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mixtress

San Francisco Lounges

115 posts in this topic

[...]

David is still at Enrico's for another month (Thurs-Sunday), before leaving to become the mixologist for Southern Wine & Spirits in Northern California.  Thomas Waugh is also at Enrico's, and is full of interesting ideas.

[...]

Unfortunately, I've learned Enrico's closed last night (10-30-2006).

From what I've read, their lease was up, and they were unable to negotiate a mutually agreeable new one with the landlord.

Sad to see a San Francisco institution like Enrico's vanish.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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More info about the Enrico's closure here:

Enrico's cafe closes, and Broadway dims

Russek (Hal Russek, General Manager - eje) said he and his business partners were willing to stick it out until the situation improved, but could not come to terms with the landlord on a new lease after negotiating for two years. The ownership group was hoping for a lease covering at least 10 years, he said. The landlord informed Russek Tuesday morning that it could not be done, prompting him to close up shop.
Russek again, "I've had to let go of a lot of people who I've come to care a great deal about today, so I don't feel so good," he said. "I don't want to kill it. I'm hoping that something can be worked out. Maybe there's a white knight out there, but as of right now, we're saying goodbye to Enrico's."

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I had a few drinks at Enrico's Monday night and feel lucky to have been there on their last night. I sure hope that they are able to reopen but the cost of real estate in San Francisco has forced more than a few places to close. Maybe I'll be going to Bourbon and Branch sooner than I thought.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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I am heading to Bourbon & Branch tonight with a few fellow cocktail people, I will report back afterwards letting everyone know how it was.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So was there last night with a pretty large party, I would have preferred to go and sit at the bar with just myself and my wife once my friends found out I was going they all wanted to come along.

I have to say the whole password of the day and standing on a street corner fending off 3 people asking for change for 2 minutes until someone answered the door was slightly off putting. Once inside though the space is pretty amazing. There is a podium directly to the right when you enter the door and they check your reservation and lead you to the table. The front room has the bar with probably 10 seats and a few smaller booths, and the back room up a small flight of stairs has some of the larger booths. We had 6 people to fit in the booth and it was quite cozy. It was at the point where we had to arrange our knees so we could actually fit in the booth, otherwise we would be knocking knees all night.

The menu is pretty huge and slightly unwiedly with its wooden cover. It was hard to navigate it in the small confines of the table unfortunately. A really nice touch was the fact they served water as soon as we sat and even gave us a cocktail amuse which was prosecco, pear liquor and vanilla while we looked through the menu tome.

The menu is broken up with classic cocktails, cocktails from around the world, staff favorites and a few other sections. 5 of the 6 people at the table were drinking (one was driving) We had one Aviation, one Democrat cocktail (house cocktail), one Old Cuban (an Audrey Saunders drink), my wife asked for Martinez and after spying their rye selection, I asked for a pappy van winkle sazerac.

The hostess while helpful didn't know what a Martinez was, but I explained it to her and hoped for the best.

The place was about 60% full when we showed up and the drinks arrived pretty quickly. One of the complaints a friend told me was the service was slow, mainly on the time for each cocktail to be made but it wasn't the case tonight. Unfortunately the order got slightly messed up. I ended up getting a snifter of rye and my wife got was looked like a classic martini with an olive. I think she realized the error pretty quickly with my wifes drink and brough back a correct Martinez that was decently prepared. I didn't have the energy to send my drink back and just settled for the glass of straight rye. We only ended up staying for one drink as it was sweltering in the room. It was unbearably hot. I am sure it had to do with the fact that we were packed into the booth pretty tightly but also there was very little air circulation in the room.

Unfortunately I needed to leave the next day to head back to NYC but would like to go back again at some point and as I mentioned sit at the bar to have a little more interaction with the bartenders.

Overall the room is really well decorated, they definately have a great selection of liquors, have great ice and obviously take care in their cocktails. The downside is the crazy password / secret vibe they are going for which is negated by the fact you can just go to the website and make a reservation. Standing on the street talking into a small intercom at 10pm at night while looking over your shoulder isn't my bag.

Next time I am back in SF, I am definately going to sit at the bar and spend some more time checking things out.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So... what's in a Democrat cocktail?


