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Friday, May 29, 2015

The Extremely Comprehensive Negroni Week Crawl

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 6:19 PM

click to enlarge Pup-Groni from Aatxe made with Campari, Aperol, Big Gin house-infused with saffron and orange peel, and Alessio Torino. - WES ROWE
  • Wes Rowe
  • Pup-Groni from Aatxe made with Campari, Aperol, Big Gin house-infused with saffron and orange peel, and Alessio Torino.

As of Monday, June 1 and running until Sunday, June 7, the third annual Negroni Week descends on San Francisco (along with the rest of the world). For the uninitiated, Negroni Week seems simply like an excuse to drink gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, but purchasing a Negroni means a portion of the proceeds raised from Negroni sales goes towards charity of their choosing. As everyone knows, drinking for a charitable cause is better than drinking for the sake of drinking.

This year, as of May 29, there are 90 establishments in San Francisco partaking in Negroni Week; a full list with each charity being supported can be found on the official Negroni Week website. In other words, you would need to visit about 13 places a day if you want to prove that you are a true Negroni nut. Is this advisable? Your doctor would say no, but your doctor also would be against you participating in extreme Red Bull Rampage mountain biking, and somehow that’s a sport.

So, what if you did want to do an epic Negroni Week crawl with a group of friends (say two others so you could easily fit in a cab/rideshare car), sharing drinks and food along the way so you can still get up in the morning with a functioning liver and ability to go to work only partially hungover? Here’s how I would do it:

click to enlarge Mr. Holmes Bakehouse's Doughgroni filled with Campari jelly and Negroni Blood Orange Custard served with a pipette of Negroni syrup. - ARON TZIMAS
  • Aron Tzimas
  • Mr. Holmes Bakehouse's Doughgroni filled with Campari jelly and Negroni Blood Orange Custard served with a pipette of Negroni syrup.

Day 1: Monday

Start strong! Lots of places participating in Negroni Week are also open for lunch or have an early bar/happy hour menu, which means you can cram in some precious Negroni time during regular work hours, which also helps to make work seem to move along faster.

Irish Times: It opens at 9 a.m., so you could skip the morning coffee and try a morning Negroni.

The Barrel Room
: Start your long lunch early at 11 a.m. with a quick Negroni.

Michael Mina: Enjoy a Negroni at the bar then move next door.

Perbacco: Take a step over to Perbacco and order your real lunch and the Negroni Popcorn, a caramel, Campari, and sweet vermouth coated popcorn that’s been tossed in salt made with gin botanicals. Also, enjoy one of their Negroni variations, such as the Umberto’s Negroni (Campari, Four Roses Bourbon, Cocchi Americano, Meletti Anisette, and peach bitters). Then head back to work and pretend to do productive things.

Palio D’Asti: Finish work early and head to Palio as the bar menu at 2:30 p.m.

Sam’s Grill & Seafood: March over here after Palio’s for another quick one.

Café Claude Downtown: While they have a limited menu before 5:30 p.m., they’re open from 11:30 a.m. so you can keep that Negroni buzz going.

Gitane: Hungry? Good, because opening at 5 p.m. puts you here at the right time for food and another Negroni.

Gaspar Brasserie: In the mood for more French food, then this is another great spot for more bites. Or skip the food and order a Negroni.

Scala’s Bistro: Feeling good? Yeah, five post-work Negronis will do that, which is why it’s a good time to order the White Chocolate Negroni Truffle. It comes with a Negroni too.

Burritt Room + Tavern: Take a sobering stroll up to the Burritt and enjoy a Burritt Negroni made with Campari sorbet, dry gin, and house rosé vermouth with a strawberry shrub.

Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar (Fairmont Hotel): It closes at 11:30 p.m., so be mindful of the time, even if your watch just reads “Negroni O’Clock” all day. Try the barrel-aged Negroni punch to wake you up.

Swank Cocktail Club: It seems out of the way, but the distance is your liver’s friend. They also close on midnight on Monday nights so at least it gives you an excuse to end your night early.

click to enlarge Negroni Pie at ABV made with Campari, Cinzano 1757 and juniper syrup custard, topped with sweet vermouth whipped cream and orange zest. - WES ROWE
  • Wes Rowe
  • Negroni Pie at ABV made with Campari, Cinzano 1757 and juniper syrup custard, topped with sweet vermouth whipped cream and orange zest.
Day 2: Tuesday
How is life looking through Negroni colored glasses? Good, because it’s time to go at it again.

Boxing Room: Grab a pre-lunch meal Frogroni (Campari, Cocchi Americano, and house-made grapefruit cordial) here when they open at 11:30 a.m.

