Starbelly We have a weakness for jacks of all trades. So you can imagine our delight to find bartender Lane Ford, wielding a drill and its various bits instead of a bar spoon, when we stepped into the few-weeks-old Starbelly. He was replacing a shelf under the bar. Hot! Owned by the same folks that brought us Beretta (and thank goodness for that), Starbelly is also getting rave reviews, but unlike Beretta, the casual-chic eatery doesn’t have a full liquor license, so Lane has to be incredibly creative when it comes to the “cocktail” program. He’s trained with only the best (Thad Vogler at Flora, Erik Adkins at Heaven’s Dog and Erick Castro of Rickhouse), so he’s got the chops to get the job done. And judging by that drill, when anything doesn’t work out, he’ll just demo it and rebuild it from scratch. 3583 16th St., S.F.; (415) 252-7500, www.starbellysf.com
Where are you from originally? New Orleans. Well, I’m originally from Oklahoma.
When did you move to New Orleans then? When I was like 4 or 5. I lived a couple of years in high school in Oklahoma.
And you didn’t go to OU (Oklahoma University)? I was raised in OU, but I went to LSU [Louisiana State University].
Did nobody disown you? No.
What was your drink of choice in college? I went through a couple of phases. First, probably Crown [Royal] and Coke. And then Crown and water, and then Crown on the rocks, Johnny Walker Red and water, and then Johnny Walker Red on the rocks.
So why did you decide to come to San Francisco? I had a friend who lived in Oakland and I always had a dream that it would be better in the Bay Area.
What was it about the Bay Area that captured your interest? I don’t know anymore. Nah, it was because the weather’s great.
The weather’s great? Compared to New Orleans.
The drink you made today, what’s amazing is how often it is cited as the most unusual drink request bartenders ever get. So the Calimocho, it’s a really common drink in Barcelona. The kids will basically just buy big two-liters of Coke and boxes of wine and pour out half the Coke and fill the rest up with red wine, drink it and just throw the trash out on the street. And the way to get rid of the trash there is just to hose it down the street.
Because you have to run the drink program here, a place that doesn’t have a full liquor license, what have you been doing with what you have? So we have the Calimocho, which we talked about, the red wine and Coke, and different types of micheladas, which are kind of standard in Mexico, depending on where you go … it may have lime or Clamato. So we’re doing michelada with tomato and michelada with lime and Maggi, which is like a soy sauce reduction. And then there’s a drink called the Alfonso, which is just Dubonnet, sparkling wine, lemon peel … just like a Champagne cocktail with a sugar cube and bitters, except we’re using Carpano Antica.
And what’s the spirit in the michelada? Just beer. We’re using Speakeasy IPA.
If you could serve a drink to anyone, who would it be? F. Scott Fitzgerald.
6 oz. Coca-Cola
¾ oz. Carpano Antica
4 oz. of a fruit-forward, full-bodied red wine
Take a classic Coca-Cola bottle. Pour out the Coke until you have 6 ounces. Add the Carpano Antica and wine. Place bottle in crushed ice-filled shaker. The colder it can get, the better it will taste. Bendy straw suggested.