Meet your mixologist: Eddie Savino

About the series: In a saloon town such as San Francisco, the bartender plays a crucial role. Confessor, friend, sounding board — the man or woman behind the plank sees to it that our needs are met with elegance, grace and often wit. They see humanity at its best and most convivial, but also offer a nod and a welcome to the lonely. But what do they see when they look at us? What are the tricks of their trade? And what lessons have they learned along the way? In this Examiner weekly feature, we talk to some of our local bartenders to find out.

The Brazen Head

3166 Buchanan St., San Francisco

(415) 921-7600, www.brazenheadsf.com

How Eddie Savino, proprietor of Brazen Head and Liverpool Lil’s, gets anything done is beyond us. Beginning at 4 p.m. when the dark, East Coast-style tavern opens, Savino morphs into the mayor of Buchanan and Greenwich streets, checking in on the regulars, tying up loose ends with a distributor and his wife. Savino’s eagle eye catches anyone trying to leave before he’s had the chance to talk shop or simply catch up. Originally from the Bronx, Savino came here in 1979. When he gets excitable — whichcan be often — traces of that thick, tried-and-true accent delight. He’s a charitable fellow and will easily invite you to his annual fundraising block party for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This year’s party falls on Sept. 16.

What is your signature cocktail? A dirty martini using Cîroc vodka. What makes this vodka so great is it’s from France, so they use French grapes.

French grapes for vodka? Yeah, isn’t that crazy? It’s five times distilled and what’s nice about it is it has a little bit of a natural fruit flavor to it. We’re trying to make a new run of it. To make a vodka out of a grape is quite unique, which is why we’re going to make it our signature drink.

So, we know this place is called the Brazen Head, but we’ve also heard it referred to as the No Name Bar. What gives? Who told you that? Word on the street is when they say I’m going to that place, the “no name bar,” it’s because there is no sign outside. The real No Name Bar is in Sausalito. In 1982 I started here, and I purchased it from someone else in 1993. It’s been called the Brazen Head from the start. I’ve been bartending for 27 years. Once I got behind the bar, the industry got a lot more fun than just waiting tables. Let’s face it, bartenders have all the fun.

Did you meet your wife out here? We met here at the Brazen Head. We hired her and I said, ‘I don’t know if she’s gonna work out. She’s a little quiet.’ But everyone else said, ‘Wait, just wait. The customers love her.’ And we’ve been married 17 years later.

What is a Brazen Head? It’s named for the oldest pub in Dublin, built in 1660. I think it was the first taxed place because once they were able to tax it, then they were able to record it.

Do you get many celebrities in this place? We’ve had Mick Jagger, John Travolta, Steve Young, Derek Jeter, Uncle Miltie [Milton Berle], Tom Jones, Frankie Avalon, Nancy Sinatra.

If you could make a drink for anyone in the world, who would it be? Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Babe Ruth.

And what would you serve them? I think for Christ, I’d pour him a glass of wine. Martin Luther King Jr., I’d make an Old-Fashioned and for Babe Ruth, a Maker’s Mark Manhattan.

Featured Recipe

Dirty Martini

» Fill mixing glass with ice

» Create “skaters” by pulverizing the ice so skaters float to top

» Pour olive juice into a martini glass

» Go back to making skaters with vodka now poured over the ice

» Pour vodka and skaters into martini glass

» Serve with the olives on a toothpick

entertainmentFeaturesFood & DrinkFood and Wine

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The Medical Examiner's Office van on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco’s 2020 overdose deaths soar 59 percent to 699

Fatal drug overdoses surged by nearly 59 percent in San Francisco last… Continue reading

Police Commissioner John Hamasaki questions Chief Bill Scott at City Hall on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD should probe whether officers joined Capitol raid, commissioners say

Chief unaware of any members participating in insurrection

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read