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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brunch to Breakers: Three Stops On Your Way to the Panhandle

Posted By on Thu, May 15, 2014 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge You need strength to continue along the route during Bay to Breakers. - FLICKR/A NATIONAL ACROBAT

Costumes are coming together, props nearing completion, and livers citywide are bracing themselves for the annual onslaught that is Bay to Breakers. And while one of the most uniquely San Franciscan events of the calendar year is typically peppered with a DIY flair, many seasoned vets choose to morph the spectacle into 12 kilometers of bar crawling.

Okay, drinking your way across the entire route is admittedly extreme, but here are a few obligatory stops along the heart of the course guaranteed to add flavor to the frivolity.

Because the race kicks off at such an obnoxiously early hour of Sunday, the beginning section -- following Howard street through the SOMA -- is where you want to get your (light) brunch on. To build a solid base for the booze that's sure to follow, scurry one block south of the path to Citizen's Band (1198 Folsom) and savor some sweet potato and pork belly hash. Wash those large, tender chunks of pig lardon down with a subtly sweet prosecco. You have all morning to get after another type of H.A.M., you might as well get the ball rolling with something soft and gentle. The calm before the storm.

As the nation's oldest footrace takes its upward swing into the heart of Hayes Valley, it'll be difficult to pass by one of the neighborhood's favorite outposts for pre-noon tipples and victuals, Absinthe Brasserie (398 Hayes St). If ever there was a day to indulge in the devilish delight of its namesake spirit, Sunday's the day. Shift in to the stratosphere with an expert take on a Corpse Reviver #2, floral in the nose, herbaceous on the tongue, with a slight licorice-like punch of absinthe heading straight to the dome. Another natural choice comes courtesy of a city that practically invented the A.M cocktail: New Orleans' own Sazerac. The perfect marriage of bitter and sweet, you could easily polish off three of 'em before noticing how problematic a simple task like standing has become. Enjoy a small bite of the restaurant's smoked salmon or crowd-pleasing deviled eggs to recharge the stamina; it's an uphill battle from here.

A presumably-successful amble into the heights of the Panhandle can take a lot of tipsiness out of the tank. Keep that buzz alive and load up at Nopa (560 Divisadero St) before the steady march into the park. A list chock full of brunch-friendly cocktails can keep you occupied for hours. Maintain focus with their mezcal-laced Bloody Mary, mixed with house-spiced tomato juice. It's a force to be reckoned with, just like the fearsome folks dedicated to making it all the way to Ocean Beach. If you're one of the chosen few, I raise a drink in your honor. I'll be posted up at the bar, with a Negroni in one hand and an orange juice in the other. Gotta stay hydrated, San Francisco.

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About The Author

Brad Japhe

Brad Japhe

I enjoy my whiskey neat, my beer hoppy, and my meat medium rare. I have been covering craft spirits, suds, and gourmet cuisine for a decade, with work published from New York, across Montana, and up and down the Pacific Coast.


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