The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
September 19, 2017

Good times at a past Top 100 event. Photo courtesy of Wine & Spirits.

I’m so happy to actually be in town this year for the 14th annual Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 Tasting Event, always a fabulous tasting and event. On Tuesday October 10th, you’ll get to taste and celebrate the Top 100 Wineries of the Year. You’ll not only get to taste some of the world’s most sought-after wines from around the world, but there are some delicious bites from new and notable restaurants as well (this year includes Bellota, Uma Casa, The Saratoga, and more), and an oyster bar, cheeses, and other tasty things. It usually is quite the party on the terrace at the Metreon. Come on, Indian summer.

6:30pm-8:30pm. Tickets are $125; VIP: $185. For the 14th year, the event benefits San Francisco Baykeeper, a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect, preserve, and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the San Francisco Bay. Metreon, 135 4th St. at Mission.

September 12, 2017

Get ready for A Midsummer Night’s Cream at Mission Cheese. Photo courtesy of Mission Cheese.

I have a bunch of excuses and fine reasons for you to get on out there and enjoy some adult beverages. First, on Monday September 18th, ~MISSION CHEESE~ is hosting A Midsummer Night’s Cream, a celebration of bubbles (from brut to pét-nat to a cider-wine blend) paired with creamy cheeses. I can’t think of a better way to start the week. $39. 6pm-9pm. 736 Valencia St. at 18th St.

And then coming up on Wednesday September 20th is a Whiskey Wednesday night at the ~ANCHOR DISTILLING~ Tasting Room, up in the penthouse with head distiller Bruce Joseph. You’ll get to enjoy a vertical flight (six tastings!) of expressions of their Old Potrero Rye—yeah, the good stuff. Tickets are $75. 6pm. 1705 Mariposa St. at De Haro.

Another fun thing to do on Wednesdays is the new Aperitivo Hour, every Wednesday from 5pm-7pm, at the recenly updated ~THE MATRIX SF~. You get $8 cocktails and $5 skewers, and with The PlumpJack Group’s Jacques Bezuidenhout and Ken Luciano behind the bar, you know those cocktails will rock.

They also just launched The Concorde in the back, a pop-up bar that will change its theme quarterly (like ABV’s Over Proof)—it’s currently an homage to classic London hotel bars with craft cocktails served tableside and bites like tea sandwiches and cheese and charcuterie plates. The Concorde is open Thu-Sat starting at 8pm. 3138 Fillmore St. at Greenwich.

This Friday September 15th, ~SCHROEDER’S~ is kicking off Oktoberfest by hosting an outdoor Bavarian beer hall on Front Street from 3pm-8pm. There will be music, polka dancing, beer, and food, you name it—free admission! Tokens can be purchased ahead of time for discounted beer and food on Eventbrite, at Schroeders’ Host Stand, or by emailing. For every $100 in prepurchased tokens, guests will receive an exclusive hofbrau boot to drink from during the festivities. The party will move inside at 8pm with a DJ. Come by for the next five consecutive Saturdays from 6pm-9pm for classic Oktoberfest specialties (bratwurst and pretzels) accompanied by live music. 240 Front St. at Sacramento.

August 29, 2017

The former Jack’s Club. Photo via Google Street View.


A look at the current renovation into Junior. Photo via @juniorbarsf.

The divey ~JACK’S CLUB~ on 24th Street has been dark since 2013, and now some SF bar folks are going to be opening ~JUNIOR~ in the space. The team is Matty Conway, Anthony Healy-London, and Josh McAdam (Brass Tacks) joining up with David Ruiz (most recently the bar manager at Padrecito).

They are designing it to be a neighborhood spot, with something for everyone at all price points—but it will be cocktail driven. Ruiz is going to be curating a broad and heavy selection of spirits—it’s a spacious bar, and there is going to be a substantial back bar.

Sayre Ziskin, who designed Brass Tacks and Anina, is going to do the design here as well—it’s shaping up to be a beaut (they are installing large 12-foot windows, and it’s a sunny corner, nice). They also hope to be able to keep the vintage Jack’s signs outside. You can keep track of the progress at @juniorbarsf.

