The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
April 25, 2017

Want to learn more about what’s in your glass? Good idea. Here are a few opportunities coming up, starting with The School of Booze from Anchor Distilling Company on Sunday May 7th. This day class will be at The City Club, and your ticket includes four Educational Drinking seminars to learn more about what’s in the glass, and some snacks too. You’ll get to attend Gin: A Historical & Stylistic Perspective, with Anchor Distilling’s Executive Director of Education Alan Kropf; Spirits, Before & After, with award-winning writer and bartender St. John Frizell; The Spirits of History: Woven Through Wormwood, with John Troia, owner of Tempus Fugit Spirits; and Whisk(e)y Exposed, with Andrew Friedman, founder of the Washington State Bartenders’ Guild. 1pm-4pm. Tickets are $60 (or $110 for two, with a free jar of Luxardo cherries). The City Club of San Francisco, 155 Sansome St. at Pine.

How is bourbon made? What defines the different styles of sake? What makes the wines of Bordeaux so revered? If you have wondered these questions, you may be interested in Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Week’s open house events in San Francisco and Napa, showcasing “Grape to Grain” education experience for the “beverage curious.”

Thursday May 4th is at the Napa Valley Wine Academy CA (6pm-8pm), with an open house and alumni get-together with sparkling wines and nibbles. Mingle, meet WSET instructors and alumni, and enjoy bubbles and bites. $10 registration fee (includes nibbles and wine tasting). 2501 Oak Street, Napa.

Then on Thursday May 11th, come by the Grape Experience Wine & Spirit School (6pm-8pm) for the WSET Open House event, which will present WSET wine, spirits, and sake courses along with a tasting of some great wines using the WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting. Participants will be able to meet instructors, see materials and even sign up for an upcoming course. Book here. Holiday Inn, 1500 Van Ness Ave. at Pine.

April 18, 2017

Cala and Amarás mezcal are hosting a series of mezcal dinners on last Mondays. Instagram photo via @calasf.


Family Craft with Fort Point Beer and New York chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske of Contra and Wildair.

Here are some fun wine, mezcal, and beer dinners for you to check out. Coming up on Sunday April 23rd is a Palmina Wines dinner with winemaker Steve Clifton at ~RICH TABLE~. Chef Evan Rich is busting out his spin on an Italian “red sauce” menu (think roasted sweetbread picatta, Monterey squid Fra Diavolo, and eggplant Parmesan). $65 four-course menu, with optional $55 wine pairings from Palmina. Reservations are available online at, or by emailing, from 5pm-10:30pm.

~CALA~ is continuing their Monday mezcal dinners on the last Monday of each month, so the next one is this Monday April 24th. Cala and Amarás mezcal host a five-course dinner paired with a selection of mezcales led by bar manager Marsilio Gabuardi. The menu is designed specifically to pair with the unique expression of each mezcal. This month’s dinner will feature Amarás Mezcal with the opportunity to taste some of their unreleased selection of mezcales. (Mezcal Amarás reinvests 15% of their gross profits to improve ecological, economic, and social sustainability in the mezcal producing regions where the companies works.) It’s a small group, just 12 spots (tickets here). $125. 7pm-10pm.

You may want to hop on these tickets soon: on May 17th and 18th, chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske of New York’s Contra and Wildair will be joining Fort Point Beer Company in putting on a special dinner. It’s part of a national food and beer series called Family Craft, brought to you by October, a new craft beer site from Pitchfork. 6pm and 8:30pm seatings. $125 for multi-course dinner with beer pairings (tax and gratuity included). Tickets here.

April 4, 2017

The glam bar, with just five seats. All photos: ©


The main room, with the new skylights.


Wayfare Tavern classics like deviled eggs and prime steak tartare are on the menu.


A peek into the private room in the former gold vault.

The historic 1907 building that houses ~WAYFARE TAVERN~ has revealed a new flourish on the fourth floor: ~THE SEQUOIA~. Former offices were converted into this upstairs bar with a vintage SF gentleman’s club feeling, complete with tables that have checkerboard and backgammon designs on them (you can also play dominoes). There’s a bar with five seats, where you can perch next to Adam “Boots” Brogan, who is the lead bartender and can tell you all about the inspiration behind The Night Owl (it’s like a cross between a Vieux Carré, Boulevardier, and Sazerac, made with rye, Cognac, Campari, Bénédictine, absinthe, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and it’s deeeeelicious).

Ken Fulk is behind the design, which includes hand-painted wallpaper in the former gold vault room that looks like malachite—there’s room for about 5 or 6 in that private little spot (and a bunch of whiskey). They also took all the plaster off the walls, revealing some beautiful brick. And they added a skylight, so if you get there after work you’ll be able to admire some beautiful skyscrapers (and natural light coming in). There are a variety of tables with bistro chairs and banquettes, plus a spacious corner booth for a large group and wingback chairs in the corner. The leopard carpet is another nice touch. Rawr. The project took about two years to complete.

