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mixtress

San Francisco Lounges

115 posts in this topic

Any idea where Alberta has gone, Erik? I hope she's found a home behind another bar somewhere in the city. (Yeah, she's quirky, but she's way too good to lose.)


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
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Any idea where Alberta has gone, Erik? I hope she's found a home behind another bar somewhere in the city. (Yeah, she's quirky, but she's way too good to lose.)

I believe Alberta is concentrating on her new online show these days. A launch for teh channel happens in a couple of weeks, but you can find and subscribe to the video podcast on iTunes.


Camper English, Alcademics.com

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Speaking of San Francisco bar news, I recently learned from Marcia Gagliardi's great Tablehopper newsletter, that Enrico's Sidewalk Cafe is in the process of being resurrected and aiming for a June re-opening.

According to Tablehopper, Reza Esmali has been brought on as a consultant GM and is overseeing staffing, the bar program, and cocktail menu.

Here's hoping the new owners can re-vive and revitalize a true San Francisco classic.


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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Bar crawl celebrates local mixologists, Amanda Berne

SF Chronicle article about the first annual (I hope!) San Francisco Cocktail Week.

With that, we boarded the bus for "Camp Drink-a-Lot" with our cocktail counselors in tow, wielding the microphone and a bottle, or two, of Tequila. They all took turns talking to the rapt crowd about Cocktail Week. May 13 was National Cocktail Day, but the San Francisco bartenders banded together to stretch out the one-day celebration through May 21, when Chronicle contributor Gary Regan will be bartending at a benefit at Absinthe.

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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I'm heading to San Francisco for the first time the first week of August for some eating, drinking, and talks with a few distillers and need a few pointers.

California watering holes are still largely terra incognito for me (I know New Orleans, Amsterdam, and Tijuana, in fact, better than my newly adopted state). Given only five days in and around the city, what are the bars/bartenders I shouldn't miss?

Anyone, for instance, experimenting with ho-made bitters? Are there bars known for extensive selections of whiskey or gin? Is there a local favorite that just begs for sampling? How about fantastic liquor stores?

The questions are a little scattershot, but I'm still in the early stages of planning and don't know nearly enough about getting enhooched in Northern California.

Thanks,

~ Matt


Matthew B. Rowley

Rowley's Whiskey Forge, a blog of drinks, food, and the making thereof

Author of Moonshine! (ISBN: 1579906486)

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My understanding is the cool new place to be is Duggan McDonnel's Cantina.

But, the nice part is Cantina, Bourbon and Branch, and Rye, is that they are all within stumbling distance of one and other.

Still enjoy Alembic, though I haven't been by since they got a new Chef.

I believe Range is still recommendable for both food and drink.

NOPA and Slanted Door both recently impressed me with their bar programs, though I am ambivalent about the food at both restaurants.

Absinthe Bar & Brasserie still makes a good cocktail.

Old School, I'd say Tadich Grill, Bix, Pied Piper Bar at the Palace Hotel. Harry Denton's Starlight Room, maybe, though I haven't been there.

Oh, and I just read in Marcia Gagliardi's tablehopper about a new bar will be opening in the Drake Hotel:

~BAR DRAKE~ is a new glam lobby bar opening July 12 in the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel—it will have a 1920s vibe and classic cocktail list crafted by fab mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout. Jacques’s drinks menu will include some updates on classics like the Sazerac (j’adore) and the Manhattan (I love you too), plus some signatures like the Bar Drake Manhattan with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, port, Angostura bitters, and maple syrup, and the Tommy Gun, made with Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky, Grand Marnier, and shaken with apricot jam, lemon juice, and fresh ginger. There will also be some bar bites available, like goat cheese and chive profiteroles, and salumi and fennel pickles.

This post is getting long, so drop me a note if you want liquor store recommendations, and I'll fill you in on what to get where.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Matt- as far as homemade bitters go, you're in a great place. I wrote this article about a bitters-making event that brought a lot of bartenders together. So now you can find them at Absinthe, Bourbon & Branch, Rye, Cantina, and the Slanted Door for sure, and probably at the other venues mentioned in the article as well.


