A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As reported on tablehopper back in 2010, the Mission has a new high-end watering hole: TRICK DOG. It has finally arrived, after much waiting and excitement. It officially opened its doors on Monday January 7th and has been raking in the praise (and crowds) ever since—it is currently blowing up Twitter in mentions, and I’ve even heard of lines to get in. Yeah, this town loves its bars.
The bar comes from the Bon Vivants, Josh Harris and Scott Baird, who also run Rio Grande, and the third partner is Jason Henton. The bar is quite a labor of love and takes its name from a trick dog toy that Harris’s father gave him as a child. Most of the construction materials in the bar were not repurposed so much as lovingly collected over the years that the partners have been working together. As such, most of the elements have a story, whether it’s the history of the cast-iron beams that form the base of the bar (they’re originally from the Warfield building) or the large-format line drawing of a vintage Playboy pinup by Nicole Hayden.
The space is well designed (in conjunction with Wylie Price Design) without being fussy. It’s divided into a downstairs bar area and an upstairs lofted space with chairs and tables. The seats are all vintage Steelcase, reupholstered by Allison Weber, a friend and colleague of the partners. The space is fairly neutral, in varying shades of industrial gray, which provides a nice foil for color to pop. And pop it does: the menu is a Pantone book, modified to list the drinks—take a look at both the menu and design here. There is also a gallery wall upstairs of bright prints by Ed Panar that bring an unexpected and fun splash of color.
The drinks are well crafted, but Harris says the point of the bar is not to be just a cocktail nerd haven. They want folks in the mood for a glass of wine or nice beer to feel comfortable too. That said, the cocktails look pretty serious, like the Alligator Alley (olive oil-infused Broker’s gin, Imbue vermouth, Tempus Fugit quinquina, green Chartreuse) or Gypsy Tan (Rittenhouse 100 rye, Mandarine Napoléon orange liqueur, Fernet Branca, ginger, lemon, Erdinger Weissbier, nutmeg).
The food from Chester Watson (working closely with Baird) is high-end bar food, with a Scotch egg (yesss!), a classier take on pimento cheese, salted and buttered radishes, and chicken nuggets. Grub Street has a copy of the current menu, so you can start plotting your beverage snacks now. Plus, the kitchen is open until 1:30am, which adds a great spot for late-night dining to the neighborhood. It’s open daily, 3pm-2am. 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.