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This week's tablehopper: June boom.

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A tasting of the creative low-proof cocktails at Nico. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy! You fired up for another week of World Cup? On Saturday I had a blast watching Italy play with the sea of Italians and Italian-Americans at Il Casaro in North Beach—they’ll be open this Friday for the morning game, serving bomboloni, cornetti, and cappuccinos at 9am. See you there? I have added some more places where you can watch the games here.

This week is also Sherryfest, with some really special dinners with sherry producers at locations around the city, like Central Kitchen, Trou Normand, Bar Agricole, and St. Vincent. Sherry lovers, don’t miss it.

This coming Sunday June 22nd is CUESA’s Summer Celebration, with a fab lineup of chefs, bartenders, distilleries, breweries, and wineries. You know they will all be celebrating our summertime bounty o’ produce. And yay, tablehopper readers get a $20 discount on tickets. Check it out!

See you Friday, enjoy your week!
Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Jun 17, 2014

A First Look at Marla Bakery, Opening Friday

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The main room at Marla Bakery. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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A closer look at the Marla 2000. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Halibut and clams in a daikon-kimchi broth at a test dinner. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Dessert time. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Baguettes. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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A peek at the in-progress back patio. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

If the inspection gods are pleased this week, Amy Brown and Joe Wolf will be opening their long-awaited ~MARLA BAKERY~ location in the Outer Richmond, possibly this Thursday June 19th [UPDATE: they are opening Friday June 20th!]. It’s much more than just a bakery, however: they will be serving a variety of meals, eventually ramping up completely to offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch.

We got a look at the lovely space a few weeks ago at a preview party, which is centered around a spectacular double-deck wood-fired oven custom made for them by Jeremiah Church (Wandrian Ovens) in Burlington, Vermont—if you look closely, you’ll see the label that proclaims it’s the Marla 2000, cute. There are 26 seats inside, with tables that were handmade by Amy’s father, and her brother is behind the artwork on the walls. You’ll notice other crafty details, like the wood cabinetry, the pottery, and custom chandelier near the entrance. The back contains a garden area and patio designed by Paxton Gate. There are fruit trees and an herb garden, and they will be adding additional seating shortly. I am going to be scheduling lots of meetings there, I have a feeling. It’s totally “destination-worthy.”

The duo have come a long way—they met while they were both working at Nopa, and partnered up for a number of pop-ups and a stand at farmers’ markets, and then opened their takeout window at their kitchen on York Street, The Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal. The Outer Richmond location is obviously their dream project, one built with a lot of heart and soul.

In case you’re wondering who Marla was, it’s actually a composite of many beloved family members’ initials who inspired and informed their cooking and baking. You can thank all of them as you take a bite of delicious morning pastries, like tart cherry and lemon scones, croissants laminated with Straus butter and candied orange pain au chocolat, and for you savory types, there’s farmer’s cheese and green onion turnovers. Is your 4pm “I want something sweet” bell going off? There will be gâteau Basque with candied apricots and Mexican coffee pot de crème to sate you. And there will be plenty of house-baked breads for you to enjoy on premise or to bring home, like whole-wheat levain, ciabatta, and baguettes.

Once the hours expand to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch, you’re going to have a lot of hard decisions to make, because these dishes are made by people who just “get” good food. The hearth is going to be put to work, and many ingredients are housemade, from cheeses to charcuterie, and of course local/organic/seasonal is in heavy play here.

Breakfast will include their famed bagels (gawd they’re good) with housemade cream cheese and lox, and baked eggs with reduced thyme cream, roasted leeks, sugar snap peas, and Gruyère. Lunch (preview menu here) goes beyond the usual, with dishes like ale-steamed mussels, but there’s also a selection of sandwiches, like roasted tri-tip with horseradish aioli, crispy shallot rings, and jus on a bolillo. Dinner (opening menu here) will bring a roasted beet salad with preserved Lisbon lemon vinaigrette, and cumin-Aleppo labneh, and fried rabbit with potato purée, pickled carrot, and jus.

Brunch is also bonkers, with migas with levain and ciabatta, Spanish sausage, roasted padrón pepper, and fried egg, and there’s also a butcher man’s breakfast (black bread pudding, poached egg, Bull’s Blood beet relish) and the baker woman’s breakfast (levain, pickled cherries, house-smoked ham, sweet and sour apricot chutney, and mustardy cheese). Check out the opening menu here.