Camper English, Alcademics.com

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Elixir, in the Mission, looks promising, though I haven't been yet. They seem to have a well-put-together cocktail list.

Is the Orbit Room no longer a must-visit?

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does anyone know if the tiki room is still open? it was in the basement of an old hotel in nob hill..

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Dunno about the tiki room.

The only Tiki places I know of in San Francisco proper are Trad'r Sam's, Tonga Room, The Bamboo Hut, and Trader Vic's. Lingba Lounge in Potrero also might count.

Martini Monkey at the San Jose Airport is reputed to be good.

My personal favorite in the vicinity is Forbidden Island in Alameda.


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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Dunno about the tiki room.

The only Tiki places I know of in San Francisco proper are Trad'r Sam's, Tonga Room, The Bamboo Hut, and Trader Vic's.  Lingba Lounge in Potrero also might count.

Martini Monkey at the San Jose Airport is reputed to be good. 

My personal favorite in the vicinity is Forbidden Island in Alameda.

sweet! i'm movin back to the bay and for some reason i have this itch for a tiki bar. funny thing about them is that there has been a recent surge in popularity for them in Europe. We went to one in London which was across the street from the Ritz and it paled in comparison to what i remember in SF...

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The word is, Enrico's has reopened. I haven't been, yet, so can't say what changes the new management and remodel might hold. Looking forward to getting down to North Beach to check it out.

Some fascinating news from this week's tablehopper:

As ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ approaches its tenth anniversary (no easy feat in this town), some changes continue. Not only is new executive chef Jamie Lauren up and rocking her new menu, but GM Jeff Hollinger and bar manager Jonny Raglin are going to be opening up a new bar with Absinthe’s owner, Bill Russell-Shapiro. (Hollinger and Raglin have been talking with Russell-Shapiro about the idea for the past year or so.) The bar will be more of an affiliation than an extension of Absinthe; it will be a different vibe and concept, but still a place that will celebrate classic cocktails and feature new ones inspired by the classics. (For more on the classics and their offspring, have you ever have a chance to peek at the fab book, The Art of the Bar, written by Hollinger and Rob Schwartz? There’s a reason why it won “Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book” at Tales this year!) The new bar concept is being described as a grand saloon of the pre-Prohibition era, a grand time for cocktails, but since a space hasn’t been locked in yet, there will still be some fine-tuning of the idea and execution (it will also have a name, obviously). Expect a focus primarily on gin and whiskey.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I stopped by Frisson the other night and had a fantastic Manhattan:

1.5 oz bourbon (bulleit I believe)

Dash Cynar

Dash orange bitters

Dash pomegranate molasses

Orange peel

It added a sweetness to the typical bitter kick.

It was fantastic - recommend you have Ben mix it on Tuesdays.

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I stopped by Frisson the other night and had a fantastic Manhattan:

1.5 oz bourbon (bulleit I believe)

Dash Cynar

Dash orange bitters

Dash pomegranate molasses

Orange peel

It added a sweetness to the typical bitter kick.

It was fantastic - recommend you have Ben mix it on Tuesdays.

My only question is whether or not this is a Manhattan? It might be called a Manhattan, but...


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Tasty Travails - My Blog

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I stopped by Frisson the other night and had a fantastic Manhattan:

1.5 oz bourbon (bulleit I believe)

Dash Cynar

Dash orange bitters

Dash pomegranate molasses

Orange peel

It added a sweetness to the typical bitter kick.

It was fantastic - recommend you have Ben mix it on Tuesdays.

My only question is whether or not this is a Manhattan? It might be called a Manhattan, but...

I get your perspective, but if we were that strict with cuisine would Robuchon not be considered French? It was a nice innovation on the traditional drink. And it was good!

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Got out to a new place in Oakland called Flora last Friday.

