Empire-builders Duncan Ley, Benjamin Bleiman and Mark DeVito have a lot of cool neighborhood bars in San Francisco. A lot. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem shines the brightest, but there's also Soda Popinski's, Bullitt, Tonic, Wild Hare, bar-slash-venue Rebel, etc. And this time, they're phoning it in.
Having stuck a wet thumb aloft to determine that the winds are indeed blowing seaward, the team has delivered a nautical-themed pseudo-dive called the Royal Tug Yacht Club to Nob Hill. Impishly named, it almost sounds like they're trolling the area's tonier residents, but it's actually a shiny lure for Marina folk to swim upstream and over the hill.
Thirteen cocktails (plus beer and Fernet on tap) comprise the menu, and a few stand out, such as the mojito-like Admiral (bourbon, amber rum, Angostura bitters, mint, a sugar cube and fresh lime) and the seriously intense Panama Negroni, made with tequila reposado, Campari and Punt de Mes. Let that one sit a minute first to let the ice melt.
Overall, the Royal Tug feels slapped together. Throw some crazy crap on the walls, source the three cheapest faux-wood tables you can find, install a frightening octopoid recycled from the Playa onto the ceiling, put in a Big Buck Hunter and BAM! It's pure Thrillist-bait -- and seemingly the evolutionary destination of all of San Francisco's weirdest dives and assorted holes-in-the-wall. However, in New York, the 36-year-old Rawhide bar just closed and is becoming a chain pizza joint, so Nob Hill could do way, way worse.
The Royal Tug Yacht Club, 895 Bush St.