Circolo Potrero Hill is one of those neighborhoods that when you aren’t strolling down the utterly charming 18th Street, you forget that there are plenty of other little pockets to discover, namely, that grid of streets near the Muni depot on 17th and Bryant. That’s how we stumbled upon Circolo and the very delightful Jolene Linsangan, the sleek eatery’s bartender and event planner. The Bay Area native has now lived in San Francisco proper for three years and is on a mission to save music and performing arts, and to continue to elevate The City’s top-notch dining scene. We’re ready to support her cause, beginning with Circolo’s happy hour, where the bar’s $10 cocktails drop down to $7, the beers are two bucks, and the well cocktails are three. On Tuesdays, happy hour goes all day and night. Aren’t you due for a sick day? 500 Florida St., S.F.; (415) 553-8521, www.circolosf.com
How did you get into bartending? I’ve always done birthday parties as a kid, and once the drinking age came around, I was always the party planner. Right when I turned 21, I said, you know, “I want to make some money out of it.” Right when I turned 21, the next day I went to bartending school.
What’s the meaning behind the bar’s name, Circolo? It means circle.
Do you have a particular drink that you feel like you’ve absolutely perfected? I know that bartenders hate making mojitos, but I actually do love making them. No matter how many people are here, like “I want 50 mojitos,” I actually like doing them because I know they’ll enjoy them. I do a lychee-cucumber mojito and people go crazy for them. It’s all fresh lychee and fresh cucumbers that I make a puree out of. It’s very light and clean.
What do you typically order to drink … besides a shot and a beer? No beer for me. I like whiskeys. Whiskeys or scotch. On a nice night, my usual Jameson on the rocks, with a splash of water.
Have you ever gotten any unusual drink requests? Not here per se, but I know last night somebody asked for a Prairie Dog, which he told me is tequila and Tabasco. And it was kind of funny to come into a restaurant like this and ask for something like that.
Did you try it? Yeah. You drink the tequila and Tabasco, and then you have a lime after, so it’s spicy and then sour.
Do you shoot it or sip it? You shoot it. But I’d say the strangest drink request I got, not here, but at my other bar was a Brain Hemorrhage. It’s peach schnapps, and then you pour Bailey’s on top of it, so it comes out clumped in and it looks like a brain. And then you top it off with a drop of grenadine so it looks like the brain is bloody. It’s diabetes in a shot.
If you could serve a drink to anyone, who would it be? I heard Rob Schneider lives here in The City. I would love to serve him a drink; he’s hilarious.
What do you think you’d serve him? A Brain Hemorrhage!
Sparkling Blood Orange Martini
- 2 oz. orange vodka
- Splash of fresh sweet and sour
- Splash of fresh orange juice
Add sweet and sour and orange juice to vodka. Top with champagne. Squeeze a slice of fresh blood orange on top. Garnish with slice of blood orange.