Fifth Annual SF Cocktail Week Announces Main Events


You’ve never seen a ~SAN FRANCISCO COCKTAIL WEEK~ this big. The schedule of main events from September 19th-25th is out, and it’s quite the lineup of cocktail parties, dinners, seminars, and more at locations all around the Bay Area. To add to this celebration of all things drink in SF, there’s a special Preview Night with CUESA on August 24th.

Here are the main events they’ve announced so far. First up is the CUESA Farmers Market Happy Hour-slash-SF Cocktail Week Preview Night on Wednesday August 24th, 5:30pm-8pm at the Ferry Building. This walk-around tasting of farmers’ market cocktails includes 2 full-sized signature drinks featuring late summer produce (like peaches, plums, pluots, blackberries, heirloom apples, tomatoes, etc.), and 14 sample-sized cocktails from over 20 of the leading bartenders behind SF Cocktail Week. The event includes bites from local restaurants. And, you get a chance to to win advance tickets to SF Cocktail Week’s opening night party just by voting for your favorite drinks of the evening. Tickets ($45) are available on the CUESA website.

The week itself kicks off with, what else, a bar crawl on Monday September 19th, 5pm-8pm, in downtown SF with hosts Charbay and The Perfect Puree (Napa Valley). Guests will make 30-minute stops at Rye, Cantina, Otis Lounge, and Rickhouse for full-sized cocktails, plus small bites to help spare your liver from the onslaught. Linger at the final stop for one last story and live music. Look for additional bars to be added as the date gets closer. $35 (through August 31st), $45 regular, $55 door (max 30 tickets available).

Also on Monday is the Opening Night Party: Around The World With Anchor from 6pm-9pm at Anchor Brewing Company (1705 Mariposa St. at De Haro). Taste Anchor Distilling Company’s global, artisanal line of spirits and liqueurs, all from family-owned companies, and learn about the history and heritage of Anchor Distilling’s portfolio from David King, president of Anchor Distilling, and Henry Preiss, founder, Preiss Imports. And yes, there will be food to match. $35 (through August 31st), $45 regular, $55 door.

You’re in for an evening of molecular gastronomy meets mixology at Shaker & Flask Wednesday September 21st, 6pm-9pm, at Big Daddy’s Antiques (1550 17th St. at Wisconsin). In collaboration with Cocktail Lab, guest bartenders who specialize in molecular mixology will showcase the science behind cocktails. Taste drinks frozen with liquid nitrogen, pressure-infused botanical vodkas, cocktail popsicles, and herb-infused raw egg white fizzes. Check out the old-school scientific equipment on display too. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Exploratorium. $55 (through August 31st), $65 regular, $75 door.

Another collabo event will be the East Bay Showdown on Thursday September 22nd, 6pm-9pm, with the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild at Tessera (1225 A 7th St. at Union, Oakland). Here’s what you do: for the month of September, order from the special SF Cocktail Week menus and place your votes at each participating bar—Acme Bar & Co., Hotsy Totsy Club, Adesso, Dogwood, Easy Lounge, Bar 355, Flora and Radio—then join the party at Tessera to sample an array of the creations and witness the final showdown. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to East Bay charities, such as East Bay SPCA, Oakland Community Pools Project, ALS Therapy Development Institute, and the Women’s Initative. $45 (through August 31st), $55 regular, $65 at the door.

On the SF-side Thursday night, take a West Coast cocktail tour at Best of the West at The Forum at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St. at 3rd St.), 6pm-9pm. Guest bartenders from San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver will compete against local bartenders to create signature cocktails with mystery ingredients. Cheer, drink, and while you’re at it, play a couple rounds of blackjack, roulette, and poker, with chances to win cool prizes. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. $45 (through August 31st), $55 regular, $65 door.

Hot damn, the fun doesn’t stop. On Friday September 23rd, 8pm-11pm, join the fantastical festivities of the Barbary Coast Bazaar at The Old Mint (88 Fifth St. at Mint Plaza) for all things bizarre and delicious. Carnival curiosities will abound; expect to see all the pieces of 1920s traveling circus, including fortune-tellers, stilt-walkers, contortionists, magicians, and games. And of course there will be cocktails from San Francisco’s best bars, plus passed apps. Festive attire encouraged. $75 (through August 31st); $85 regular; $95 at the door.

Be there for the start of a new tradition: the first annual Legends Awards will be held on Saturday September 24th, 7pm-10pm, in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel Ballroom (450 Powell St. at Sutter). The awards will recognize Bay Area cocktail innovators, influencers, mentors, and historians. Six of the Bay Area’s best bar professionals will be honored in categories like the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Renegade Award for their roles in raising the bar for cocktail culture. Sit down and enjoy a plated dinner by Scala’s executive chef Jennifer Biesty, tableside cocktails (!) paired to each course, and performances by an array of sultry burlesque dancers. Black tie optional. $150 (through August 31st), $175 regular, $200 at the door (includes admission to Legendary After Party).

Finally, make it a lazy Sunday afternoon at the St. George Spirits Bathtub Gin BBQ on September 25th, 4pm-7pm, at St. George Spirits (2601 Monarch St. at W. Midway, Alameda). It’s a bathtub gin party and barbecue where you can kick back and relax. Try three new St. George gins while resting your eyes on the bay views. $25 (through August 31st), $35 regular, $45 at the door (food is not included but available for purchase at the event). Round-trip chartered bus transportation from West Oakland BART station to St. George Spirits is available for $10 per person.

This ain’t even all—stand by as more events are revealed. Tickets are available online now, and for the serious reveler, this year they’re offering a Gold Pass, which gets you into every SF Cocktail Week main event, after party, and seminar, plus a cocktail dinner, and exclusive VIP perks and events. Stay gold, baby! A limited number are available ($600 through August 31st, $700 after September 1st).

Get more info at, and snatch up tickets by August 31st for early bird prices. SF Cocktail Week was founded by the Barbary Coast Conservancy for the American Cocktail, dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of saloons and their cocktails in San Francisco while also celebrating California’s culinary philosophy and traditions.

Event Info

Monday Sep 19, 2011 – Sunday Sep 25, 2011