(Michael Ares/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Dirty Water has something for everyone

It’s hard not to get behind a place called Dirty Water, a name that nods to the pre-Prohibition term for whiskey. Needless to say, the main attraction of this 6,000-square-foot restaurant and bar that opened late last month on the lobby level of the Twitter headquarters on Market Street is its beverage program.

“We felt something was missing from the typical San Francisco bar experience and, with the neighborhood expanding the way it is, [we] identified an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time,” founder and general manager Kristian Cosentino said in a press release.

Despite the size, Dirty Water aims to be a relaxing and unpretentious addition to the buzzing San Francisco bar scene. What will spin your head, however, is the staggering variety. Bar patrons can peruse more than 52 beers on tap and a slew of notable domestic and international brews, such as Cantillon and all three Chimays — longtime favorites of mine since my days of living in Belgium.

There will soon also be three house-made beers available, produced on site in Dirty Water’s private brewery by the new Mujicians Brewing Co.

With 100 wines poured by the glass, made possible by the use of the high-tech Coravin system that allows for individual pours without degrading what’s left in the bottle, wine lovers can try a new vino a week for almost two years. The wine list runs the gamut, with a fair amount of local California wines and vintages from across the country, international labels and some rarely found varietals, all curated by wine director Tara Herrick.

“Ruché is a grape we hardly see. However, it is one of Kristian Cosentino’s favorite varietals from Italy,” Herrick said. “Light in color, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry dominate the palate and nose with a touch of a leafy greenness. It is a light-bodied wine, low in tannins, making it easy to drink.”

Spirits pour and soar thanks to an expansive cocktail collection created by mixologist Zachary Taylor, who serves modern versions of old classics and original creations such as the 140 Characters (get the Twitter reference?) made with Zu vodka, Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur, lime and egg white. I’ll favorite that!

Not to be forgotten are the dirty waters, of course.

“In my opinion, the Westland Distillery is producing the absolute best American single malt whiskey on the market today,” Taylor said. “Every whiskey I have tried from them has been among the best I have ever had, and I plan on carrying every single thing they release because I think they are talented and innovative.”

Other rare and unusual elixirs are Nikka 17 Taketsuru Pure Malt, a Japanese whiskey; Darroze 1970 Chateau de Gaube Armagnac; and La Venenosa Raicilla, a mescal that Taylor said is among his favorite agave spirits. “There’s really going to be a drink at Dirty Water for everyone,” said Cosentino. “Whether you’re a beer and spirits connoisseur seeking something you’ve never had the opportunity to try or simply looking for a delicious, reasonably priced glass of wine to enjoy after work, we will have it on our menu.”

An impressive dining menu designed by Michelin-starred chef Jarad Gallagher (Michael Mina, One Market, Plumed Horse) will satisfy food lovers and soak up a little of that dirty water.

Dirty Water
Where: 1355 Market St., S.F.
Contact: (415) 792-5101, www.dirtywatersf.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays

Correction: The recipe for the 140 Characters cocktail has changed since Dirty Water opened. The correct recipe now appears in the story.

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