Summer is here, and while in the Bay Area it might not necessarily mean warm weather, it does mean that there will be plenty of festivities to celebrate. From cocktail-inspired gelato to restaurant celebrations and martini contests (making them, not drinking them), there are plenty of ways to kick off the new season.
Gelateria Naia Happy Hour
Where: Gelateria Naia, 520 Columbus (at Stockton), 677-9280
When: Mon. June 17, 7 p.m.
Cost: $10, tickets available online
The rundown: You scream for gelato and sorbet. You love cocktails. You need to be at tonight's Gelateria Naia Happy Hour. Taking inspiration from the bar, the crew at this North Beach spot is featuring over 20 different boozy gelatos (all you can eat) for an easy ten spot. Choose from combinations like Whiskey Shot & Beer (21st Amendment Beer gelato swirled with St George Spirits Single Malt gelato), St. George Spirits Terroir Gin Gimlet, Lagunitas Stout & TCHO Chocolate, Bananas Foster (St. George Spirits Agua Libre Rum). And it wouldn't be a party in San Francisco without Fernet gelato.
14th Annual Best Martini Contest in the East Bay
Where: Lafayette Park Hotel, 3287 Mt. Diablo, Lafayette, (925) 283-3700
When: Mon. June 17, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: $25 at the door
The rundown: This annual cocktail competition in the balmy and swanky Lafayette Hotel shakes things up tonight with 14 of the East Bay's bartending talent vying for the crown of best cocktail. Admission is $25 per person and includes two drink tickets. All proceeds from this event benefit Project Second Chance, the Contra Costa County Library Literacy Program helping adults learn to read.
Balvenie Scotch Tasting at Blackbird
Where: Blackbird, 2124 Market (at Church), 503-0630
When: Weds. June 19, 7-9 p.m.
Cost: Admittance for this event is limited and RSVP is required. Please send all RSVP's to Jackie Paulin at firstname.lastname@example.org
The rundown: Free tasting and educational seminar will include the Balvenie 12, 14, and 15 years, but you'll have the chance to buy flights ($25, includes 3 pours of 1 oz. of 12 year old Doublewood, 14 year old Caribbean Cask, and 15 year old Single Barrel) along with cocktails like the Blood and Sand ($12, Balvenie 12 year old Doublewood, orange, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur).
Knob Creek Bourbon Dinner
Where: Picán, 2295 Broadway (at 23rd), Oakland, 834-1000.
When: Thurs. June 20, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $100 for four courses paired with four cocktails.
The rundown: Picán chef Sophie Uong and the extremely talented bar manager Sam Babalola have collaborated to create a dinner calibrated to show off their pairing skills. Look for combos like hickory-smoked catfish served with a Knob Knee cocktail (Knob Creek Rye, Fruitlab Organic Jasmine Liqueur, Pulley Blanc), or the bourbon & coke beef short ribs alongside the Fishing in the Creek (Knob Creek Small Batch, Carpano Antica, Fonseca Tawny Port). Call to reserve a table or go on OpenTable and take a 6pm slot slot, noting the Knob Creek Bourbon Dinner.
15 Romolo's 15 Year Anniversary
Where: 15 Romolo, 15 Romolo (at Broadway), 398-1359
When: Fri. June 19 to Sun. June 23.
Cost: Free (as in buy your own drinks) to $20 for the Picon Punch Party. Call for reservations to the special weekend brunch.
The rundown: This weekend marks the anniversary of 15 Romolo and to celebrate the bar is hosting a trio of events including a party Friday night with special guest bartenders and spirits writer Camper English (aka DJ Brandy Champerelle) rocking the music, a Picon Punch (it's the drink of the Basque) party on Saturday, and special brunches on Saturday and Sunday (with special menu by The Dapper Dinner, the Foursquare Mayor of 15 Romolo). Brunch proceeds benefit Share Our Strength.
Bluestem Brasserie Two Year Anniversary
Where: Bluestem Brasserie, 1 Yerba Buena, 547-1111
When: Sun.. June 23, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The rundown: To celebrate two years in business, Bluestem Brasserie will donate $2 from each entrée all day to the charity of choice: either Dress For Success, CUESA, or the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation. At the bar, look for $2 special bites that include steak tartare with black truffle egg yolk on marble rye, toasted pigs head ravioli, house-made buffalo meatballs, and potato croquettes with black olive and parmesan.