A Pub's Life


Change, as we all know, is an inevitable part of growing up. It’s actually one of the greatest, hardest things about growing up, truth be told. So I guess it makes sense that some of the regulars at Magnolia Pub and Brewery—which closed at the end of the May for a complete face-lift and a rebirth as Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery—are having a hard time with the transformation. As owner (and all-around nice guy) Dave McLean wrote in his blog chronicling the construction, “I know some of you are sad and miss some or all of the "old" Magnolia.  I understand and I miss it, too.  Right now, it's all a little strange, honestly, after ten years. Change is hard, but believe me when I say this change will yield amazing results for your little neighborhood brewpub.  It feels a little like it did ten years ago...a little too new...not lived in enough.  But that's just on the surface.  The soul of Magnolia lives on, same as ever, and with your help we'll have it feeling alive and vibrant again within months.”

Now, if that heartfelt note doesn’t make you want to rush right over there to sample the boudin blanc off of their new sausage menu, dig into a Prather Ranch burger and wash it all down with one of Magnolia’s cask-conditioned ales (made right there, beneath Haight Street!) than I don’t know what will. And while I know the term “gastropub” might sound alienating and snobbish to some, it’s a word borne of a very good concept—a brewpub that serves better-than-your-average fare, with an eye towards good ingredients. Here in San Francisco that’s old news, nothing to be afraid of. I was, however, interested to see one dish of the newly revamped menu: Roll Mops. Up until about two weeks I hadn’t heard of this dish, which is essentially pickled herring wrapped around a chunk of onion or a bit of cucumber, like a little herring canapé. I first saw it a venerable NYC gastropub The Spotted Pig when I was there for brunch a few weekends ago, and at first I thought (hopefully) that it was a type of cinnamon roll. Lo and behold,  I now learn we’re about two restaurants away from a full-blown trend.

So go on. Go help Magnolia reclaim that “lived in” feel. Consider it your civic duty.

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