Absinthe Brasserie: Walk down the block and enjoy lunch with another Negroni then head back to work.

Paragon: Bail from work on the early side (again) and head over here to enjoy their bar menu, with a Negroni, that starts at 2:30 p.m.

Marlowe: Another bar menu means you can keep the early Negroni consumption going while enjoying some good food if you are feeling a little hungry.

Azucar Lounge: It opens at 4 p.m. and they serve food, so if you haven’t eaten yet, get some bites in. because you’ll need it.

Bloodhound: Also opening at 4 p.m. only without the food, it gets you going back in the direction of AT&T ballpark for your next stop.

Alchemist Bar & Lounge: It doesn’t open until 5 p.m., but you will want to get here before 6:30 p.m. because it is close to AT&T Park, where the Giants are playing a home evening game.

Cockscomb: Chris Cosentino serves a Negroni on tap here, but the real draw this night starts at 7 p.m. – a charity dinner with a bottomless Negrowler and tickets are $165. If that’s too rich for your Negroni stained blood, their website indicates they are open for regular service as well, so tap that Negroni along with some oysters and Negroni mignonette.

Dobbs Ferry: Move back over to Hayes Valley and sip drinks at The Dobbs Bar. And by drinks I mean your Negroni.

Alta CA: You know what goes great with a late night Negroni here? An Alta burger and spiced chicken wings.

Day 3: Wednesday
Happy Hump Day! Just kidding, it’s Mission Workout Day. This could also be a good day to stop by Humphry Slocombe and Craftsman and Wolves in the morning or for lunch, because apparently no one on the Negroni list in the Mission does lunch.

ABV: They open the earliest at 2 p.m., so take a late lunch with no intention of going back to work, or create whatever excuse you need. Your Negroni God doesn’t care what lies you need to fabricate, it only cares that you get the Negroni Pie, a mini custard pie made with Campari, Cinzano 1757, and a juniper syrup that is topped with sweet vermouth whipped cream and orange zest. You’ve been drinking all week, so yes, you can have dessert before dinner. You’ve earned it. They also have the Negroni Rosa, using Campari, Brooklyn Gin, Imbue Petal & Thorn Vermouth, and Dolin Blanc Vermouth to give your taste buds a new Negroni to enjoy.

Homestead: Also opening at 2 p.m., this Negroni stop serves its purpose of getting you closer to another Mission early bird.

Trick Dog: If you get here at 4 p.m., it shouldn’t be too crowded since they open at 3. Enjoy your Negroni slowly since they don’t serve food until 5.

Asiento: You know what goes great with Negronis? Tapas. And you can get both here at this stop which opens at 5 p.m.

Urchin Bistrot: The biggest problem with restaurants is they typically close earlier than bars which is why this is your next Negroni visit.

Lolinda Steakhouse: Going from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. is a hosting a guest bartender fundraiser with bartenders from Lolinda, ABV, Lazy Bear, Beretta, and Foreign Cinema. This would be a good time and place to get another Negroni.

Foreign Cinema: Next door to Lolinda makes this an easy stop for another Negroni.

DOSA on Valencia: It closes at 10 p.m., so march around the block with haste to order their Barrel-Aged Negroni, with Campari, St. George Dry Rye Gin, Punt e Mes, white peppercorn, vanilla, cardamom, licorice, and marshmallow, or the South Indian Negroni made with Campari, house-made vermouth, and a DOSA spice mix.

Lolo: You’re chasing the clock right now, because this restaurant closes at 11:30 p.m. and you don’t have time to waste if you’re going to get to the next spot before they close.

Hog & Rocks: Is it midnight? Because now they’re closed. Is it before 11? Then you just got in with time to spare and to take a breather.

Pop’s: It’s Whatever Wednesday at Pop’s, but you’ll probably miss that by the time you pop by here for your penultimate drink of the night.

Rock Bar: Remember the days before rideshares when you would tell a taxi you were heading out to a place like Rock Bar and they would refuse to give you a ride and race away? At least those days are over so you can end your night and close down Rock Bar at 2 a.m.

click to enlarge Humphry Slocombe's Negroni Pops and Negroni Ice Cream. - WES ROWE
  • Wes Rowe
  • Humphry Slocombe's Negroni Pops and Negroni Ice Cream.

Day 4: Thursday

The half-way point of Negroni Week has arrived! For those of you that can only run half-marathons, this is your quitting day.

Scoma’s: Enjoy seafood and a view to go along with your Negroni with a bar that opens at 11 a.m.

