On the corner of Bush and Taylor streets in the Tendernob, the Tonic Nightlife Group has brought forth a small, nautically themed bar featuring model ships, life buoys and lantern pufferfish tangled in the tentacles of an overhanging giant squid. The name of the bar pays homage to its predecessor, the Yong San Lounge, a Korean bar that was rumored to offer “extra services.” If the sun is still around, swig a Coastal Margarita, a smoky mezcal and grapefruit cocktail that’s evened out by the orange candy of Grand Marnier. Bartender Beth Miele is a well-traveled Pennsylvania transplant whose father calls her “Peter Pan” because she simply refuses to grow up.
What made you move to San Francisco? One of my best friends lives out here. And I missed having good friends around. I’ve been meaning to move out here for five years. But it never worked out. Then one day the stars aligned. I called my friend to help me out. She said, “There’s a room open at my place.” So I packed my bag full of camera gear, hopped on a train and came to the West Coast.
What do you like most about your job? I left my family back in Pennsylvania and when I came here, I fell into an immediate family. We all hang out — drink, play, have fun with each other. There are more than 60 employees [that work for the bar group]. Everybody that works for the company is amazeballs, really great people. Everyone’s from all over. It’s a nice spiderweb.
Where did the name of this place come from? This was a Korean bar before it became the Royal Tug. It’s an homage to the past owners who used to offer [extra services]. We still have people coming in here expecting to get the goods.
Wow. Anyways, what do you like to drink? I’m a Hendrick’s girl. Give me a pint of Hendrick’s [gin] with a splash of tonic and a cucumber, and I’m set. I also like an IPA or a Belgian [beer] when I’m not trying to go hard. I also like Gruner Veltliner. It’s dry, crisp and fruity.
What are a few words that best describe you? I have no idea. Ridiculously crazeballs. I think that sums up a good portion of it.
You seem like a well-traveled person. My mom was a trava-holic. Every year until I was 15, we’d go on trips throughout the states. I’ve been to all of ’em. One year it was all about caves and caverns. The next it was Indians so we went to the Southwest. Then, when I turned 15, she said “Let’s go overseas” — London, Ireland, Paris, Florence, Thailand, the Bahamas and Mexico. God, we just went all over the place. My teachers and friends in high school were always like “Really? Again?”
That’s some interesting jewelry you’re wearing. I love big, gaudy jewelry; my Italian comes out. My necklace is my grandmother’s. When she died, I got a lot of her stuff. I’d say about 30 percent of my stuff is my grandma’s. I’m always wearing something that’s a little obnoxious — and I love it.
3 oz. Vida mezcal
3 lime wedges
1 oz. Agave nectar
Juice of ½ grapefruit
½ oz. Grand Marnier
Muddle two lime wedges. Fill glass with ice. Add mezcal, agave nectar and grapefruit juice. Shake. Top with Grand Marnier. Garnish with lime wedge. Recipe by bar manager Mack Hollmann