The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
November 10, 2021

The bar at Trick Dog. Photo via Facebook.

It has been so great to continue to see some of our classic SF cocktail bars come back from 17 months of hibernation, starting with ~TRICK DOG~, which reopened on Halloween (and yes, that is Jennifer Colliau of the Interval at Long Now and Small Hand Foods who has joined the team). While founder Josh Harris and chef Timmy Malloy launched the interim concept of Quik Dog a little over a year ago—offering takeout Mission hot dogs, fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and the famous kale salad—Trick Dog’s conceptual cocktail menus, lively vibe, and talented bar team have been missed. You can take a look at their latest masterwork here. It’s time for a drink. Open daily 4pm-12am. 3010 20th St. at Florida.

Meanwhile, SFGate caught the reopening of ~BOURBON & BRANCH,~ last week. According to B&B’s post on Instagram, “Reservations are available for the Main Bar and can be booked through Yelp. The Library will be open to all. We will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 6pm-midnight, Friday-Saturday from 6pm-2am.”

I loved reading in this other post that their awesome landlord, Chuck Custer, waived their rent for the entire pandemic—how’s that for an uplifting landlord story? Amazing. They did some updates and renovations to the space and menu, and according to a comment, it also sounds like Wilson & Wilson will be reopening soon. 501 Jones St. at O’Farrell.


The Red Tail wine and beer bar in the Inner Sunset. Photo courtesy of The Red Tail.


The grand interior of the St. Joseph’s Arts Society. Photo courtesy of SJAS.

Inner Sunset folks have a new craft beer and natural wine bar called ~THE RED TAIL~ in the former Inner Fog location. It was designed to be a chill spot for folks to hang out, discover a new wild-fermented wine from Sicily, watch the game, and there’s also a Shared Space out front. They’re going to be adding more light bar snacks as well. There are four owners: Conner Frederick, Joel Armijo, Wesley Wakeford, and Ben Sapone, who has owned The Flying Pig in the Mission for the past 10 years (two of the other owners worked for him there). The Red Tail is open Mon-Thu 3pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-12am, and Sun 1pm-11pm (hours subject to change). 545 Irving St. at 7th Ave.

I imagine some of you have been wondering how to check out Ken Fulk’s beautiful St. Joseph’s Art Society in SoMa, and this Three Cups of Nouveau Party on Saturday November 20th should be just the ticket! Broc Cellars, Martha Stoumen Wines, and Scribe Winery will be celebrating the release of each winery’s 2021 nouveau-style wine. There will also be a DJ and a party atmosphere; bites will be available for purchase. Proof of full vaccination and valid ID required for entry. $60. Tickets here. 6pm-9pm. 1401 Howard St. at 10th St.

October 19, 2021

The Bidi Bidi Bum Bum at La Paloma. Photo: Emilio Salehi.


The platform room at Whitechapel. Photo ©

Last Friday October 15th, ~LA PALOMA~ just opened, the new bar at the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Claire Sprouse (Hunky Dory, Buddy) is behind the bar program, with a cocktail menu that heavily showcases women-owned and -made beverage brands like Yola Mezcal, Future Gin, Pueblo Viejo, and Xila.

The cocktails are inspired by and designed to pair with food from the women-owned businesses at The Marketplace, and will offer bar bites and snacks from the vendors after they close at 2:30pm, with items like Kayma’s cocas (Algerian hand pies), Teranga’s butternut squash flatbread and fataya (Senegalese beef empanada), and Estrellita’s Snacks’ housemade Salvadoran tamales. There will also be some rotating pop-ups Thu-Fri 4pm-8pm—don’t miss this Friday October 22nd, when Fernay McPherson of Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement will be serving up her famous fried chicken, mac and cheese, and more. Count. Me. In.

La Paloma will serve cocktails, local beer, and wine Mon-Wed 11am-5pm and Thu- Fri 11am-8pm, with happy hour from 4pm-6pm, which includes $5 draught beers/wine and $7 cocktails/spirits. 101 Hyde St. at Golden Gate.