I had a chance to speak with Chris Deegan (also previously at Nopa), about the wine, beer, sherry, and vermouth list he has put together. He is very passionate about people discovering the pleasure of drinking vermouth on the rocks, so you’ll find a couple of selections, and any longtime tablehopper reader knows how passionate he is about sherry. The wine list will feature 30-50 bottles, ranging from $30-$65, with four whites and four reds by the glass, and a sparkler. He wants to keep the by-the-glass pricing at $7-$11, he’s tired of not seeing many choices below $12 these days (amen). There will also be a little reserve list on a chalkboard, with extremely well-priced one-offs—basically expensive wines being sold at retail pricing—so check that out.

Since the idea is to encourage people to come by during the day to enjoy the patio (it’s totally a little oasis where you can kick back with your adult beverage and something tasty to eat), there will be a number of low-alcohol choices, including some ciders. As for beer, there are two on tap (Moonlight’s Death and Taxes, and a sour from Almanac), plus six to eight bottles ranging from a light, fresh pilsner to IPAs to saisons; look for some special bottle-aged picks (i.e., more spendy ones) at $20-30.

When the opening happens this Friday, for the first week, there will be café hours (please see below) Friday-Sunday serving pastries, bread, desserts, light breakfast fare (bagels, quiche), and coffee. Next week (starting Tuesday June 24th), they will add full-service breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Sunday, and Sunday supper on Sunday June 29th. In the third week, starting Tuesday July 1st, regular service will be in full effect, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch.

Café hours: Tue-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 8am-5:30pm. Breakfast 8:30am-10:30am, lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, dinner Thu-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm and Sun 6pm-9:30pm (single seating/family style), brunch Sat-Sun 10:30am-3pm. (FYI, Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal will remain open daily, Mon-Fri 8am-3pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm.) 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.

Update on Causwells, Opening Wednesday July 2nd

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Deviled eggs. Photo: Hardy Wilson.

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Doughnut. Crack. Bread. Pudding. Photo: Hardy Wilson.

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Alvin Garcia and Tom Patella. Photo: Antonio Velez.

We have been tracking the upcoming ~CAUSWELLS~ over here since its inception, and now we have some solid news to report: the opening is slated for Wednesday July 2nd! To recap, biz partners Alvin Garcia and Tom Patella have brought on chef Adam Rosenblum (previously a sous at Flour + Water), who will be serving a menu of “eclectic American cuisine with European influences.” Sample menu items include deviled eggs with smoked trout; a kale Caesar; grilled octopus with garbanzos, fennel, watercress, and chile; and smoked brisket with onion jam, rye crumbles, and spicy mustard. There will also be a number of housemade items, from the ricotta cheese to cultured butter to salumi. For dessert, get ready for this one: they’re making doughnut “crack” bread pudding, using doughnuts from Marina shop Allstar Donuts. Whoa.

With wine director Tom Patella (previously California Wine Merchant) overseeing the list, expect a lot of attention to be paid to the selections (and there will be plenty of snacks to go along with them). There will be 20 wines by the glass, featuring small-production, family-owned, and good value wines, with primarily Cali wines, plus some quality European bottles. Bartender Erin Vogel, who is studying for her cicerone certification, will be selecting an esoteric craft beer list, and will be looking for the best representations of beer varieties.

The 1930s Deco space (previously Bechelli’s) is being designed by the Bon Vivants Design+Build (they also did Trick Dog, Shakewell, the new Chubby Noodle), and will keep some vintage details, including repurposing the old cast-iron barstools.

The team just launched a Kickstarter to raise money to get the outdoor area all set up, with four four-tops (that would be 16 seats) and heaters installed. Help ‘em out? It’ll make for a much more comfortable SF summer out there. Bonus: they’ll be open nightly (starting at 5pm) and serving food until 1am. Lunch (11am-2:30pm) and weekend brunch (9am-2:30pm) will begin two weeks after opening. 2346 Chestnut St. at Divisadero, 415-447-6081.

And Now Let's Look at the Belcampo Meat Company Restaurant, Now Open

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The distinctive custom leather banquettes at Belcampo. Photo via Belcampo’s Facebook page.

Last week we got to check out the new ~BELCAMPO MEAT COMPANY~ in Russian Hill at an opening party. The corner space is a looker: walk under the large bronze steer head at the entrance and you’ll note the extremely tall ceilings (and tall wood wainscoting and windows to match), a gleaming meat counter, tiled floors, and cobalt blue leather banquettes made from their own steer hides (the leather was tanned at Horween Leather in Chicago, one of the last American tanneries). We wrote about the old-fashioned butcher counter last week, so now let’s focus on the 34-seat restaurant, which is serving dinner 5:30pm-10pm nightly.

