Next time you’re in the heart of the Mission district, do yourself a favor and pop into Range. Say hello to Brooke Arthur, the restaurant’s positively amazing bartender, sip a cocktail and ponder the official Jewett blood-bank refrigerator situated at the bar’s center. Of course, instead of vials of Type O and Type A, this refrigerator is now packed with beer, white wine and champagne. Still, it’s a rockin’ conversation piece. Now, staying for dinner isn’t a bad idea, but make no mistake, it’s not required. Simply stopping by this popular eatery for just a cocktail is just as rewarding an experience. That said, expect a crowd as early as 5:35 p.m. We popped in at 5:30, and 10 minutes later, there were only a couple of seats left. It’s not hard to figure out why. Arthur’s sweet disposition and impressive natural talent for creating cocktails is certainly a draw, if not a straight-up addiction.
842 Valencia St., San Francisco; (415) 282-8283; www.rangesf.com
What do you typically order? I think my favorite drink is probably a Negroni, if I’m confident who is making it.
What’s the most terrible drink you’ve ever made? The Mother Earth. It used to be on our menu. It had John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum [clove-infused liqueur], Pimm’s and some other stuff, and it was very strange.
Is there a drink out there that you wish people wouldn’t drink? Probably any kind of vodka-based cocktail in my book. Cosmos are pretty terrible.
How often do you change your drink menu here? We do a cocktail of the day every day. And we’ve got a weird rule that if we’re selling too much of something, we take it off the menu. We don’t want things to get too tired.
If you could serve a drink to anyone, who would it be? My grandfather that passed away three years ago. He taught me a lot about alcohol, and I miss him a lot.
What would you serve him? He, of course, would want anything I put in front of him because he’d be so excited, but maybe a Manhattan. Something classic.
If you could serve a drink anywhere, where would it be? I would love to serve a drink in Paris for sure.
So how did you get into bartending? I have an art background. I thought it would be a perfect situation. I could bartend while I supported my [graphic arts] career. But I tried to get into graphic arts six years ago, and it was so hard. So I started working at the Redwood Room and realized how in love I was with the industry. I love making people happy. It’s like you’re throwing a dinner party every night.
That’s a great way of putting it. I’m so lucky. I was in an apartment fire in December. The entire industry threw a big benefit for me at Cantina. I was in a coma for a month and a half. I just got back in April. My second choice [for serving a drink to anyone] would be my lung doctor. I could barely talk, barely walk and I just couldn’t wait to get back here and be around everyone.
What are three things you can’t live without? Bourbon, my family and Marc Jacobs.
What are the words that you live by? Life is what you make it. My life was totally changed by the whole accident. I hate when I hear people complain about their life and they are not doing anything to change it.
Poppies in October
½ oz. Apry Brandy
¾ oz. Aperol
1 ½ oz. Sazarac
3 dashes Qi black tea
2 dashes Regans Orange Bitters
Fill pint glass with ice; add ingredients and stir. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel flamed.