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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So... what's in a Democrat cocktail?

I wrote it down somewhere, I need to see if I can find it. If I remember correctly it was Boubon, Lillet, Lemon? I think. I will check if I have the paper at home.

On a side note, I had dinner at Ame (in the St. Regis hotel) and had a pretty tasty cocktail that had chai infused vemouth, aperol, lemon and soda. It was really good. The chai infused vermouth was a very good match to the aperol.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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San Francisco Magazine is featuring San Francisco cocktail bars and culture this month (Jan 2007).

Unfortunately, they don't make the article available online.

The main feature of the article is 12 drinks for 12 months, featuring cocktail recipes from various bars around San Francisco. Also features interviews with many San Francisco barkeeps.

Interesting article. A few bars and tenders notably absent, including the Orbit Room's Alberta Straub.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Article from Sunday's SF Chronicle Style Section:

Notes from the underground -- Union Square club Vessel aims for elegance

In recent years, the local nightlife scene has shifted from large-scale raves for 1,000 in South of Market warehouses to cosmopolitan drinks in quieter, smaller venues as Generation Xers -- those born between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s -- have matured and turned to intimate bars with individual character.

Bars mentioned catering to this <ahem> exciting new trend and well heeled young clientèle include Bourbon and Branch, Otis, Rye, Slide, and the soon to launch Vessel*.

Whatever the reasons, a slew of sophisticated bars has cropped up in San Francisco in recent years. They include Slide on Mason Street, with a serpentine slide, onyx bar and chandeliers; Bourbon & Branch, a so-called speakeasy in an unmarked location near Jones and O'Farrell streets; and Rye, a two-room bar on Geary Street in the theater district, to name a few.

*Anyone who can see that name and not snicker and think of Star Trek's Chekov, is a better man than I.


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Finally got out to Bourbon and Branch last night.

As with John, we sat in the room in back. I can't imagine how he got 6 people in those extremely snug booths!

I agree the cocktail menu is quite unwieldy, and also nearly impossible to read in the very dim light of the back room. Noticed some questionable history and typos in the tome.

Cocktails mostly range 10-12 dollars. For our first round my wife and I sampled a Bramble (creme de cassis, gin, lemon, crushed ice) and the Cracked Thumb (lemon oil, gin, elderflower cordial, mint, crushed ice). Both were quite delicious and refreshing. Second round was less successful, with a lukewarm 1794 (rye, campari, vermouth) and rather over marachinoed Aviation. Our friends reported tasty cucumber and tequila gimlets. Also, two other drinks which slip my mind.

Our server was great and we had a nice time. Will definitely be back. Next time, though, we will ask to sit at the bar.

edit - By the way, both the Bramble and Cracked Thumb were guest drinks properly credited on the menu. One of the nicer things about the menu is that they do give credit where credit is due. I've been wanting to try Bradsell's Bramble for a while, and it kept slipping my mind to make at home. I can't recall the bartenders or bar credited with the Cracked Thumb; but, it was also in England. We enjoyed that one enough that I picked up some culinary lemon oil this weekend.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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One more thing about Bourbon and Branch.

Wednesday through Saturday, they have an adjunct barroom open called, "The Library" open from 6PM to 2AM.

You do need a password; but, you don't need a reservation.

The really cool part is the "sekrit" door. At the back of bourbon and branch there is a bookcase. By moving a particular book on the bookcase, the bookcase swings open to reveal The Library.

I really want one of these in my house.

The Library is a bit loud and I don't believe there are benches or seating. Still a nice place to stop by for a drink on your way to or from dinner.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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To get the other two, think bank and university.

Think Carlbad's got it!

Now all I have to do is figure out what a kudo is.

Guess I can offer 4 Big microseconds of fame.

As for the rest of you keep trying.

Stanford, Huntington, Hopkins and Crocker ?

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I checked out Bourbon and Branch for the first time this past Saturday. We stopped in early before our 7:30 dinner reservations.