Chef Chris Gerwig (formerly of A16 and New York’s Pulino’s) has put together a menu that includes steak tartare, duck and chicken giblet skewers, a burger, flatiron steak, fried guinea hen, braised lamb belly and neck, and don’t worry, there are some vegetable dishes too. Belcampo CEO Anya Fernald says, “We’re especially excited about the restaurant menu we’ve created for San Francisco, featuring adventurous cuts of meat and fun, family-style dishes.”

One thing to note: it’s BYOB right now; their beer and wine license will be coming in about another week or so. Brunch and lunch will also kick in soon. 1998 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-660 5573.

The Fine & Rare Folks Are Coming to Mid-Market

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Fine & Rare’s BLTC: bacon, lettuce, tomato, and crab on brioche. Photo via Facebook.

There’s yet another project coming to Mid-Market, this time in the former Hollywood Billiards space. The building is being razed and an apartment building is going in its place, and according to liquor license activity there’s going to be a food situation on the ground floor.

The people named on the license are Scott Peterson and Ted Wilson of the Fine & Rare seafood and wine project. We heard a rumor that it will function as a food court. We’ll fill you in once we hear back from them on their actual plans. [UPDATE: We heard back from Ted Wilson of Fine & Rare and they confirmed that the project is happening and will consist of several local food purveyors, along with a retail component.] In the meantime, you can catch them at the Sunday Picnic at Off the Grid with their selection of crab rolls, po’boys, and other sustainable seafood dishes. 1028 Market St. at 6th St.

Chic New Samovar Open on Valencia, Offering a New Kind of Experience with Tea

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The contemporary tea bar at Samovar. Photo: James Chiang.

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The tea brewing “crucibles” at Samovar. Photo: James Chiang.

Last week I went to check out the brand-new ~SAMOVAR~ location on Valencia, and it’s a cool experience. I wrote about Samovar founder Jesse Jacobs’ third-wave tea vision for this concept back in November, but to go over it again, he is basically trying to take tea to the next level. The tea brewing “crucible” machines will remind you a bit of the siphon bar experience at Blue Bottle Coffee—it’s fascinating to watch.

There will be a limited selection of top-notch teas available (wait until you try the Green Ecstasy, a blend of matcha and sencha, it’s revelatory), and while they have a beautiful custom ceramic teacup they designed with Atelier Dion you can sit and sip from, they have really designed the experience to be good for people on the go. A cup is $3-$5, and there is also a beautifully spiced masala chai that will be ladled from copper urns. Seasonal cold-brewed iced teas and matcha shots (and shakes) will be available, as well as freshly baked scones (savory and sweet).

The space, designed by Arcanum Architecture, has a natural modern look that is also very Zen in its simplicity. There are lots of great textures and surfaces, from natural stone to concrete elements by Concreteworks. Hours are 7am-7pm. 411 Valencia St. at 15th St., 415-553-6887.

Chef Shuffles at Izakaya Yuzuki and Sabrosa

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Hot sake service; photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

Last week we received a note from owner Yuko Hayashi of ~IZAKAYA YUZUKI~ that their talented chef Takashi Saito is going to be taking a break from the kitchen; his last night was Saturday. His replacement is Kentaro Ikuta, whose parents had a restaurant in Osaka, where he was born. His cooking experience includes the 200-year-old Nada-man restaurant, and as executive chef at several Kappo and Japanese eateries in Osaka. Stateside, he has worked at Fuki Sushi (Palo Alto) and Sushi Sam’s Edomata in San Mateo. Ikuta observed during the transition, and his new menu will start developing in time.

Meanwhile, over at ~SABROSA~ in the Marina, chef Jose Ramos has left—Jose Lopez, with whom he has reportedly been co-cheffing with, will take over. Scoop reports Ramos has returned to ~NIDO~ in Oakland, acting as co-chef with owner Silvia McCollow, although he is on the hunt for his own location.

Openings: Mae Krua Thai, Big Change at Liberty Café, Anar

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The newly opened Anar. Yelp photo by Helia M.

The ~331 CORTLAND MARKETPLACE~ is getting a new Thai kiosk, Bernalwood reports. It’s called ~MAE KRUA~ and is a labor of love from Anucha Kongthavorn, who grew up in Thailand and learned to cook from his grandmother. Bernalwood has a lot of background on Kongthavorn, as well as a menu. He’ll be serving home-style snacks, like rice balls stuffed with cheese and served with salad, or a coconut bean soup. 331 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415-574-7334.

