In troubled times, it is said, the sinful shore of vice stocks is often heralded as a safe haven.
And brother? Nuthin’ could be truer these days.
Enter master of the mix: Doug “Bix” Biederbeck, the dashing EssEff restauranteur (Bix, Market Bar, Florio) who is a sort of modern-day Nick Charles for the cocktail set.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his storied and sexy Bix boite, Biederbeck (with co-author Eve O’Neill and Chronicle Books) dreamed up a handy compendium of the cocktail life titled, Bixology: Cocktails, Culture and a Guide to the Good Life.
“I didn’t just want to do a typical bar book,” said Biederbeck. “I have a ton of those of books at home that I look at once, then put aside.”
Sleek and compact, Bixology has the look of a small treasure you might find upon mahogany shelves in the library of a British gentleman -- a slowly wafting cigar and snifter of Calvados nearby.
Inside, words of wisdom and wit soothe the soul. Bixology suggests possibility through carefully culled bon mots, cool jazz, famous folklore, French slang and, yes, classic cocktails.
It can be read front-to-back and back-to-front. A page here; a page there. Put it down, and you will pick it up again.
Bixology is a book to be savored, like a cold, crisp Martini.
Doug "Bix" Biederbeck and his co-author, Eve O'Neill
The book is currently available at Bix Restaurant, Carrots Boutique, Button Down and soon arrives at The Gardener Store in the Ferry Building.
As well as at Wilkes Bashford (featuring a fab display of Biederbeck’s classic collection of bar paraphernalia) on Sutter Street where, last night, Bix & Crew catered a kick-off party for the April 25 SF Jazz Festival Gala.
But first, it was Biederbeck’s business neighbors who, back around the holidays, clinked their glass to the man, the nearby restaurant and the new book.
“Doug has supported us ever since we first opened Carrots,” said party co-hosts and sisters, Melissa and Catie Grimm. “It’s a tough time for anyone in business and tonight is about having fun and showing loyalty.”
The Grimm gals also love their little Jackson Square neighborhood which includes (of course) their own Carrots Boutique, as well as Bix, William Stout Architectural Books, and Hedge Gallery: “This is such a special part of San Francisco -- this is a very creative and artistic hood.”
“I have great affection for Bix,” said Nordin Blacker, who has been a restaurant regular since day one. “The atmosphere, the fantastic service and the great food by chef Bruce Hill -- it’s a very special place.”
Another Bix regular, Paulina Biagi, also agreed that she loves everything about the joint. Except for one menu item.
“I’m not a fan of the truffle burger,” admitted Biagi. “I just like a regular cheeseburger.”
Overhearing their conversation, Bix’s wife, Jennifer Biederbeck just laughed: “The burger -- It’s always about the burger!”
But Biederbeck writes it best in his Bixology intro: “You can make Bix fit whatever your mental picture of the Jazz Age is. It’s dark and comfortable, and I get the feeling that people find it acceptable to have one more glass of Champagne here than they usually do.”
For Bradley Avey, his favorite part is the clientele. Avey has worked the plank at Bix for all 20 years and considers himself lucky to be at Bix most nights.
“Actually, if you go to Bix on a Friday night,” said Avey, between shakes of a shiny silver cocktail shaker, “You’d never know there is a recession on!”
Sweetie? I’ll drink to that!
Check out the photos below.
Carrots Boutique owners and sisters, Melissa and Catie Grimm
Doug's mother-in-law, Ann Seymour and his wife, Jennifer Biederbeck
Longtime Bix customers Nordin Blacker and Paulina Biagi
Serena Swearingen (left) with her sister, Isabelle Higson and their Fritz Property Group business partner Dana Barbieri
Florio Manager John Castanon and his partner, John Carroll
Peter Yared and Lauren Sorof
Martha Sutherland and her husband, Barnaby Conrad
Longtime Bix bartender Bradley Avey