3159 16th St.
Cross: Albion St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
APRIL 3, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO I
can often be found riding my bike, Peach One, around town. (And
no, it’s not a fixie.) Granted, I also adore my car (Peach2),
especially when I'm sporting some sassy high heels for the
evening, or when picking up bubbly from K+L, or if it's raining
out. But otherwise, the bike is the shiznit—it's often
faster than driving, good for the booty, and the world is practically
your parking lot.
I started riding in the city, I was totally intimidated about
"the rules," so
I asked my pal Spider (yes, his real name) to accompany me on
a spin so I could learn how to navigate the streets without totally
endangering my life or losing my front teeth. So it was only
fitting to go check out ~GESTALT HAUS~ with
him, a new-ish Mission outpost whose tagline is "Beer,
Brats, and Bikes."
soon as you walk in, there's a big double-decker bike
rack where you can rassle your bike into place, praying you don't
knock over anyone's De Rosa because odds are good they are
playing pool at the table in the front, and will totally shank
you. There's something to be said for going to a place where
the "one pant leg up" look is de rigueur, and everyone
has red cheeks (from the beer, or the ride?) and is schlepping
some bulky bag with all their crap in it. Mountain bikes, Bianchis,
whatever, everyone is welcome. Even pedestrians. There’s
also something to be said for liters of beer for $8. Yes, hic.
hipster beer hall from Anthony LaVia and Carl Shultz is in the
former Café La Onda space, with a pretty stripped down
ersatz German hofbrau décor: some taxidermy and deer antlers
on the black walls, wood tables with mismatched chairs, the aforementioned
pool table, and a jukebox (cool, there is some Zeppelin on there).
You can totally tell some straight guys designed the place because
the ceiling is covered with rows and rows of white Christmas lights
(doubling as a night sky?). The single bathroom, which is already
covered in graffiti, is gonna have a traffic problem with everyone
slugging down liters of beer, but oh well. Let's hope it
never goes on the fritz.
bar has 20 taps, with everything from local to some German brews,
from wheat to porter to lager. No PBR—this joint is
more about drinking some premium beer and all for the same price
(all pints are $4, half-liters are $5, liters are $8)—if
they put PBR in the mix, you know people would say they were getting
behind the bar is genuinely nice, and Murphy in particular is
a total beer evangelist, happy to give you some tastes and education
on what they're pouring before you commit to a monster liter
of anything. It would be really easy for the staff to cop some
serious 'tude, especially with all the bike mojo floating
around, but ya know, it's the exact opposite.
the brats (well, the ones you can eat). The Gestalt crew is so
dedicated to the brand they use for the pork, beef, and lamb
ones (Sonoma Sausage) that they actually drive up to the wine
country each week to get them. You'll find organic hot
links, Italian, chicken jalapeno, and a whole bunch of other
kinds. The ones we had were pretty juicy. There are also some
vegan ones so no one is left out.
setup is pretty bare bones: a soft bun from Bay Bakery, a helping
of sauerkraut, and mustard and/or ketchup. That’s
it, dude. Munich-style, so it’s muy simple. (So don’t
ask for lemon for your Hefeweizen either.) No Rosamunde-esque array
of toppings here, nor is there the open grill (Gestalt grills theirs
on a panini-maker and the vegan snausages on a George Foreman).
On the major plus side, I also don’t have to carry my brat
next door to Toronado for my beer and some crappy and totally uncalled
for beer snob bartender attitude—I don’t care how good
the beer selection is there, it’s just rude.
Don't miss the delish German potato salad ($2)—it's
served warm, and made with chicken stock and comes with little
bits of bacon in it. No mayo. Fully scrumptious.
left slightly tipsy, full, and happy to know the names of a couple
of the folks working there since I am sure I will be back. A
few fun facts: they serve food until closing (so that means late);
they have Mexican Coke (the kind in the bottle—for the other
stuff, you have to go down the street to the BART station); they
plan on opening at noon on the weekends, probably in May or so;
and if all goes well, come summer the patio in the back will be
open, with room for 20-30 folks. Also, queer ladies: there is a
ladies night on Wednesdays, with $1 off on pints or you can get
a pint and some hot sausage (the kind you like) for $6.