Mixologist: Dear Mom

Godofredo Vasquez/Special to the S.F. ExaminerGuilty Pleasure:

Godofredo Vasquez/Special to the S.F. ExaminerGuilty Pleasure:

Dear Mom The Mission loves itself — and it loves itself some dive bars. Apologies to you, then, friend: Dear Mom is no dive. “The difference between a dive bar and your neighborhood bar,” says co-owner Jay Beaman, an alumnus of the Thieves bars, “is clean bathrooms and napkins on the bar.” Dear Mom has both in its high-ceiling corner space, along with a custom-designed corner-happy bar in between booth space, giant table space and loads of mingling space. And why not add to the mix a terrific bar menu? The pop-up kitchen that defined the bar for its first eight months of existence is being segued out for a dedicated team with a dedicated menu — “ethnically inspired street food” — courtesy of Guillermo Perez and Caroline Hummer, who run the Fogcutter food truck. To complement the eats, one needs booze, and longtime Laszlo bartender Jill Webster is up to the task.

What is this place anyway?

Beaman: Someone is always talking about how this bar is full of annoying tech a——-, stupid dirty hipsters or angry skate punks. The fact is it’s full of all of them, and they all say they hate each other. In that way, it’s a Mission bar — all these people are all here, and they’re all partying together.

What makes it different from all the other Mission bars with four-star Yelp reviews?

Webster: This is more of a destination bar. I worked at Laszlo for 10 years, and since that’s connected to Foreign Cinema, it’s more of a dinner crowd. This is where people tend to go for drinks and to mingle.
Jay says the bar’s not huge on the whole mixologist scene. So what do people like to drink here? Webster: I make a ton of Old Fashioneds and Manhattans during the course of a shift. Beaman: I do the ordering and sometimes I’ll get a couple cases of something the distributor has on hand [during our visit, the bar had a commanding selection of Tyrconnel, an Irish single-malt whiskey considered by many to be “better than Scotch”].

Tell us about how you put together the cocktail menu for the weekend brunches.

Webster: These were all drinks I’d made during my time at Laslzo, even if they weren’t on a dedicated menu. The Guilty Pleasure is inspired by [famed San Francisco bartender, now in New York] Dominic Venegas.

What’s your drink for after shifts?

Webster: Honestly, I’m not big into cocktails. If I am, I’ll order a Americano or a Negroni. Usually I like tequila neat or a shot of Fernet and a beer.

You’ve worked in the Mission for a long time and know the business, and know big figures in the business. At this point, you could work anywhere. What keeps you in this kind of setting?

Webster: I’ve learned what I like and this is where I want to stay. I love dive bars — OK, neighborhood bars. You’re not just mixing drinks, you’re building relationships.

People go to bars like this for a reason. There’s a community aspect. And I’ve found that here.


Guilty Pleasure

  • ½ lime, muddled in a pint glass
  • One bar spoon of sugar
  • 2 oz. Aperol

Muddle lime, add sugar. Pour Aperol over ice. Dump everything into a bucket and serve (a bucket is the typical well-drink glass).

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