Alongside cocktails at new eating places like Bar Sprezzatura, Rosemary and Pine, Montesacro Marina, La Société and Tenderheart — or these 5 earlier this 12 months, these seven bars are price visiting now and into the brand new 12 months…and a few at present supply particular vacation decor & drinks:
New Chinatown Cocktail Haven: Blind Pig Speakeasy Lounge, Chinatown
Derrick Li’s Blind Pig Speakeasy opened October 15, 2022, in an expansive second ground house on a major Chinatown nook of California and Grant. In 2023, will probably be Martin Yan’s new location for MY China restaurant, which closed 2020 within the Westfield Mall within the peak of pandemic. As soon as MY China opens within the historic house, the bar will transfer to the third ground. The large former Cathay Home is over 80 years previous, it’s roomy flooring evoking Thirties Shanghai-meets-historic-SF-Chinatown with a speakeasy-esque unmarked entrance. Flooring-to-ceiling home windows supply dramatic views over Chinatown with cable vehicles passing by, with cozy couches and particular person seating sections flank a half circle bar.
Li bartended at Chilly Drinks at China Dwell and is bar director at Sushi Sato, having been a graphic designer in China, however taking rapidly to bartending, lately successful the West Coast regionals on the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild World Class competitors, inserting fifteenth within the nation. Asian-inspired elements weave by all of Li’s cocktails whereas he has future plans for lots of the cocktails to function Chinese language baijiu, as a pair drinks do now. Making an attempt all 10 drinks on the preliminary menu, there’s a little one thing for all, veering from spirituous and smoky (the mushroom-tinged Smoke Umami) to tart-yet-lush (TP Gimlet, rounded out with banana and salty taro pandan). Li’s Ming-Shi Highball is a refreshing but baiju-forward standout that includes Ming River Baijiu, Van Gogh mango vodka, Cocchi Rosa, pineapple cordial, lime, basil and cucumber. It has a refined sweetness evoking Japanese Hello-Chew candies with balanced baijiu funk. One other standout is the milk-washed Scorching & Bitter with mushy aromatics of crimson pepper skins, Tanqueray Gin, Iichiko Shochu, Chareau aloe liqueur, rose, chili paste, basil, citrus and Peychaud’s bitters.
// 718 California Avenue; www.yelp.com/biz/blind-pig-speakeasy-lounge-san-francisco
Low Proof Christmas Delights with Spanish Tapas: Purple Window, North Seaside
I’ve been writing about Elmer Mejicanos drinks a very long time, from his 11 years with pizza grasp Tony Gemignani at his numerous pizza mecca eating places to his world traveler menus at 25 Lusk. I actually wrote about Purple Window when it opened, with Spanish tapas and past from chef Adam Rosenblum (additionally chef/proprietor of Causwells), Mejicanos cocktails and a beautiful GM and workforce who preserve it festive.
Operating by December 31 is their vacation menu with a stupendous run of low-ABV drinks (Mejicanos has lengthy had a hand with sherry and the like), like a blessedly savory 50/50 Martini amped up with juniper tincture and an olive oil wash. There are mini-shots, like Boozy Egg Nog, and a placing Blue Christmas cocktail served in a transparent Christmas decoration ball glass on ice. However of the six cocktails I tasted, I used to be mesmerized by three specifically:
— Nutcracker is for all us Trinidad Bitter followers, lovers of lovely bitter and vacation spice. It’s a heavy Angostura bitters-based cocktail (and thus rosy crimson), balanced by bourbon, lemon and orgeat (almond syrup).
— Santa’s Gin Fizz: don’t let it’s placement on the backside of the menu allow you to look over this magnificence. It’s for all Ramos Gin Fizz-obsessed (and who of their proper thoughts — having tried a correct one — isn’t?) Bartender Emma Mahoney nailed this one. It’s basically a basic gin fizz however praline syrup and pecans. No, it’s not a candy, cloying bomb like some pretty pralines might be. Its refined, nutty, solely whispers of candy, letting that mushy, seltzer-lazed citrus creaminess shine.
— Coquito is served in a coconut. At all times a winner however significantly better if the cocktail is top-notch. And this melange of low proof spiced and coconut rum, manzanilla sherry, coconut milk, condensed milk, vacation spice combine and Angostura bitters is a light-weight, creamy dream that tastes like xmas in Hawaii or on a tropical isle.
