Many San Francisco restaurants and bars offer ham cuts and raw oysters. But none have paired the two delicacies in quite the same way as Hog and Rocks, a 7-month-old restaurant and bar in the Mission district that focuses specifically on these two savory appetizers. Likewise, bar manager Joe Summa pours a wide variety of whiskies to match the regional flavors of the restaurant’s ever-changing ham and oyster menu. This month, Hog and Rocks inaugurated its happy hour, which features inexpensive, daily themed drinks and food pairings from 5 to 6 p.m.
Hog and Rocks. 3431 19th St., San Francisco, (415) 550-8627
How long have you been at Hog and Rocks? I moved from New York in May and helped open this place on July 4. I took over the bar program in mid-December. We are San Francisco’s first ham-and-oyster bar, and our list of domestic and imported hams and oysters changes every day.
What’s your bar philosophy? We make simple, classic cocktails, usually with no more than three or four ingredients. We make our Manhattan really traditionally. We do change cocktails seasonally. In the summer, we pour more greyhounds and salty dogs. In the colder months, our Ramos Gin Fizz is really popular.
How long have you been a bartender? I was a bartender for about 20 years in New York and got started during college as a barback. I opened the Chelsea Grill in New York and a place called Reposo 46, a wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen. I also opened the Soldier McGee Tavern at 83rd and Amsterdam. I was a partner and sold when I moved here.
What’s the concept of the bar? Scott Youkilis, who also owns Maverick [3316 17th St.], had the idea of putting ham and oysters together. He wanted a rustic, salty experience. He thought that they both paired well with wine and whiskies. For example, you can have Tennessee whiskey with a Tennessee ham or a Kentucky bourbon with a Kentucky ham.
What do you like about bartending? It’s always been a performance, a show. It’s also a people business, which is fun. When I was in show business, it was a great job to have because your days are free.
Have you performed anything we might know? I did music for the [New York] Yankees. I wrote and sang a sports anthem called “Haya Doin’ Yankees?” You can find it on YouTube.
What do you like to drink and where? I’m a scotch drinker. I like beer and whiskey. I’m a pretty down-to-earth guy. I’m still new to The City, but I’ve been exploring it. I like the Comstock Saloon [155 Columbus Ave.], Shanghai Kelly’s [2064 Polk St.] and Greens Sports Bar [2239 Polk St.]. I do know it’s a tight-knit community here, so it’s tough to hide out anywhere.
Who would you like to pour a drink for? Jesus Christ. I’d love to hang out with JC. I would also like to serve Al Pacino. I’ve always admired him. He’s Italian-American and he’s from New York, so I have an affinity for him.
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a large wine glass. Top with club soda and grated nutmeg.