The Lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
January 8, 2019

A look inside Obispo (just before service on New Year’s Eve). Instagram photo by @knucklesamwick.


The wicked-looking Cubano at Obispo. Instagram photo by @knucklesamwick.


The bar at Zombie Village. Instagram photo via @thezombievillage.

The wait is over: Thad Vogler’s ~OBISPO~ is now open in the Mission, a cocktail bar featuring quality rums that pass Vogler’s exacting criteria and vision (a lens that is made from his love of terroir and rhum agricole and provenance and small-scale, artisan spirits, topics he explores in his recent book, By the Smoke and the Smell).

Vogler is one of our most thoughtful barmen, and is sensitive to some of the issues his bar inherently contains, like rum’s colonial history and origin as a product made by African diaspora and slaves on sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean, and a white man opening a bar in the heart of the Mission on 24th Street. He is partnering with Calle 24 and MoAD on the project (and working with them on the folk art in the bar), and they will receive some of the bar’s profits. He has ensured his staff all speak Spanish, the menu is in Spanish, and he is trying to keep prices affordable for neighbors. (I recommend reading through Esther Mobley’s in-depth piece on Obispo.)

As far as the cocktails, you’ll see three kinds of Mojitos, an El Presidente, ‘Ti Punch, and more, all $12 and under. This is also the perfect place to drink rum neat and ask questions and learn. The food menu includes empanadas, maduros, tostones, a Cubano sandwich, Jamaican oxtail curry, and grilled chicken, all dishes from rum-producing cultures and places. I’ll be posting more very soon on @tablehopper—I’ve been looking forward to this place opening for years (like many). Open daily 6pm-2am. 3266 24th St. at Capp.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Future Bars team has opened another tiki bar, ~ZOMBIE VILLAGE~, in the former Tradition in the Tenderloin (they are also behind the popular Pagan Idol in the Financial District). The décor is definitely over the top: expect plenty of skulls, thatched huts, totems, and umbrella drinks. You can also rent private tiki huts. Open Mon-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat 6pm-2am, closed Sun. 441 Jones St. at O’Farrell.

Another closure on Polk Street: ~BLUR~ is closing this Saturday January 12th after 15 years of keeping many of us “well-hydrated” over the years (their two-for-one happy hour put the hurt on many). That stretch of Polk Street is going through big changes: Hemlock, Vertigo… Thanks for all the blurry memories. 1121 Polk St. at Post. [Via Eater.]

December 11, 2018

Jolene’s Bar is creating a safe, queer, and fun space in the Mission. Instagram photo via @jolenessf.

We have sadly been losing many queer bars and spaces in San Francisco over the years, which is why I’m so happy when we see a new queer bar open! I’ve been tracking the progress of ~JOLENE’S BAR~ on Instagram the past few months, and hot damn, they are grand opening this Saturday December 15th (at 4pm!) in the former Dear Mom space in the Mission.

The project is from Jolene Linsangan, Ashleigh Wilson, and Shannon Amitin, and is going to feature nightly entertainment (look for upcoming parties with Swagger Like Us, and the relaunch of UHAUL this Friday the 14th as a sneak peek party!), craft cocktails, and NorCal bar food. And brunch (launching on the 22nd)! Woot woot. Come by this weekend (Sat-Sun) from 4pm-2am for the grand opening. Check the website calendar for hours and events as they ramp up. 2700 16th St. at Harrison.


All the bubbles! The scene at Arlequin’s Champagne tasting 2012. Photo from Facebook.

One of my favorite annual events, ~ARLEQUIN WINE MERCHANT~’s Champagne Tasting is happening this Thursday December 13th. You’ll find over 50 pours from grower-producers to grandes marques (Krug, Pol Roger, etc.), and the best part is you get a special discount on any of the featured Champagnes you fall in love with (while supplies last!). It’s three hours of pure Champagne bliss, let me tell you.

Tickets are $75, $80 at the door. 5pm-8pm.