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Cocktails & Spirits

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WesBurger N’ More Decides on a Drinks Menu

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 4:00 PM

  • The Passion of the Wes
  • Wes Rowe

After having a party in which various restaurateurs and mixologists from the Greater Mission Metropolitan Area competed to see whose punch won the most fans, WesBurger N’ More has finally made some selections. The burgers for this brick-and-mortar — which evolved from Wes Rowe’s long-running pop-up at Mojo Bicycle Café — had been in the works for awhile, but there was much gnashing of teeth to get the “N’ More” part just right.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

St. George's Baller Ups the Single-Malt Whiskey Game Again

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM

  • St. George Spirits
St. George Spirits is at it again.

Alameda's world-class craft distillery has just released its newest single-malt, Baller, which Master Distiller Lance Winters calls “a California take on the Japanese spin on Scotch whisky.” 

Winters always has an eclectic way of describing what he creates and his whimsy just adds to how much damn fun it is to drink something from St. George. Drinking Baller opens up the thought in my head of which exactly of the hundreds — thousands? — of casks that rest ever so patiently at their Alameda distillery that this came from? It tastes the way the distillery floor smells, and I love that about it. 

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wildhawk Is a Cipher, But It’s Also a Bar

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 1:30 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

Rebecca Solnit has been on a tear lately.

The notable writer and San Francisco resident of 35 years, known for penning the most intellectually vigorous takedown to date of the city’s tech shuttle culture advocates, recently wrote an impassioned essay in The Guardian about the murder of Alex Nieto. “Death by Gentrification” made many compelling points, but was later called out by San Francisco Magazine’s Joe Eskenazi for presenting an incomplete picture. Last weekend, Solnit did a Facebook drive-by of Wildhawk, the PlumpJack Group venue that recently opened where longtime Mission lesbian bar The Lexington Club used to be.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Highly Anticipated Horsefeather to Open Next Week

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 10:30 AM

The Red Rooster. (pineapple, brown sugar, Ancho Reyes, riesling, soda water and Aperol) - HORSEFEATHER
  • Horsefeather
  • The Red Rooster. (pineapple, brown sugar, Ancho Reyes, riesling, soda water and Aperol)

is almost here. The restaurant and cocktail bar project from Justin Lew, Ian Scalzo, (both Future Bars Co. alums — think Local Edition, Bourbon & Branch) and Chef Ryan Chinchilla (who hails from Foreign Cinema and Blue Plate) is slated to open sometime next week.

The former Ziryab space, so far, seems to be nothing but a long series of teasers. First, Ziryab underwent a revamp in 2013, which included a relatively successful cocktail program from Zachary Taylor (Hog & Rocks). Then, it shuttered, thus paving the way for Lew and Scalzo who applied for a liquor license in the space and taunted us with a temporary pop-up bar in the name of TSK/TSK, with an offering of unique and playful cocktails.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Bar Fight: The Hi-Lo Club vs. Harper & Rye

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Harper & Rye's expansive backbar. - PHOTO BY MIKE VANGEL.
  • Photo by Mike Vangel.
  • Harper & Rye's expansive backbar.

The continued Marinafication of the dining scene on Polk Street is something of a microcosm for what’s happening in the rest of San Francisco. But even though that’s resulted in the closure of some old landmarks, a few of the spots taking their places are brilliant in their own right. Among them: the Hi-Lo Club, and Harper & Rye.

Each weighing in around the two-to-three year class — still young, but old enough to have their shit figured out — both have established themselves as hotspots for mixed drinks along the Polk Street Strip. Time for a face-off.
So I visited both on a recent weeknight with a good friend and discerning drinker. We started at Hi-Lo, taking seats at the bar just as the bartender, a flannel-clad brunette with a slight smoker’s rasp, was asking another patron how she took her martinis:

“How dirty? Like totally nasty, don’t-tell-your-mom-dirty?”

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Bar Fight: Brass Tacks Vs. Two Sisters

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 2:00 AM

click image This might get rough. - EVERETT COLLECTION/REX FEATURES, VIA THE GUARDIAN.
  • Everett Collection/Rex Features, via the Guardian.
  • This might get rough.