We thought the decor and atmosphere were great. The design blends elements from the 20's/30's (pressed tin ceiling, red velvet/felt wall paper, dark wood) with modern touches (neat metal barstools (very comfortable), white-washed brick walls behind the bar, candles in niches). The period music was great as well; everything was a nice backdrop for appreciating the drinks and having a conversation. It seems to me that parties of 2-4 would work best here.)

We didn't ask our first bartender's name but he did a great job. (He looked a bit like a much better looking, younger Robert Blake... in case someone can add a name... :smile: ) I think the other bartender was Todd Smith, the bar manager at B&B, I believe, and formerly of Cortez. They both greeted us warmly and we settled down to have some fun reading the menu.

We were pleasantly surprised to get an "amuse drink" while we considered the menu which was a peach bellini variant: sparkling wine and peach. I think they may have used some type of peach cordial as the texture had a great, smooth texture that was more viscous than if peach juice were used. The peach flavor was intense, but balanced, not too sweet and I recall a pleasant slight almond/bitter flavor in there as well.

The glassware was very nice for the amuse and for all the other drinks. Another nice touch are the square, linen cocktail napkins that are slightly ruffled about the edges.

Our first two drinks were:

Elderflower 10: Tanqueray 10, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, and orange bitters (I'm not sure if I'm missing one more ingredient?)

1794: Rittenhouse Rye, Campari, Vya Red vermouth, flamed orange peel garnish

They were both excellent. I coudn't read the last ingredient I scribbled down for the Elderflower 10 (if someone knows, I'd appreciate the tip). Somehow this drink reminded me of just a great whiskey sour although it was made with gin. The tart and sweet components were perfectly balanced and the elderflower adds another elusive level of flavor. This is the best sweet and sour drink I've had. I think I read somewhere that this was a signature drink of Todd Smith's at Cortez.

The style is so different from the elderflower 10, but the 1794 was another hit. I've had this drink once before at The Range and was again very happy. The dark red color of the drink is striking. It was served in a beautiful small V-shaped glass. The flavors were so intense, but again, well balanced. As a big fan of Manhattans, Sazeracs and Negroni's this was right up my alley. I will definately be adding this to my home cocktail repertoire. I suspect that using Vya vermouth would could make a big difference.

We split a third cocktail before dinner:

Dempsey: 209 gin, calvados, pastis, grenadine

My friend and I disagreed a bit on this drink in that I found it less complex and balanced. For me, the pastis element was too overpowering. I like black licorice as a flavor element but don't ususally drink Pastis on its own so this may have been a personal bias on my part. Perhaps someone that drinks Pastis alone would pick up on the additional flavors in this cocktail. I asked our bartender about the grendadine as I don't think of grenadine adding much in terms of flavor to a drink and it didn't seem likely they would add something just for the color. I didn't catch all he said, but I understood that they actually make their own grenadine from pomegranates.

We left at about 7:15 for dinner but we actually came back to try some more drinks later on. More, in a later post.

edited to remove inadvertant addition of orange bitters to the 1794 ingredient list.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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1794: Rittenhouse Rye, Campari, Vya Red vermouth, orange bitters, flamed orange peel

Ludja,

Any idea of the proportions in this drink? Thanks.

Unfortunately, I don't know. I'm not even sure if this is an older classic cocktail or a newer "classic" invention. I have also had the drink at the San Francisco restaurant, Range, but as I understand it, one of the Range bartenders is working at Bourbon and Branch so it may have been a local "transfer". I can't seem to find much information on it by googling.

Perhaps eje has tried his hand at making this cocktail at home? I think he has also sampled it at The Range and at Branch and Bourbon. Without any guidance, I guess I'd start at Negroni 1:1:1 proportions and go from there...


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Unfortunately, I don't know.  I'm not even sure if this is an older classic cocktail or a newer "classic" invention.  I have also had the drink at the San Francisco restaurant, Range, but as I understand it, one of the Range bartenders is working at Bourbon and Branch so it may have been a local "transfer".  I can't seem to find much information on it by googling.

Perhaps eje has tried his hand at making this cocktail at home?  I think he has also sampled it at The Range and at Branch and Bourbon.  Without any guidance, I guess I'd start at Negroni 1:1:1 proportions and go from there...

gallery_27569_3448_11505.jpg

Here's a not very great picture of the 1794 from B&B.

