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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Public House Opens in Three Weeks. Will It Become a Craft Brew Destination?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM

click to enlarge Beer consultant Eric Cripe. - BEER AT JOE'S
If you want a lesson in how the city's drinking and dining rules have changed, talk to John Epperheimer, director of operations for Public House, Traci Des Jardins' emerging sports bar at AT&T Park. (Along with companion spot Mijita, Public House is expected to open within three weeks, in time for the first exhibition game of the Giants 2010 season on April 1.) Epperheimer was manager of Acme Chophouse, Public's predecessor. While Acme kept 300 bottles on its wine list, Public, says Epperheimer, will have 40 or 50, and most of those available by the glass.

In its place will be beer. Lots and lots of beer. "There' been such an explosion of good beer," Epperheimer says, "especially in this area. A lot of people are so passionate, we would love to tap into that passion." SFoodie beer contributor Brian Yaeger tipped us off that certified cicerone Eric Cripe ― beer manager at The Jug Shop ― acted as consultant for Public House (Des Jardins liked the menu Cripe put together for Anchor & Hope).

Epperheimer says at least 80 percent of Public's mostly craft brew list will be local (its ballpark location means catering to basic tastes, meaning Stella and, if Epperheimer has his way, 24-ounce cans of PBR). Plans call for 24 beers on tap ― two cask-conditioned ― 24 in the bottle. And while Epperheimer says the updated pub grub by chef Thom Fox will be a draw unto itself (Des Jardins, he says, is excited about the organic jalapeño popper stuffed with artisanal goat cheese), he hopes Cripe's beer menu will be add to Public's status as a destination on non-game days.

"The real challenge is to attract people down to this area," he says. Meanwhile, Mijita ― with its own tequila bar, serving up tequila drinks and bottled Mexican beers ― is being designed by beverage manager Greg Stone. Check out status photos of the Public House/Mijita build-out (including a tacos al pastor research junket to Mexico City by Des Jardins and Fox) at its blog, On the House.

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