More news on Bernal Hill: looks like ~THE LIBERTY CAFÉ~ has closed after a change in ownership and chef. Owner Vega Freeman-Brady will remain, but is introducing a new concept focused on beer and burgers, according to Scoop. After closing up last Sunday, it will be reopening this Thursday June 19th, with a new name, menu, and concept. 410 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415-695-8777.

The former Mochica space in SoMa is now open as ~ANAR RESTAURANT~, a Persian restaurant. Early Yelp reports are positive, with shout-outs for the quality of the meats and friendliness of the staff. The rice pudding also earns high marks. 937A Harrison St. at 5th St., 415-543-2627.

Tidbits: Presidio Pizza Delivery, Brunch and Patio at Fable, Earlier Hours at Sparrow, Setting a Record at Tony's

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Slices from Presidio Pizza Company. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, this is dangerous and delicious news, indeed. Apparently, ~PRESIDIO PIZZA COMPANY~ is now offering delivery, according to their Facebook page. It’s via bike, so only about a one-mile radius from their shop, and costs $6. 1862 Divisadero St. at Pine, 415-409-6672.

Brunch is fabulous, and brunch on a sunny patio is even better. ~FABLE~ is now offering both, with a menu of seasonal brunch dishes like eggs Benedict, smoked salmon with kohlrabi slaw and mascarpone, and the hopper new “gotta eat that NOW” obsession, a soft-shell crab BLT. Brunch is served 11am-2:30pm Sat-Sun. 558 Castro St. at 19th St., 415-590-2404.

After sadly closing last fall after the death of the owner, it looks like ~BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S~ in Portola might be getting ready to reopen. Yelpers have spotted a sign saying they’ll be reopening, and a Twitter tipster let us know that a contractor reported they’ll be open in 45 days with the same beloved menu. 2499 San Bruno Ave. at Thornton.

Haight Street’s ~SPARROW~ is now opening at 11am Tue-Fri to accommodate those early shoppers (or wake-and-bakers). 1640 Haight St. at Clayton, 415-622-6137.

On Saturday June 28th, Tony Gemignani will be hosting more than 300 children and families at ~TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ (and outside) from 8:30am-10:30am in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people simultaneously tossing pizza dough. It’s free to attend, but if you’d like to toss some dough, register here. It’s $15 for kids and $20 for adults, and includes a T-shirt, a slice of pizza, a raffle ticket, and dough for tossing. The event is a fundraiser for Family House, a local organization committed to providing free, temporary housing for families traveling to San Francisco for their child’s health care treatment. The event will take place on the entire block of Stockton Street between Green and Union.

Tony's Pizza Napoletana - 1570 Stockton St. San Francisco - 415-835-9888

A Meaty Book Party with 4505

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Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats has another cookbook out, called Sausage Making: The Definitive Guide with Recipes. On Wednesday June 25th from 5pm-8pm he’ll be throwing a party with fellow author and butcher Tom Mylan of Brooklyn’s Meat Hook, whose new book The Meat Hook Meat Book was also recently released. The pair will be at ~BLOODHOUND~, serving barbecue platters, giving butchery demonstrations, and (literally) showing how sausage is made. Tickets are $50 for a single ticket, including a cocktail, plate of food, and a copy of either book, or $75 for admission for two. 1145 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-863-2840.

Also worth noting: Tom Mylan (The Meat Hook) and Steven Raichlen (author of the best-selling The Barbecue Bible) will be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ on Friday June 27th from 6:30pm-7:30pm to talk about butchering and grilling meats. Free!

Yoga and Meals on the Farm with Wildsoul

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A day of yoga and food with Wildsoul. Photo from Facebook.

Have you heard of Wildsoul? It’s a very cool, very Northern California group that puts on special yoga and meal events on local farms. They host farm meals in various locations, preceded by a yoga class and farm tour, often with themes that connect the yoga with food and beverages.

The next one is a Summer Solstice Dinner on Saturday June 21st at 3:30pm at Urban Adamah farm in Berkeley. Tickets are $95 for yoga, tour, and dinner, $65 for just dinner, and $45 with a work-trade arrangement. Then, on Saturday July 26th, check out a Summer Blueberry Lunch at True Grass Farms in Valley Ford, starting at 10:30am. Lunch only is $85, or $115 for yoga, tour, and lunch. New events and details are all on their website; locations and times vary.

Tasty 510 News: Perdition Smokehouse, Shakewell

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Interior seating at Perdition Smokehouse. Photo courtesy of Perdition Smokehouse.

~PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE~ is getting ready to open on Friday June 20th in Berkeley. As previously mentioned, the project comes from Chuck Stilphen, of the Trappist and Mikkeller Bar, and chef Michael O’Brien. In addition to 43 rotating domestic craft beers on tap, you’ll find a classic barbecue menu focused on dry-rubbed meats. There’s brisket, pork shoulder, hot links, and ribs, as well as sides like macaroni and cheese, collards, and coleslaw. For seating, there are 80 seats inside, with an additional 50 at picnic tables in the adjoining courtyard. The dining room is built around a giant smoker in the center of the room, where the meats will spend hours cooking. Oh, and guess what else is on tap? Cold-pressed Blue Bottle coffee! (Note to self: I need one of those taps in my apartment.) Hours are 5pm-12am, with lunch hours coming later this summer. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck, 510-900-5858.

Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent are getting ready to open their new project, ~SHAKEWELL~, in Oakland on Wednesday July 2nd. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the new space will be open and airy, with seating for 40 in the dining room and 30 in the bar area. The full bar will feature six classic cocktails as well as six seasonal, rotating cocktails, and the menu will have a Mediterranean influence, with a focus on Spanish dishes. We’ll have more details for you when the opening is a little closer. 3407 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Jun 17, 2014

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Jun 17, 2014

It's About Time (Ha-Ha): The Interval at Long Now Is Open

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The Interval, complete with chime generator table and spiral staircase. Photo by Because We Can via Long Now Foundation.

The Long Now Foundation’s bar project in Fort Mason, ~THE INTERVAL~, is now open. We covered lots of details on the project back in May (and you really should read it, there are a lot of cool details in there), but here’s a little recap. The project is focused on time: exploring it, our relationship to it, and, most importantly, it’s relationship to booze! Jennifer Colliau (Small Hand Foods, Slanted Door Group) is taking on the concept of time in lots of interesting ways, including utilizing spirits and drink styles with a long history, and doing some in-house barrel aging (which is legal since the spot is on federal, not state, land).

The space, which doubles as the foundation’s museum, has the distinct feel of a tweedy professor’s den (and a bit like what Tesla’s office would have looked like in modern times), with a spiral staircase, clocks, and the chime generator table. There is a little cove booth in one corner with a view of the Golden Gate and the Yacht Club, perfect for watching the fog roll in. In the coming months, look for special events on the subject of time, as well. The museum is open daily 10am-5pm, and the bar is open nightly 5pm-12am, though Tuesdays may sometimes be dedicated to ticketed events. 2 Marina Blvd, Fort Mason Building A, 415-561-6582.

Heard Through the Grapevine: Olive Bar Closing

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The exterior of Olive. Yelp photo by Kathy V.

We haven’t been able to get confirmation on this one, but according to a tweet from a pal who would know, it sounds like ~OLIVE~ in the Tenderloin is closing this Saturday June 21st. We haven’t been able to get in touch with anyone, and there’s no word at the moment on what might be moving in. Many thanks to the extensive martini list that got me through my early years in SF, and ditto those happy hour specials. Best to everyone moving forward! 743 Larkin St. at O’Farrell, 415-776-9814.

The Good Hop Bottle Shop Now Open in Oakland

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The impressive selection of bottles at The Good Hop. Photo from Facebook.

Of course the hopper loves a little good hop! Oakland has a new place for all things beer-related, with the brand-spankin’-new ~THE GOOD HOP~. It comes from owner Melissa Myers, who started working as a brewer 16 years ago. The concept is more taproom than bar, with 16 local beers on tap as well as hundreds (yep, hundreds) of bottled beers available to enjoy there or take home. Myers is excited to offer people the opportunity to learn more about beer and try lots of different kinds, some that can’t be found elsewhere. In the future, she also hopes to offer special events. Hours are Wed-Mon 3pm-10pm (closed Tuesdays). 2421 Telegraph Ave. at 24th St., 510-338-6598.

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the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Jun 17, 2014

The Sexiest, Tipsiest Pig Alive

Whoa, here’s a seriously A-list sighting for you. None other than the debonair ~George Clooney~ was spotted by a reader at The Tipsy Pig last Tuesday night. Did you know he actually used to have a pet pig named Max? It’s true. Anyway, he was spotted with a party of six, including Rande Gerber (no Cindy Crawford, sadly) and four ladies, and they were generally left alone by the undoubtedly adoring crowds.

Captain Clutch at Picán

Another all-star sighting, this time with a sporty twist: ~Derek Jeter~ was spotted at Picán on Saturday night. He came in quite late with a group of four old friends, and was very friendly with the staff, signing baseballs and generally being charming. He had a porterhouse steak (excellent choice) and the shrimp and grits.

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