Il Fornaio: Grab your second lunch Negroni here since they open at 11:30 a.m. on the weekdays before going back to work to nap in a bathroom stall.

Red Jack Saloon: This could technically be your first stop of the day since they open at 10 a.m., but it also makes for a great post-work/happy hour Negroni stop.

Maggie McGarry's: Another spot that you could start your day with since they open at 11 a.m., but like Red Jack, also serves its purpose for a happy hour fix.

Tony's Pizza Napoletana: Sit at the bar to get your Negroni faster. If you want pizza to nosh on, go next door to Tony’s Slice House and get some to go. Eat it like a New Yorker.

Capo’s: A few blocks away from Tony’s is this sister restaurant where you can order more food and another Negroni. Or just another Negroni.

Doc Ricketts: A brisk walk down Columbus Avenue, if you didn’t go to Off The Grid, gets you to Ricketts where I would order some cured meats to enjoy with a Negroni.

Comstock Saloon: Get a Negroni. Ask to see their Negroni certificate. Take a Selfoni with both of them and post it to your Instagram.

Tosca Café: They’re open until 2 a.m., so you can take your time to get there or take your time drinking your Negroni once you’re there.

click to enlarge The Burritt Negroni made with Campari sorbet, dry gin, house rosé vermouth, and strawberry shrub at the Burritt Room + Tavern.
  • The Burritt Negroni made with Campari sorbet, dry gin, house rosé vermouth, and strawberry shrub at the Burritt Room + Tavern.

Day 5: Friday

Happy Casual Friday! Just kidding! It’s Negroni Day! Again. And there’s nothing casual about this Friday. Think of this week as your version of “Groundhog Day,” only with Negronis. Just don’t try the toaster in the bathtub thing, even if it is a tub full of Negroni.

Level III Bar (JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square Hotel)
: It’s 11 a.m. which means it’s time for the usual first Negroni of lunch. You should be used to this by now.

398 Brasserie: I recently had dinner her and enjoyed the menu, much of which is available during lunch. I suggest a Negroni paired with the poached egg meurette or burger.

BDK Restaurant: Opening at 4 p.m., grab a seat at the bar and sip on a happy hour Negroni. Get a truffle slider if you want something to eat.

Huxley: This place is tiny and only has ten seats at the counter saved for walk-ins. It opens at 5:30 p.m. so I would head here early to ensure you get a seat at the bar for food and a Negroni.

Reverb Kitchen & Bar
: Another situation where you need to cross off the early closing restaurants. They close at 10 p.m., so order a Negroni and move along.

1760: They close at 11 p.m., but they bar is also small enough that you might have a wait if you are ordering anything more than a Negroni.

Off The Grid Fort Mason: Here’s another optional diversion for those that want to try a Rye on the Road bottled Negroni variation. It runs from 5-10 p.m., so stay fast and stay focused.

The European: Head back to The European and sip on a Negroni while enjoying an order of Manchego and rosemary popcorn if you’re still hungry.

Benjamin Cooper: Located above your earlier lunch stop at 398 Brasserie, this is a good place to grab some oysters with their White Negroni, made with Campari caviar, London Dry gin, Gentian, blanc vermouth, & lemon bitters.

Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen: If you’ve been eating along the way, this is solely another Negroni stop. Plus you want to get to the next place ASAP because there might be a wait.

Harper & Rye: Closing at midnight, get another fast Negroni and move on.

Bitters, Bock & Rye: You are the SWAT of Negroni, one drink and you’re on to the next.

R Bar: They sell a lot of Fernet here because they are open until 2 a.m., but skip that and have another Negroni.

Rye: It gets busy on a Friday night, but this is your last stop, so get in there before last call at 2 and order that Negroni.

Day 6: Saturday
It’s the weekend, but your liver gets no rest. You’re so close to the finish, so pick up those feet and shuffle to the land of Negroni, but don’t forget, the weekend is a whole different game, because at least you can sleep in.

The Cavalier: Get here around 11 a.m. for brunch and a Negroni.

MKT Restaurant and Bar (Four Seasons Hotel): Your fancy post-brunch Negroni stop is at this Four Seasons bar.

Living Room Bar (W Hotel): Your second fancy post-brunch Negroni stop is at this bar in the W. 

Smokestack at Magnolia Brewery: Out in the Dogpatch, it’s a trek to get to, but you will be rewarded with some of the city’s best barbecue and a Negroni.

Hi Dive: On Pier 28 1/2, this place opens at 10 a.m., but you slept in, so that’s okay.

Americano Restaurant & Bar (Hotel Vitale): The bar opens at 4:00 p.m. and that’s when you will want to be there because there is still a lot of drinking to do.