And for those who remember some Cajun food at Jack’s, there will be no food here—you’ll just need to drink your dinner. Heh. I’ll keep you updated, but it looks like late October/early November for the opening. 2545 24th St. at Utah.


The hand paella course at Este Oeste. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.


The room at Over Proof’s Este Oeste. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.

It’s time for ~ABV~’s third concept to launch in Over Proof, their rotating mezzanine bar and experience. This time we’re going to Spain for Este Oeste (“East West”). The name refers to the prevailing winds of southern Spain that affect the aging of sherry wines—which will be a big feature on the menu, as well as gin. Chef Collin Hilton has prepared a five-course menu to pair with the cocktails, with dishes like house-cured sardines and ham, plus a blistered pepper and melon gazpacho. The menu and the sunny space will give us that last taste of summer and a little beso from Europe for those of us who couldn’t make it over there for a Mediterranean jaunt. Two seatings Thu-Sat 6:30pm and 9pm; $75 plus tax and 20 percent gratuity. Reservations. It runs until October 28th. 3174 16th St. at Guerrero.

On Sunday September 3rd, ~THE DOUGLAS ROOM~ is kicking off their Indian Summer Series, with Aperol spritzes, rosé, brunch bites, and more on the rooftop of the Tilden Hotel. 12pm-5pm. Tickets are $50.

A couple of other things to note: on Wednesday September 13th, ~LOCANDA~ will be hosting Amara Amaro’s Giuseppe Librizzi for a special aperitivo from 5:30pm-7pm, with Amara-inspired snacks, Amara cocktails, and the producer himself! 

And psssst, take a look at this post on Alcademics about the latest cocktail menu at downtown’s ~PCH~, which features a really fun secret menu.


InnerFog is now Hamilton Fog, where almost everything is now $10 and under. Photo via Facebook.

An update for you on the Inner Sunset’s ~INNERFOG~ wine bar, which has rebranded and reconcepted itself as ~HAMILTON FOG~. Owner John Nettesheim has priced everything on the menu at one Hamilton ($10 bill) per item or less (with the exception of wine bottles, of course).

Chefs Rose Bobrick and Zack Leal are using locally sourced and organic ingredients when possible for their home-style and seasonal cooking. They are also now open for lunch, where you’ll find a menu of sandwiches (on housemade bread) and salads, and California tapas for dinner. There’s the Hamilton Fog (a hot-pressed, slow-cooked pork sandwich with manchego cheese, chimichurri, and spicy mustard aioli), and for dinner, zanahoria con queso (rainbow carrots, chipotle aioli, chimichurri, cotija cheese). All of these food items, plus wines by the glass and large beers, are $10 each…tax included. 

They will also be doing a wine class on the first Saturday of every month from 12pm-2pm, starting October 7th with sommelier Cosmin. Open Mon-Sat 11am-10pm and Sun 11am-9pm. 545 Irving St. at 7th Ave., 415-682-4116.

August 22, 2017

You will definitely see some umbrella drinks at the California Rum Festival. Photo via Facebook.

September has a couple boozy events for you, starting with the third annual California Rum Fest on September 8th-9th at SOMArts Cultural Center. There will be more than 40 premium rum brand expressions featured from around the world. The two-day event includes an industry session and consumer grand tasting, and a Rum Bazaar on day two, with tropical rum cocktails created by some of SF’s best bartenders, items for sale, and more.

September 8th consumer grand tasting ticket: $70 (includes complimentary pass to the Rum Bazaar); 5pm-9pm. September 9th Rum Bazaar: $5 general admission, cocktails at an additional cost; 12pm-5pm. The event benefits the Operation Helping People (O.H.P.) Foundation, a group focused on youth mentoring in the Bay Area.

On Sunday September 10th, ~THE DORIAN~ is hosting a Gone With The Whiskey Whiskey Fest. There will be a pig roast and some rare and exotic whiskies to taste (yes, including a range of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons). Tickets range from $55-$75. 3pm-7pm. 2001 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-814-2671.

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.