In a city brimming with brilliant bars, how’s a person supposed to decide where to go for a decent drink? Introducing: Bar Fight, a one-man mission to hit up San Francisco’s finest watering holes, and pit them against each other two at a time, drink by drink, to see who does it best.

The rules are: entirely made up. I’ll try to pick two bars in the same neighborhood with a similar aesthetic (i.e. dives won’t go up against “craft cocktail” places), giving focus both to new spots and to veterans. That said, because (most) barkeeps are capable of pulling a beer, this will necessarily skew towards places that make drinks. Most of the focus will go to the drink itself, to maintain some semblance of objectivity, but points are also given for style, ambiance, etc. Let the games begin!

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Fairmont Hotel Takes Modern Approach to Classic Cocktails

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 4:05 PM

  • The Fairmont Hotel
  • The Right Word

There's a reason why the classics become classics. They're timeless, and they're damn good. In the realm of cocktails, familiar names like Martini, Old Fashioned, Boulevardier, Manhattan, immediately come to mind. If you're going to tinker with drinks like these, you best be careful, lest you unleash an uproar. Recently, the Fairmont hotel took on the precarious task with the introduction of its "Classics, Perfected" menu. Eight simple standards, tweaked ever-so-slightly, to reflect a modern approach. Here are the standouts worth heading up the hill for.

If you've never been to the Polynesian-themed Tonga Room in the lower terrace level of the Fairmont, you're missing out on a serious segment of local cocktail lore. It's cheesy, touristy, kitschy, and undeniably awesome. It's also a setting destined for Mai Tais and tropical Punch bowls. Although you can find the new drinks down here, they're better suited to the elegant lobby bar, Laurel Court, just upstairs. Settle in between the large marble pillars, and have the barkeep fire up a Right Word, a floral variation on the venerable Final Word. With Bombay Sapphire Gin as its base, the ensemble of Lillet Blanc and St. Germain liqueur sculpts juniper berry into a calming symphony of herbaceousness. Bright, and slightly acidic, it takes on a greater degree of accessibility than its anise-laden progenitor.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bobby Lozoff: Local Liquor Legend and Inventor of the Tequila Sunrise

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Bobby Lozoff - JOSE CUERVO
  • Jose Cuervo
  • Bobby Lozoff

To earn the title of legend in the booze business, you need carry some serious credentials to the table. Enter Sausalito native, Bobby Lozoff. A Bay Area bartender with some 50 years of experience behind the stick, the man invented the Tequila Sunrise, introduced it to the Rolling Stones on their infamous 1972 tour, and slung spirits to some of the biggest rock stars of the '60s and '70s. A resume such as that comes with a stable of certifiably insane anecdotes. Without too much discretion, here are a few of Lozoff's most cherished memories.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

That's Classified: Trick Dog Has a New Menu

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Clockwise from left: Chemtrails, the Reptilian Elite, Crop Circle. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Clockwise from left: Chemtrails, the Reptilian Elite, Crop Circle.

In this age of heavily redacted government documents, over-classification, and NSA bureaucrats spying on Congress and then lying about it, it’s good to know that someone out there is still pursuing the truth about Roswell, N.M., and David Icke’s secret government of Lizard People. Trick Dog, the very highly regarded Mission bar with the proclivity for elaborate cocktail menus, has done it again.

This latest compendium of 12 cocktails happens to be a physically attractive object, too, more like a dossier on an enemy of the state than a message that Inspector Gadget would read only for it to self-destruct. (It better not; the food menu is still yet to be worked out.)

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

CUESA's The Art of the Modern Drink: Winter Cocktails of the Farmers Market

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 12:00 PM

  • Photos by Amanda Lynn Photography and Katie Newburn Photography

In just a few weeks, CUESA, San Francisco’s own non-profit dedicated to educate us urbanites on sustainable agriculture, will be hosting another of their grand cocktail events in the Ferry Building.

The Art of the Modern Drink will kick off the new year’s boozy must-attend parties on Wednesday, Jan. 27, starting at 5:30 p.m., which is super convenient because it’s my mom’s birthday, so now I have something exciting to take her to.

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