Humphry Slocombe (Ferry Building): If you haven’t gotten your Negroni pops or ice cream yet, this is a good time to do so before they close at 7 p.m.

One Market Restaurant: They’re normally open for lunch, but being a Saturday, they don’t open until 5:30 p.m. which gives you a little respite if you’re early.

Southside Spirit House: They open at 6 p.m. on Saturday so this makes it a perfect place to head to after One Market.

Novela Bar: This place can get busy late night on a weekend, so you want to get here on the earlier side if possible to enjoy your Negroni while it is still mellow.

Local Edition: Like Novela, this place gets busy at night with the bridge & tunnel crowd, so the closer to their 7 p.m. opening time you get there, the better.

54 Mint: They close at 10:30 p.m. which is why it ends up as the next Negroni stop.

Dirty Habit: The schedule here on Saturday is different than on weekdays, when it normally fills up fast with the happy hour crowd. On a typical Saturday, it doesn’t start to get busy until 8-8:30 p.m., so get there before that and you should be okay. You will definitely want to get a seat too, because you need to get what can only be described as a Foie-groni dessert made of a foie gras panna cotta with rhurbarb, blueberry, and a Negroni gelee. They close down the bar at midnight, so get there before that to make sure they still are making food.

The House of Shields
: They stay open until 2 a.m. so you can take your time here, but not too long, because there is one stop left.

83 Proof
: The party goes until 2 a.m. so you can drink more than one Negroni here if you want. Or call it off early to rest up for the final day of Negroni Week.

click to enlarge Dirty Habit's negroni gelee served on a foie gras panna cotta with rhurbarb and blueberry. - WES ROWE
  • Wes Rowe
  • Dirty Habit's negroni gelee served on a foie gras panna cotta with rhurbarb and blueberry.

Day 7: Sunday

The last Negroni mile. Run it out hard! Let that Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth pour out of your pores in equal amounts. You are Rocky and today’s drinks are Ivan Drago wearing his Negroni colored trunks. SWEEP THE CAMPARI LEG! And remember, stem cell research is getting better so in 15 years, you can grow a new liver to replace the one you have damaged this week.

Presidio Social Club: They start serving brunch at 10 a.m. so get there no later than that. Get some food if you’re hungry and don’t want to stand in Off The Grid lines. Also, order their barrel aged Negroni to drink at the bar, or take the bottle to go. Isn’t being on Federal land amazing?

Off The Grid Picnic at the Presidio: Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this is your last chance to get that Rye of the Road bottled Negroni and to grab some grub.

Delarosa: They serve brunch until 4 p.m. so this is another chance at scoring some food and a Negroni.

Tommy’s Mexican: It is way out in the Avenues, but that’s why you started early. Tommy’s is known more for their agave selection and margaritas, but they’ll mix you up a Negroni when they open at noon.

Madrone Art Bar
: Opening at 3 p.m. on Sundays, this can be a quick Negroni stop or a lengthier one if you are waiting for the next spots on the list to open.

DOSA on Fillmore: On Sundays they don’t open their doors for dinner until 5:30 p.m., but the special Negroni menu is the same as the one at DOSA on Valencia, so this gives you a chance to try any of those Negronis you didn’t enjoy on Wednesday, or the chance to jump to the next location if you think drinking a Negroni at either DOSA restaurant counts on the scorecard. Although, for the lawyers out there, both locations are listed on the Negroni Week website.

Padrecito: With brunch stopping at 2:30 p.m., you will need to stop here when they open for dinner at 5 p.m. for your Negroni.

Aatxe: This new Basque bistro serving tapas might be what Dr. Negroni orders when you come in here around dinner. Sit at the bar and order the Pup-groni (Campari, Aperol, Big Gin infused with saffron and orange peel, and Alessio Torino) to drink and the gambas, mussels, and octopus to eat, if you don’t have an aversion to shellfish.

Blackbird: They close at 2 a.m. and take credit cards now, so you have lots of time to relax and enjoy your drink before heading to the Negroni Week closing party.

Elixir: Your final stop for the week is the party at Elixir that starts at 9 p.m. and goes until closing. Bartenders from Elixir and The Last Word will be serving $6 Negronis with money and tips going to charity.

In addition to the listed bars and restaurants above, the private club, Wingtip, and Public Works are participating in Negroni Week. If you are a member or know a member and can find time in the busy Negroni Week schedule to make it to Wingtip, bonus points for you. The same goes for squeezing in a show and a Negroni at Public Works.

If you pull this off, you deserve a Negroni colored medal. If you don’t, there is always next year to become a Negroni hero.
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