Academy of Sciences' best-kept secret, The Moss Room

The Moss Room

We went underground this week to hang out with Eris Del Beccaro, an amazing bartender at the Academy of Sciences’ best-kept secret, The Moss Room. This super-sleek bar and restaurant is, unbeknownst to many, underneath the museum. How cool is that? Even cooler is the 28-foot moss wall for which the restaurant is named. Streams of water trickle behind it into a shallow fish tank at the base of the wall. The nutrients the water collect helps feed the enormous fish swimming around below. A bar stocked with only small-batch spirits, most of which you’ve probably never heard of, also makes for interesting conversation, especially with Del Beccaro. 55 Music Concourse Dr., S.F.; (415) 876-6121, www.themossroom.com

How did you get into bartending? I kind of got thrown into it actually. I used to be a server, and I was leaving a day shift and the bartender that was coming in didn’t show up, so they basically threw me into it without having a clue as to what I was doing.

How many drinks had you made before that? A gin and tonic.

Where are you from originally? I’m from the East Bay; Danville.

Why did you move to San Francisco? To go to USF. My major was philosophy … and my minor, I studied psych as well.

So are you constantly analyzing people? Well, I find that you are a part-time therapist.

What’s been the most intriguing story so far? I probably shouldn’t tell you.

Did it involve a murder? No murder, but it would probably make guests not want to talk to me.

What kinds of cocktails are slung here at The Moss Room? All of our drinks are made from small-batch spirits, which are all artisanal. And we have a lot of classic cocktails on our menu that date back to pre-Prohibition, and then we have the cocktails that are a little bit newer.

What’s it like working in a bar that’s underneath the Academy of Sciences? It’s amazing, especially being able to leave through the deserted Academy at night. I get to say goodbye to the alligators on my way out. Every day when I’m done with my shift, I get to go up and look through the Academy.

Who typically comes and hangs out at The Moss Room? We get a lot of museum workers who come down. This is their spot. We have a lot of security guards that come down too. It’s incredible being in such a green building.

Do you have any drinks that look like moss? No. But we should come up with one though. I don’t know how that would sell.

Do scientists party hard? Scientists surprisingly party. But overall, I’d say our museum-goers, during the day, especially the ones with kids, like to take it more easy and have a few cocktails.

If you could serve a drink to anyone, who would it be? Anthony Bourdain.

— Tiffany Martini

 

Brannan Street Batida

  • 2½ oz. cachaça
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. tangerine juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. ginger-infused simple syrup
  • Ground pink peppercorns
  • Egg white

Muddle pink peppercorns at the bottom of a shaker. Drop in the egg white and beat it a little. Add rest of ingredients. Fill the shaker to the top with ice, then shake extra long to get the egg white super frothy. Serve over ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

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