It is in a beautiful old Art Deco style building at 1900 Telegraph, a block from 19th Street Oakland BART station. Quite close to the Paramount theatre, so I expect they will have a good bit of concert and movie traffic.

The cocktail program has been conceived by Erik Adkins, who manages the bar at the Slanted Door in San Francisco.

It is a short menu of about 16 cocktails, most of which are pre-prohibition classics. He has also added a few New California originals, including the most excellent "Carter Beats the Devil".

The restaurant has only been open for a week and they've only had their liquor license since November 16th, so there are still some kinks to work out, especially since the establishment seems to have been immediately mobbed by East Bay folks clamoring for quality food and drink.

But, if you're interested in classic cocktails and in the East Bay, aside from the classic Townhouse Bar & Grill, it is an Oasis of cocktail cool.


Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I'll be back in San Francisco in mid January. I would be nice to find a decent bar/lounge that's within a convenient walk of the Union Square/Moscone Convention center area.

Looks like most of the places mentioned so far here aren't in that area. However, I have been known to hoof to/from that area and places like the Ferry Building (someone mentioned Slanted Door, which I have been to for lunch) and Taddich Grill (been there a copule of times, including last year where I DID get a nice Manhattan while waiting for seat for dinner).

.

Just looking for a decent place where I can get a nice cocktail. It will most likely be a "spur of the moment" type of decision as to when I might want to go or have free time alone or with willing companions.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Bourbon and Branch, Rye, and Cantina are all within walking distance of Union Square.

Cantina, at 580 Sutter, is particularly close, and I'm told, quite a lot of fun, though, sadly, I still need to get there in person.

Aside from Tadich, a couple other great classic places are Bix and the Pied Piper bar at the Palace Hotel.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Just in case you're in the market for a drink, Philip Ward of New York's Death and Company is bartending at Alembic for a few days early this week.

He and Daniel Hyatt are making a number of drinks from the Death and Company menu, while Thomas Waugh is off in New York making Alembic drinks at Death and Company.

It is part of a bartender exchange program between Death and Company and other bars.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I'll be visiting San Francisco the first full week of May. Am I safe assuming Bourbon and Branch and Alembic are still two must-visits? Any others I can't miss?

I'd also appreciate any information on liquor stores to hit, if that won't take the thread too far off course. Thanks!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I'll be visiting San Francisco the first full week of May. Am I safe assuming Bourbon and Branch and Alembic are still two must-visits? Any others I can't miss?

I'd also appreciate any information on liquor stores to hit, if that won't take the thread too far off course. Thanks!

My favorite liquor stores are Blackwell Wines & Spirits

http://www.blackwellswines.com/

-and-

Weimax in Burlingame.

http://www.weimax.com/marketing.htm

And not necessarily in that order. Weimax is definitely best wine and liquor store I've been to in the Bay Area. Both of those will be a haul--don't know how far you're willing to go or what you're looking for in particular.

Honorable mention for Plumpjack in Noe Valley.

http://www.plumpjackwines.com/plumpjackwin...oe.aspx?loc=noe

I'm sure others will have good ideas.


"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I'll be visiting San Francisco the first full week of May. Am I safe assuming Bourbon and Branch and Alembic are still two must-visits? Any others I can't miss?

I'd also appreciate any information on liquor stores to hit, if that won't take the thread too far off course. Thanks!

I do like Alembic.

I haven't been to B&B recently. Best advice is to get an early reservation, preferably M-R, and ask sit at the bar.

Other places to check out in B&B's neighborhood are Cantina and Rye.

Bar/Restaurants with worthy drink programs include:

Slanted Door

Beretta

NOPA

range

Absinthe

Coco500

Presidio Social Club

I would also be remiss not to mention Forbidden Island in Alameda, one of the West Coast's best Tiki Bars.


---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I'll second the Slanted Door. Erik tipped me off to their excellent bar program earlier this. They do a remarkable job, especially considering it's a very popular high volume restaurant that's always packed.

If you find yourself down in or near the Ferry Building and get a hankering fora cocktail, stop by and have a drink or two.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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