I couldn’t make it out to all the vacation menus I wanted to this 12 months (particularly Kona’s Avenue Market Sippin’ Santa and Miracle at PCH) however I’m certain glad I made it to Purple Window’s. These are rattling scrumptious cocktails and not less than much less responsible given the low proof nature. Comfortable holidays, certainly.
// 500 Columbus Avenue, www.theredwindow.com
Intensive Martini Menu: St. Regis Bar, SoMa
Whereas I wrote in regards to the St. Regis San Francisco’s attractive rework and Bloody Mary menu (The St. Regis being house to the creation of the Bloody Mary in NY in 1934) earlier this 12 months, it feels just like the glowing new bar is now in full type with the launch of their intensive Martini Menu on November 18. Partnering with my beloved SF Jazz and cocktail garnish firm, Filthy, they threw a giant jazz shebang to roll out the menu, full with cocktail demos by pioneering bartender and creator Tony Abou-Ganim, who made his title in San Francisco within the Nineties at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room (beneath beneath the Beacon Grand), the place he created his famed Cable Automobile cocktail.
Whereas sampling comforting bar bites like muhammara dip or panko-crusted brief rib bomba oozing Mt. Tam cheese, there’s a martini to go well with each palate, from gin (the OG martini) to those that want a vodka martini, lemon twists to olives, shaken or stirred. Whispers of London’s nice Duke’s (arguably the best martini bar on this planet) are on the menu, although there are not any tableside carts. Marriott Worldwide’s director of beverage Gary Gruver created the menu with Abou-Ganim consulting, concerned in coaching and schooling.
A variety of London Dry or New Western gins are on supply, in levels of dryness and “soiled” ranges, together with “Filthy” with a delightfully piquant hit of Filthy’s olive brine. I’m about many kinds of gin, so there are a number of variations to like right here, together with pretty Japanese and Scottish renditions, whereas 50:50 martinis blessedly allow you to go decrease proof as wanted. The addition of this considerate, intensive martini menu makes the reborn St. Regis really feel extra like a vacation spot bar for locals, too.
// 125 third Avenue, www.marriott.com/en-us/lodges/sfoxr-the-st-regis-san-francisco/eating
Rooftop Delights with a View: Rise Over Run, Union Sq./Tenderloin
In some methods, I’m reluctant to write down in regards to the fab new rooftop bar, Rise Over Run within the new LINE Lodge, as a result of I don’t need it to be as mobbed as different rooftop bars (like close by Charmaine’s or KAIYO Rooftop). However alongside the LINE’s new restaurant downstairs, Tenderheart (reviewed right here), Rise opened October 14, 2022, on the lodge’s rooftop with good views over downtown SF, warmth lamps, intimate corners and open areas punctuated by hearth pits. Vegetation, bushes and fruit bushes develop within the middle, imparting a lush really feel. Even higher, on my preliminary visits, it has been chill with house for all. I anticipate that won’t final however hopefully standing crowds get relegated to an space they could use for standing patrons, ideally leaving tables and the indoor, glass walled atrium with bar for reservations and walk-ins.
I’ll get into chef Joe Hou’s shareable meals later this month in my December Eats Guidelines (have enjoyable with Korean-spiced fried rooster thighs dipped in three completely different sauces). On the drink aspect — alongside some alternative pours, like 2019 Forlorn Hope Queen of the Sierra Zinfandel/Barbera mix or attractive Sawahime Junmai Ginjo sake by the glass — Danny Louie’s cocktails are the place it’s at. Some taste profiles are tremendous refined, like dill-infused Lillet in The Connection (extra dill, please!), enjoying with rum, amaro, pear, coconut and citrus. Tuk Tuk Julius is daring and playful, as if Orange Julius opened in Thailand and went connoisseur with fantastically balanced rum, vodka, Thai tea, mandarin, citrus and cream.
// 33 Turk Avenue, www.thelinehotel.com/san-francisco/restaurants-bars/rise-over-run
Glowing New Dogpatch Bar & Agave Respite: Bar Piccino, Dogpatch
The glowing Bar Piccino opened in Dogpatch on the bottom of Piccino restaurant August 2022. Whereas I had a strong, if not memorable, brunch at Piccino since reopening a number of months in the past (I’ve dined there sporadically because it initially opened in 2006), I lately had a wealthy expertise at Bar Piccino. Assembly new mates and previous, it was a heat communal house gathering on the Carrara marble and Monterey cypress bar on Italian leather-based barstools (backed by a standing bar, a standing parklet and intimate, tiny lounge).
