May 19, 2009

The Metro Bar on Market has been closed for renovations, and will be reopening as ~BLACKBIRD BAR~. The project from Shawn Vergara and Doug Murphy of Moby's and 440 will be something new for the Castro: a warm and cozy rustic-modern bar, more in the stylistic vein of Four Barrel and Rye. In another departure, Craige Walters (known for doing most Greg Bronstein locations around town) is designing the space to be more woodsy than glam. There will be smoky colors, banquettes, suspended Edison bulbs, a variety of tables and seating areas, plus a pool table and a photo booth. The front will have a painted wood façade, and windows that slide open. There will be straightforward cocktails (no mixology here), plus 12 beers on tap (craft and local beers), and 10–12 wines by the glass (quality wines that are a good value, around $10 a glass and under). The music won't be the usual Castro pop soundtrack, and will instead be an eclectic mix of electro, old school rock, and more. Vergara has been in the business for 20 years, and wants the place to be approachable. He said it may be gay-owned, but they want to be inclusive to everyone. The opening is slated for June 25th, with the grand opening in July. Look for canned beer night Wednesdays, awwww yeah. 2124 Market St. at Church, 415-503-0630.

So, it's the end of an era: Ginger's Trois has closed, and the Bourbon & Branch crew is working on their new project for the space: ~RICK HOUSE~. (A rick house is where barrels are stored for the long bourbon-aging process.) Speaking of bourbon barrels, Brian Sheehy tells me they saved 400 of them to use for décor: the barrels were broken down, and the staves were used for the railing, ceiling, and more (reportedly the place smells like a distillery, i.e. heaven). There will also be chandeliers created from the metal bands. Erick Castro (who guest bartends at Vessel in Seattle and Edison in Los Angeles) and Andrew Mitchell, both of Bourbon & Branch, will be leading the show—in fact, no one can work there who hasn't been at B&B for at least six months. No passwords, but there will be table service. The bar will highlight a strong program of innovative cocktails, handmade syrups and tonics, varieties of ice, and super-fresh ingredients. There will also be a number of wines that are hard to find by the glass, including many boutique California wines from Cask, and the type of license they have means they can sell wine to go. Susan Lewis of Cask will also be leading a weekly event at the back bar with guest winemakers. There will be some local California beers on tap, and French champers. The timing is a little iffy—they're waiting on the landlord to finish some retrofitting and sidewalk repairs, so it looks like it will be a couple months out. 246 Kearny St. at Sutter.