Tis the season for ... jerky (with that adult beverage). Tomorrow in the Dogpatch, the Third Rail (628 20th Street at Third) bar will open its doors and give the city a first via a jerky bar with nine kinds of jerky -- made of tender-chewy beef, pork and even a surprisingly interesting vegetable version. The spot is in the former Retox bar, and is from the Range crew: chef Phil West and bar guru Jeff Lyons.
My veggie-centric pal smiled big at the vadouvan vegetable option, which melds carrots with caramelized shallot, curry, and turmeric. The jerky is priced at $2.50 to $3 an ounce, and I was glad to have a citrus-y Third Rail cocktail (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Lillet, honey, lemon and orange bitters) to combat the heat of the Scotch Bonnet-influenced Five Dot Ranch beef Jerk Jerky. Tasty, a little fiery and a nice nibble whilst one tipples.
Drinks are divided into four types: aperitif, seasonal, citrus and the ever-cheeky spirituous. The 601 aperitif is a lovely starter, with Sutton Cellars vermouth, Prosecco, ginger, honey and lemon; a Double Date incorporates date infused rye, George Dickel whiskey, Punt e Mes, cardamaro and cinnamon bitters.
The space is inspired by art deco motifs and classic train stations with a nod to mid-century modern and is the handiwork of Paxton Gate owner Sean Quigley and Lead Designer Todd McCrea, whose other recent eatery projects include flour + water, Central Kitchen, and the Le Marais Bakery in the Marina. Candles give the space a subtle romantic feel that is an insta-classic; and the ginormous clock in the entry is reminiscent of those seen at Union Station -- message being perhaps that 'tis time to let the night's journey begin (it only adds to the atmosphere to hear the MUNI T-line ambling nearby).
For a particularly sweet seat with a view, cozy up at the banquette tables directly across from the main bar and admire the space's art-deco type brackets inspired directly by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Time will tell if this is a destination spot but it's safe to say the Dogpatch has a cozy new watering hole to enjoy starting now.