Service is essential: I’d go wherever bar supervisor Andi Miller is bartending (extra lately operating the bar at Third Rail), whereas her love of agave spirits (recalling her days as lead bartender at Arguello, working with cocktail pioneer Enrique Sanchez) means once more she has a again bar of distinctive and uncommon tequila, mezcal, raicilla, sotol, alongside a spread of spirits. Home cocktails (the built-in Cloudview is bracing and wonderful with coconut-washed gin, apricot, lemon, bergamot, honey, bitters with a Champagne float) and amped up classics (like Andi’s Negroni that includes mezcal, her scrumptious home vermouth mix, pineapple rum, strawberry-infused aperitivo) showcase Miller’s balanced hand with drinks, whereas housemade syrups and shrubs function produce from Piccino’s Healdsburg farm. I didn’t get to strive any bites from chef Daniella Banchero, however altering crudo and native anchovy fritti dipped in pickled inexperienced tomato “piccata” aioli referred to as to me. It is a win for the neighborhood and one other vacation spot Dogpatch bar.
// 1003 Minnesota Avenue, www.barpiccino.com
Whisk(e)y Library, Dwell Piano & Historical past: Beacon Grand, Union Sq.
The historic (since 1928) Sir Francis Drake lodge off Union Sq. modified arms in pandemic and reopened earlier in 2022 because the Beacon Grand lodge. Fortunately, they’ve gone with a way of historical past and wonder in restoring the grand staircase, opening Beacon Lounge, and a wood-paneled whisk(e)y library on the mezzanine beneath lofty, dramatic ceilings with dwell music across the grand piano. In addition they are working to revive the historic Harry Denton’s Starlight Room atop the lodge with its gorgeous views, properly consulting with Tony Abou-Ganim, a pioneering barman who ran the bar at Harry Denton’s within the Nineties and created his famed Cable Automobile cocktail there. The final rework gave it an odd, white, clubby vibe so right here’s hoping for among the darkish allure of the OG Denton’s to return with these spectacular SF and Bay views.
Downstairs on the Beacon Lounge, beverage supervisor and “Whiskey Steward” Meg Benshalom is operating the bar and home barrel-aged spirits program, one thing that may really feel dated to longtimers within the cocktail renaissance. However she’s pushing it into enjoyable territory past what has been trod the previous 15-ish years: assume international barrel aged cocktails like Mexican whiskey backed by clarified lime; milk and honey whisky from Israel with apricot, pomegranate, thyme and lemon bitters; a Route 66-inspired bourbon cocktail. A few of these spirituous cocktails run a contact candy, however every are thoughtfully layered, whereas there may be a further checklist of drinks operating past the booze-forward. The intensive whisk(e)y choice doesn’t endure from the markup needed at most impartial bars given its lodge backing, so Beacon is a “secret” tip for locals who need to sip whiskies at value in a historic setting, newly refreshed (one other professional tip: don’t miss that black truffle darkish chocolate popcorn, a perfect bar snack with whiskies).
// 450 Powell Avenue, https://beacongrand.com
Cheeky-Enjoyable Christmas & Chill Area: Commerce Routes, Polk Gulch
Remembering a winter’s punch this January at Commerce Routes, which opened Summer time 2021 on bar crawl mecca Polk Avenue, I returned this month for his or her Christmas cheer. Co-owners Ryan McCargar, Chen-Chen Huo and Jay Ryoo have taken to adorning the place themselves for a second 12 months, resulting in all method of magical, fully-decked-out enjoyable from stuffed reindeer to a super-cute, furry white owl on the bar. Tinsel and large vacation ornaments dangle from the ceiling whereas home favorites embody Frosty the Slushie. On the drier, much less candy aspect, From Cranberry, With Love goes the cranberry-mezcal-lemon route dotted with contemporary cranberries, whereas Cheeky Cheer is a straightforward drinker of gin, Drambuie, rosemary and lemon. Drinks are simple however the setting and repair are all good cheer on this welcoming neighborhood bar.
// 1750 Polk Avenue, www.traderoutesbar.com
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