel tots, sauerkraut, fried spaetzle, and braised red cabbage), but the entire table needs to order it. Your crew also needs to participate in the bottomless beer deal in order to get it: for an additional $29/person, your entire table can enjoy a 1 1/2-hour bottomless beer deal. You can try as many beers as you’d like from a selection of 11 of their taps, including Hofbrau Original Helles, Fort Point KSA, and Headlands Hawk Hill Hefeweizen. And anyone celebrating their birthday at Hofbrauhaus Saturday will receive a .5L of beer and a commemorative hofbrau stein to take home. Prost! 240 Front St. at Sacramento, 415-421-4778.

Beer lovers will like to know that during the month of May, you can come by ~THE RAMEN BAR~ and your first beer is just $0.25 with the purchase of an entrée after 4pm Mon-Fri. Limited to one per person, the special applies to all bottled beer and draft labels. 101 California St. at Davis, 415-684-1570.

Paul Einbund of ~THE MORRIS~ is launching a new monthly Cellar Series, and of course he’s kicking it off on Saturday May 20th with Chartreuse & Chartreuse Cocktails. As you may know, he has a deep collection and a lot to tell you about it. This workshop will be on Chartreuse and how to integrate the liqueur in cocktails. Check out future events on the site! Tickets are $75 per class, or all four classes for $275. Email to reserve. 

May 2, 2017
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The Cheshire Cat by Kate Bolton for the Mavericks menu at Lord George. Photo: Allison Webber.

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The Lord’s Platter at Lord George. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The Queen of Hearts by Kate Bolton for the Mavericks menu at Lord George. Photo: Allison Webber.

I know I’m not the only one missing Kate Bolton’s smiling face behind the bar at Maven as she makes you a killer cocktail (Portland, you are lucky to have her!). But there’s a second best solution happening right now at ~LORD GEORGE~ in South Park, and it’s her Alice in Wonderland-themed cocktail menu for owners Miles Palliser and Ezra Berman’s Mavericks series (their new seasonal guest bartender series). The cocktails are creative, delicious, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be sitting at Mike Zengle’s station, who will fill you in on as much as you’d like on what you’re drinking and how your cocktail was made.

I recommend starting with the Through the Looking Glass (fino sherry, amontillado sherry, dry vermouth, blanc vermouth, with housemade lavender and orange bitters), a perfect pairing with their well-shucked oysters on the half shell. You can always pony up for the Lord’s Platter, which will make everyone around you say, “Oh my Lord!” You get a three-tiered platter styled with 24 oysters, 12 Gulf prawns, and a silky tuna tartare (which is more like a tasty poke), $119. Get a group together (or just a few of you) and do it up.

The White Rabbit is another beauty to start with (Lillet blanc, yellow Chartreuse, sherry, mint, lime, egg white), and I say pair it with chef Nick Adams’s foie gras torchon. The Dee & Dum is like a mojito, with dueling rums (overproof Jamaican and Guatemalan rums), velvet falernum, grilled strawberry syrup, shaken with basil, and lime, with a torched orange. You’ll chuckle when you see the Drink Me (a “wee” bottled serving of whiskey, cherry, absinthe, and bitters), and the cherry is a reference to the cherry tart mentioned in the movie.

It’s a really well-thought-out menu, and mighty tasty. There are 11 drinks in all, and the bar will donate 50 cents of every Maverick cocktail sold to the guest bartender’s charity of choice. Sweet! Kate’s menu runs through June 30th, so don’t be late, for a very important date! 555 2nd St. at South Park, 415-660-7633. 

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Blood and Sour Fizz, paired with agedashi celery root. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.

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Seaweed and avocado salad. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.

Prepare thy livers, the next wave of Over Proof at ~ABV~ is starting, Double Back, and it’s going to focus on whiskey! As you may recall, ABV is rotating different concepts each quarter. For Double Back, guests will be sipping whiskeys of the world (from Scotland, Japan, and the U.S.), both straight up and in cocktails, with snacks paired to boot. The look is meant to evoke a saloon-type whisky bar in Tokyo, and chef Colin will be preparing a menu with some Japanese influences.

Double Back runs May 3rd-July 28th. Seatings will be 7pm on Wednesday and 7pm and 9pm Thu, Fri, and Sat. $60 plus tax and tip, and tickets can be found here