This bar knows exactly what it wants to be: a comfortable neighborhood watering hole. Together for 10 years after meeting as bartenders at Tunnel Top, the three owners have never really left the northeast quarter of The City. Lori Martens, Christopher Keith and Justin Mulford struck out on their own, opened KoKo Cocktails on a block that mostly offered services to the homeless, then lost the location on Geary Street between Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street to the forthcoming California Pacific Medical Center’s hospital project on Cathedral Hill. Read More
No longer just the land of Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, or tempranillo and garnacha (aka grenache), Spanish wine flavors have diversified immensely. Terrific wines are being made all over the country from a variety of grapes. More than any other area, the northwest has become a playground for those who want to try what were until recently considered esoteric varietals. Read More
When I sent Akiba’s menu to a food-obsessive friend, he was stymied. “I’m not seeing much that’s unique here. Am I missing something?”
On the face, it looks to be a standard-issue Asian creperie and cafe. Similar renditions of Akiba’s sweet and savory crepes can be nabbed at Belly Good or Sophie’s in Japantown.
For drinks, there’s bubble tea, mango jelly soda and a “beer taste beverage” called Fine Free that proudly boasts a 0.0 percent alcohol content. Read More
In the four years since this Tiki-est of all Tiki bars opened, it has deservedly made several lists of the best bars and cocktails. Two hundred bottles of rum are on display in this adult version of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. From the outside, one could easily pass by without even knowing a three-level bar existed behind the blacked-out door, which enhances the hidden-cove vibe. Once inside, it’s like an exploded pirate ship seen through the eyes of someone on an acid trip. Read More
The last quarter of the year starts in just a few weeks, and if you are in the sparkling wine business that means you have dollar signs for eyes. I’m more than happy to drink bubbles any time of year (or day), but Q4 and Valentine’s Day, are when most sane people stock up on fizz.
Champagne will be saved for later in the year, as it does not fit our $15-and-under mold. Cava, prosecco, sekt and California sparkling wines also will be postponed until the air gets crisper. But for Indian summer, I can think of three sparkling wines that are perfect sippers. The medals go to: Read More
My friend Mike insists on bringing out-of-town relatives to Loló, though he’d list other restaurants as his favorites. I’ve got a few theories why.
First, it’s sophisticated but unpretentious, a place for Midwestern visitors to feel comfortable (maybe even cool). Next, it’s in the Mission, a neighborhood your auntie probably learned about on the Food Network. And, most importantly, Loló is a great intro to San Francisco’s insistent playful spirit. Read More
Folks, this is it: The last rosé column for a good while. I’m not saying don’t drink the stuff until next spring. On the contrary, imbibe with abandon, as the warm weather should be here any day now. Like wearing white, there are those who believe rosé-drinking season ends with Labor Day, but I protest on both counts. Instead of limiting the selection to three, let’s take a pink voyage around the world — part of it anyway — starting with the best deals. Read More
As I waited in the brutal lunch line at HRD Coffee Shop, a woman sidled up close. “Have you been here before?” she asked. I had not. “Are you like us? We got in line because everyone else did.” She gestured to a trio of sheepish, grinning guys.My first impulse was to snicker at these lemmings, but was I so different? Whenever I had read about HRD, the fabled lines always came into play. The website says they won’t even take phone orders, citing an “overwhelming number of customers.” It piqued my interest. Read More
As evidenced by the surfboard drilled onto the wall above the bar and palm trees in every corner, the proprietors of John Colins definitely love surfing. And with multiple areas for dancing under strobe lights and a classic disco ball, nightlife becomes an effervescent experience. There also seems to be someone decorating the walls who loves big dogs, as nearly every large painting has differently colored pooches posing at various angles. Read More
Last week, working on a big deadline, I became a time-strapped shut-in. During the day, I sustained myself on caffeine, hummus and scrambled eggs. Read More