I've had them at Range and Bourbon and Branch.

I think it's a Thomas Waugh original that he first made at Range. I believe he may sometimes work at Bourbon and Branch; but, they have a number of new cocktails created by local and international bartenders on their menu.

I've never tried making it at home.

I would start at 2:1:1, though, as rye isn't quite as assertive as gin. At Range they make it with Old-Overholt, cinzano rosso, and campari. Stir with ice, garnish with flamed orange peel.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Unfortunately, I don't know.  I'm not even sure if this is an older classic cocktail or a newer "classic" invention.  I have also had the drink at the San Francisco restaurant, Range, but as I understand it, one of the Range bartenders is working at Bourbon and Branch so it may have been a local "transfer". 

I think it's a Thomas Waugh original that he first made at Range. I believe he may sometimes work at Bourbon and Branch; but, they have a number of new cocktails created by local and international bartenders on their menu.

Thomas has never worked at B&B, but you're on the right track. Dominic Venegas works at both B&B and Range as well as John Walker & Co. (one of the best liquor stores in the city). I believe the 1794 is his creation. I'll ask around, and will post a retraction if I'm wrong...


Marcovaldo Dionysos

Cocktail Geek

cocktailgeek@yahoo.com

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Unfortunately, I don't know.  I'm not even sure if this is an older classic cocktail or a newer "classic" invention.  I have also had the drink at the San Francisco restaurant, Range, but as I understand it, one of the Range bartenders is working at Bourbon and Branch so it may have been a local "transfer". 

I think it's a Thomas Waugh original that he first made at Range. I believe he may sometimes work at Bourbon and Branch; but, they have a number of new cocktails created by local and international bartenders on their menu.

Thomas has never worked at B&B, but you're on the right track. Dominic Venegas works at both B&B and Range as well as John Walker & Co. (one of the best liquor stores in the city). I believe the 1794 is his creation. I'll ask around, and will post a retraction if I'm wrong...

I was @ b&B tonight, and I stand by my previous post. Dominic was surprised to see orange bitters in the recipe, but endorsed a ratio of 2:1:1.


Marcovaldo Dionysos

Cocktail Geek

cocktailgeek@yahoo.com

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I was @ b&B tonight, and I stand by my previous post.  Dominic was surprised to see orange bitters in the recipe, but endorsed a ratio of 2:1:1.

Thanks for checking into this Marco!

It's a very tasty cocktail.

Coincidentally, the Dr. Cocktail column in the March/April Imbibe Magazine has a recipe for the "Boulevardier" from McElhone's 1927 book, "Barflies and Cocktails". 1 1/2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Campari, 1 oz Italian Vermouth.

Great minds think alike, eh? Rye sounds better to me, anyway!

edit - Also, according to Dr. Cocktail, this Campari and whiskey drink actually pre-dates any known reference to the Negroni by some 20 years.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I was @ b&B tonight, and I stand by my previous post.  Dominic was surprised to see orange bitters in the recipe, but endorsed a ratio of 2:1:1.

Thanks for checking into this Marco!

It's a very tasty cocktail.

...

Yes, thank you very much! Sorry to have mistakenly added the orange bitters. :smile: Looking back at my scribbled notes, I think I mistakenly took my note for the flamed orange peel garnish as one for orange bitters. I'll go back and edit my post.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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After a great dinner at Canteen, we couldn't resist going back to Bourbon and Branch. We thought it would be fun to check out what the Library looked like and wanted to try more of their creations. The Library also has an interesting decor and was pretty hopping at about 9:30 or so. There are a few seats at the bar; we found one seat at the end and camped out there for a bit. Although it makes sense given the larger ratio of patrons to bartenders in the Library, we hadn't realized that the Library serves a reduced menu. We still "managed" to find two excellent cocktails to sample.

Cucumber Gimlet: cucumber-infused gin (don't know the gin), elderflower syrup, orange bitters, champagne, garnish of very thin cucumber slices floating on top

Negroni Plymouth gin, Vya red vermouth, Campari

The cucumber gimlet was great. I've become a big fan of cucumber in cocktails (everything from a Hendrick's martini garnished with cucumber to a Trader Vic's Suffering Bastard with cucumber and mint garnish). This drink was a tasty and unique addition to the genre. As with the Tanq 10, the sweetness contributed by the elderflower syrup was well balanced with the non-sweet components of the drink so that the effect from the first to the last sip was not at all cloying.

