A self-proclaimed Bloody Mary connoisseur, I often find myself underwhelmed by the bland, tomatoey options I find at local dive bars. Maybe I’m spoiled, maybe I’m just picky, but on those bleak mornings, only the perfectly balanced Bloody will do. Unfortunately, most of us don’t boast a fully stocked fridge and liquor cabinet. Enter the Bloody Mary bar: A Bloody enthusiast's playground, where spices, juices, and garnishes abound. I’ve rounded up a list of the best do-it-yourself bloody bars in the city so you can have exactly what you want this weekend.
1. Pork Store Café Valencia: 3122 16th St.
Hookah bar by night, brunch haven by day, and sports bar on the weekends, Pork Store Café wears many hats. But their Bloody Mary bar stands out as one of the major reasons to stop by. For a very reasonable six dollars, you have your pick of ingredients to concoct as spicy a Bloody as you want. They also throw in a free coffee and hearty dishes such as Eggs in a Tasty Nest (eggs in a bed of hash browns, bacon, peppers, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, and biscuits) for the ultimate hangover cure.
2. Elixir: 3200 16th St.
Elixir’s Sunday Bloody Mary bar begins with a generous pour of vodka, but the rest is up to you. While other bars stop at tomato juice, Elixir offers Clamato, which is a genius addition to any Bloody Mary. With seventeen hot sauces and seventeen types of peppers, powders, and spices, you can make a Mary will wake you up and knock out that hangover. Garnishes include bacon (in the daytime only), pickled asparagus, green beans, pepperoncini, cocktail onions, olives, lemons, limes, celery, horseradish, and various rim salts.
3. El Rio: 3158 Mission St.
This large Mission bar has everything a hipster could want: Cheap drinks, DJs, dance parties, an outdoor heated patio, a longer-than-normal happy hour, free oysters on Fridays, and a Bloody Mary bar Friday through Sunday (before 5). Start your weekend off early with a DIY Bloody Mary in the sun, followed by a two-dollar can of PBR and a few free oysters. It’s the best of brunch and happy hour, merged into one.
4. Hobson’s Choice: 1601 Haight St.
Known primarily as a rum bar specializing in massive punch bowls and Mai Tais, Hobson’s Choice also delivers an extensive Bloody Mary bar on Sundays. Get in early, beat that hangover with a personalized Bloody Mary, and then share a punch bowl with your friends to coast through the end of the weekend. Additions include Worcestershire and various hot sauces, salt and pepper, lemons and limes, horseradish, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, jalapeños, beets, onion, pickles, and red pepper. The combinations here are endless.
5. Ironside: 680 2nd St.
Does your hangover require more than one vegetable concoction? Or do you just have too many ideas about what you’d put in your Bloody Mary? Ironside offers a seven dollar Bloody Mary or $12 for bottomless options. Their Bloody Mary bar is stocked with all the usual suspects, and is available both Saturday and Sunday. The food is delicious as well, and in true gluttonous fashion, they also offer a bottomless brunch for $17. Bring your appetite and your designated driver.
Where is your favorite Bloody Mary bar?