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Thursday, July 24, 2014

If You Think the Fancy Cocktail Bars Are All Alike, Check out ABV in the Mission

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
It’s getting pretty tough around here to put together a cocktail list that qualifies as “unusual.” (Strictly speaking, Harvey Wallbangers and Piña Coladas are unusual now). But ABV, a new cocktail-and-bar-bites spot on 16th Street, has done just that.

See Also: Gaspar Bucks the Casual Trend With Genuinely Upscale French Fare

Even better, they’ve managed to achieve a different look than the subway-tile-and-Edison-bulb thing that’s all too depressingly common. Distressed mirrors line the walls, the votives are the bottom half of liquor bottles with their labels intact, and the brass light fixtures have — in the words of a drinking buddy who knows about such things — an “accelerated patination.” (It’s pretty.) The gray paint is a tad severe, but nothing a little living-in won’t soften. Meanwhile, in a shadowy corner, shelves of newly-legal experiments in glass bottles infuse away, among them house-made coffee and smoked pear bitters.

But on to the liquor. The menu, helpfully paginated by spirit and easily thumbed through, is full of neat surprises. The Whisky in Church (smoky scotch, oloroso sherry, maple and those smoked pear bitters) is both unusual and rather risky, the maple’s sweetness pulling it back from a peaty abyss. Transamerica Punch (pisco, pineapple gum, lemon and Fernet, garnished with a pineapple slice) isn’t as amaro-forward as many Fernet fans might like, but perfectly balanced all the same. If you have a friend who claims to hate that particular digestif, make them try this one.

click to enlarge The Transamerica Punch - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • The Transamerica Punch
click to enlarge ABV took over the former Tokyo Go Go on 16th Street between Valencia and Guerrero. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • ABV took over the former Tokyo Go Go on 16th Street between Valencia and Guerrero.

And in food territory, everything is there to complement an evening of upscale cocktailing (and on compostable plates). Meat and cheese boards (at $15 and $12, respectively, for selections of three) share space with tasty, no-utensils bites such as kimchee fritters ($8), chicken pot pie empanadas ($8), falafel lamb dogs ($8), and a pimento cheese burger ($9). Tables in the back and up top — ABV is a true loft space — add on to the capacious bar.

Seems we have another Mission joint where eating and drinking through the menu is all but mandatory.

ABV, 3174 16th St., 400-4748

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About The Author

Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40

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