You can order quite the spread of Wayfare Tavern favorites off the menu, from the tarragon-spiked deviled eggs ($14) to the much-adored prime beef tartare ($17), which comes with housemade chips. You can also enjoy seafood like oysters (be sure to check the price on those before you order, just a heads-up), shrimp cocktail ($23), and a chilled Maine lobster ($20 for half, $35 whole), or saddle up for a heartier main, including the famed Tavern burger ($22)—get an egg on that bad boy—and the fried chicken ($28), always juicy with its buttermilk brine. Here’s the menu—love the vintage design of it.

The cocktail list ($14) includes some classics, like an Aviation or the lesser-known Scofflaw, or more recent creations, like a Secret Crush (brut rosé, Campari, sugar, bitters) from New York’s Employees Only. They all feature swank touches, including elegant engraved glassware and little brass ball-tipped cocktail picks. There is a selection of wines by the glass and three beers on tap, as well.

For now, The Sequoia is open Thu-Sat only, 5pm-11pm. You can make a reservation online at through Resy, and then when you arrive, take the elevator to the left of Wayfare Tavern to the fourth floor. They are renting out the 40-seat space for parties (it’s so perfect) and can fit up to 80 for a standing reception. 558 1/2 Sacramento St. at Leidesdorff.

March 28, 2017

The cozy interior of Two Sisters Bar and Books. Photo via Two Sisters.

Regulars at ~TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS~ will be sorry to learn the duo is moving on from their little San Francisco library/bar nest. They opened in 2011 and have become quite the hideout for the neighborhood. It ends up they have been looking for a place in the East Bay for the next phase of their dreams, so sisters Mikha Diaz and Alana O’Neal will be working on their next venture, ~LES ARCEAUX~. It will be a café and wine bar right on Shattuck Avenue, just north of the Downtown Berkeley BART station. They hope to be open by fall of this year and will continue their Monday Night Mixology classes there.

Diaz will also be planning a cocktail bar in the East Bay with Kathryn Kulczyk and Branden Cardelli, which they hope to have ready in 2018. Another update for next year as well: their bartender “Michael Cecconi is in the necessary permitting processes with the federal government to bring his line of bottled cocktails into your homes in 2018.” Cheers.

For now, the license is being transferred, and when it looks like they are about 30 days out, they will send a letter notifying their community and will post a note on their website. So go visit the sisters and their tight crew for a final Back 40 while you can. 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655.


A look at the main bar from the upstairs mezzanine. Instagram photo via @tequilamockingbar.

Here are a couple of watering holes where you’ll be able to pull up a stool. First up, Dennis Leary (behind bars House of Shields, Natoma Cabana, Rx, and Cafe Terminus) is opening ~TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD~ in the former DaDa space in SoMa (which moved to Post Street). Considering Leary’s literary background, the pun is no surprise.

Look for straightforward cocktails and a good selection of tequila and mezcal, according to Eater. You can peep the agave-forward menu here. There will be 14 drafts! There are some brightly upholstered bar stools and an upstairs private booth, with eclectic pendant lights and an illuminated star behind the bar that you won’t miss. It opens Thursday March 30th, and hours will be Mon-Sat 2pm-2am. 86 2nd St. at Jessie, 415-797-9262.

Within a couple of months or so, ~THE RESIDENCE~ will be closing up, and new owners Justin Lew and Ian Scalzo (of the stylin’ Horsefeather on Divis) will be opening their bar, ~NOBLE SAVAGE~ (the name may change!), although there aren’t any details on the concept at this time. Hoodline reports that Residence co-owner Peter Paul Garcia is literally sailing off into the sunset (don’t call it a retirement!) and opening a sailing charter business in the Caribbean with his wife Erica. 718 14th St. at Church.

March 21, 2017

Entrance to Ruby Skye. Yelp photo by Andrew D.

After 17 years of EDM shows with saucer-eyed patrons, ~RUBY SKYE~ (or as I have called it, Boobie Sky) is closing in a month or so. Hoodline reports that Nate Valentine (Tipsy Pig, Harper & Rye, Padrecito, and Mamacita) is taking over the massive and historic space (the Native Sons of the Golden West Building). His partners are SnowBall Ventures founders Chad Donnelly and Scott Murphy (no, they aren’t coke dealers, they’re behind the SnowGlobe music festival in Lake Tahoe). They will be opening ~AUGUST HALL~ later this year, which will still be a nightclub, but “50 percent EDM/DJ nights, 45 percent rock bands and other live music, and a handful of comedy shows.” There will be an upstairs cocktail bar (the Green Room), and the downstairs Slide is going to be converted into a three-lane bowling alley (The Fifth Arrow), with food from Todd Shoberg, previously of Mill Valley’s Molina. 420 Mason St. at Geary.

After last week’s news that Speakeasy Ales & Lagers was closing its taproom and brewing operation, it ends up it will keep on brewing and selling beer for the next 45 days while a new owner is in line to buy the operation. So Big Daddy IPA is still here for you. [Via Hoodline.]