I was happy to see this post on Instagram last night announcing the reopening of ~WHITECHAPEL~ tonight (October 19th)! The gin palace has an all-new food menu from their new executive chef Alejandro Reccio, and a new drink menu from beverage director Alex Smith. You’ll be able to order via QR codes on each table and pay as you go. There’s also a new pool table! Hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, and until midnight Fri-Sat. 600 Polk St. at Turk.

Just an FYI: ~COMSTOCK SALOON~ had to push their grand opening to Tuesday October 26th. Alas, staffing woes are to blame, a citywide issue. Almost there!

October 5, 2021

The welcoming bar at Ora Wine Bar. Photo courtesy of Ora Wine Bar.


There’s a Shared Space with high-top tables out front. Photo courtesy of Ora Wine Bar.

There’s a new, woman-owned wine bar that just opened on Polk Street: ~ORA WINE BAR~. Owner Sabrina Thillard is an SF native (she grew up in the Sunset and still lives by the beach), and owns Bask in North Beach with her husband Patrick. She is beyond thrilled to open her dream wine bar inside what was the location for the very first See’s store in San Francisco. It has been a looooong work in progress, from finding the right space to finally signing the lease on the space in June 2018, navigating permit hell, and then getting ready to open right when Covid hit. Wah wah. 18 months later, Sabrina is so happy to finally have the doors open.

Her wine list is full of international selections, from Corsica to the Canary Islands to Mexico. She loves to travel through wines, and is also dedicated to highlight women winemakers. Her list carefully designates organic, organic-practicing, certified sustainable, natural, and biodynamic wines. Take a look here (her descriptions make me thirsty). There are local beers (Ghost Town Brewing, Woods), including San Francisco’s first gluten-free beer from Otherwise Brewing, and Far West Cider is also coming (plus some small bites).

The space has its original brick walls, and was designed to have a cozy and welcoming vibe (think: plants and nice lighting). There’s also a Shared Space outside with four high-top tables and sidewalk tables. Hours for now are Thu-Sat 4:30pm-10pm or so. 1519 Polk St. at California.


The bar at Comstock Saloon. Photo: © 2010 Liza Gershman.


The Middlechild at Bar Iris: Japanese gin, verjus blanc, snap pea, tonic. Instagram photo by Ilya Romanov for @bar-iris-sf.

For the past month, I’ve been watching the ~COMSTOCK SALOON~ team on Facebook prepare for reopening their Barbary Coast saloon! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that big lock is coming off the front doors and a Cherry Bounce is in my near future. (And a boot from Flash.) According to a post on SFGate, they have set the reopening date for Tuesday October 19th! Cheers!

Opening Thursday October 14th, is ~BAR IRIS~, the bar adjoining David Yoshimura’s newly opened Restaurant Nisei on Polk. There will be cocktails featuring Japanese ingredients from Ilya Romanov, sake, wine, and beer, plus a few bar snacks. There is both indoor seating in the chic room, and in a Shared Space outside. Open Wed-Fri 5pm-12am, Sat-Sun 3pm-1am. 2310 Polk St. at Green.

Great news about one of my all-time favorite SF standbys: ~DALVA~ is coming back, and getting a big remodel in the process, from new flooring to furniture to bathrooms (hallelujah), although the Art Deco mahogany back bar will stay put! Owner Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud has brought on new partner Eric Ochoa (Elda), and they’ll be updating the cocktail list to be more craft across the board (instead of just in the Hideout in the back, the original home of one of my favorite SF cocktails: the Gin and Celery Tonic ). Stay tuned for more in coming months. 3121 16th St. at Valencia. [Via Eater]

The super-divey ~540 CLUB~ in the Inner Richmond will be coming back this fall as 540 Rogues, with a new ownership team of former bartenders who are taking over (I used to work with former owner Jamie Brown back in my advertising days). They’re going to be updating the space with some much-needed TLC (and the plumbing), and hope to reopen before the end of the year. 540 Clement St. at 6th Ave. [Via Chronicle]