We decided to order the Negroni because we like them a lot and also because my friend has experimented in making them at home with different gins and vermouths, etc. (One of his favorite mixes is Plymouth gin, Campari and Punt e Mes) In any case, the B&B version received his full approval and I enjoyed it very much as well.

We were interested in tasting a few other drinks we had noticed on the full menu and luckily were able to get another seat at the main bar.

Algonquin rye whiskey (not sure what type), pineapple juice and dry vermouth

Aviation 209 Gin, Luxardo maraschino, lemon

I haven't tinkered with Aviations at home and so far I had only had some uninspired renditions in a couple other bars around town so we were eager to try B8B's version. I knew that there had to be *something* to this drink given the enthusiasm it has engendered in so many. We loved B&B's offering, it was complex and well-balanced. I suspect the choice of gin and the ratio of ingredients are particularly important in making this drink. (No news to anyone here, I'm sure, but this Aviation was so much better than the other ones I've had.)

We were intrigued to try the Algonquin because it is a classic drink and we were just interested in how the ingredients would come together. I don't think I've had any other whiskey drink with either dry vermouth or pineapple juice. This is the one drink that I can't remember as well--it may be that my palate was getting tired or just that the combination was different enough that I need to try it again. The drink was definately on the less sweet side; with the pineapple providing just a hint of fruitiness.

Well, I'm looking forward to going back there again. The drinks are great as is the atmosphere for enjoying them. I love being able to have a complex tasting cocktail and a good conversation at the same time. One interesting thing that we experienced particularly well here was to notice the evolving taste of the drinks over time. It was akin to the experience of drinking a glass of wine and noticing the changng taste as it 'opens up' through warming and exposure to oxygen. I'm sure this experience was due mainly to the quality and complexity of the drinks, but I think the atmosphere was also important in being able to focus on the taste.

We thought the service was warmly professional at the bar and front of house. We ran into Dahl Donnellly, a proprieter of Bourbon and Branch in addition to Swig and Anu, at Swig afterwards. He introduced himself and we had a nice conversation about our experience at Bourbon and Branch. (No more drinks at Swig, we were just checking it out! :smile: )


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Ludja, I'm curious -- did you have to make reservations for both nights or was going back last night just a spur-of-the-moment decision?

I have yet to go but this is really high on my list...

Well, this was all on one night although our drinks were spread out quite a bit.... :wub: We had reservations for our first visit of the evening. After dinner we went back and checked out the Library which does not require reservations. After the Library we lucked in to being able to make a second visit to the bar as they happened to have some openings at that time.

If you want to go there spur of the moment, without reservations, the Library is a nice option. I think it typically gets more crowded as the evening wears on. It's very pretty, and would be great for a drink or two.

edited to add: Also note eje's post above re: the Library hours (Wes-Sat, 6 pm- 2 am)


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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My wife and I have been meaning to try NOPA for a while. We were in the neighborhood for a concert last night, so we thought we'd give walking in a try.

I've heard good things about the bar, so I was pretty excited.

I have to say the cocktails and bartenders exceeded my expectations.

We had a good vantage point to see most of the tables in the restaurant, and hardly a one didn't have a cocktail of some sort. They are selling the heck out of Old Cubans and Dark and Stormys. Not a single vodka drink on the menu.

The featured spirit was Aviation Gin, so I had a "The Forbidden". Aviation Gin, Gewürztraminer juice, dash of Mezcal, garnished with a wedge of preserved lemon. Lightly sweet and refreshing, with the floral nature of the gin and grape juice combining nicely.

If you're in the neighborhood, I'd definitely recommend stopping by for a drink. They're open late (1:00 AM), so no excuses.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Orbit Room update:

I've been told that Flighty Hostess, Alberta Straub, is no longer at the Orbit Room.

There was another good bartender there (Ron, I believe); but, if you're making a special trip to visit Alberta, you will be disappointed.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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