Drink Here Now: Izakaya, Fillmore Jazz Festival, and White Russians


With so many reasons to drink this week, you should probably get started. Now.

Izakaya Culture Comes Alive at PABU

Michael Mina just opened a modern sushi and izakaya bar with renowned Bay Area sushi chef Ken Tominaga. They call it PABU, and it's located in the Financial District. And while we're sure the sushi is commendable, it's the izakaya that intrigues us. In practice, it's a casual place to drink after work, where food is also served. PABU bar manager Carlo Splendorini has orchestrated an expert line-up of house-carbonated beverages, high-speed fizzes, and flavored highballs enhanced with Japanese-inspired ingredients such as togarashi, Okinawa sugar, shiso, and yuzu. Even the ice cubes are exotic, embedded with fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables. If you sit at the bar, you can participate in a Japanese Whisky Ceremony, or just sip some of Japan's premium and super premium whiskies, rums, and gins. PABU is open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and dinner Sunday-Thursday from 5:30-10 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 5:30-10:30 p.m.. 101 California Street

Off the Grid Celebrates the 4th on the 6th

We've been thanking our lucky stars and stripes that Independence Day falls on a Friday this year, because that means we can celebrate the 4th of July again on the 6th at Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio. This weekend's "Toast to America" packages pack a family-sized punch for remarkably little effort. For $100, you get a punch kit, a beer kit, and a blanket, while your inner child (or perhaps your real child) gets a bubble activity kit. Toast to America Package 1 features Patriot Punch, made with bourbon, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, and club soda served over ice and garnished with fresh orange. Package 2 includes Sweet Tea Punch, an iced cocktail with whiskey, fresh mint, brown sugar, blood orange, soda water, lime, tea and honey. Both packages come with your choice of two American beers, Olympia or PBR. The bubble activity kit includes a bubble wand, refill bottle, and mini-bucket. Tickets are available online, and the red, white, and boozefest runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Main Post Lawn, 103 Montgomery Street, in the Presidio

Fillmore Jazz Festival is Patriotic

When you think of patriotic music, it's usually a country/western tune that comes to mind. But America's indigenous music is jazz, and the 30th Annual Fillmore Jazz Festival offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate this truly American art form, July 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Besides bringing world-class jazz to the streets with 12 blocks of free live music, gourmet food, and fine arts and crafts, organizers have seen to it that you can always enjoy an adult beverage with your jazz. The entire block surrounding the three main stages (at Eddy Street, Sutter, and California) will serve as a beverage garden, allowing imbibers to get close to the music. Five more beverage gardens can be found within other blocks of the festival, selling $7 domestic beers, $8 premium beers, and $7 Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc from Winery SF. Just look for the white picket fences and market umbrellas. Fillmore Street, between Jackson and Eddy

The Square Launches New Bar Bites Menu

Not everyone needs a local festival, a national holiday, or an international sporting event to go drink. Some of us are quite content to stop into a bar just to try out a new drink or appetizer. This is where The Square comes in. Located in Washington Square in North Beach, this casual neighborhood gathering and eating place opened in March and just launched a new Bar Bites menu on Monday. Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., and weekends from 2 to 6 p.m., guests can enjoy snack and drink specials, including the Firebrand Pretzel with melted cheese ($5); the Roasted Bone Marrow with parsley salad ($6); the Corspe Reviver No. 2 made with gin, lemon, lillet, and absinthe ($8); the Clarified White Russian made with rye whiskey or vodka, coffee, milk, and allspice; and a subject-to-change shot-and-a-beer special, such as Fernet and a can of Hamm's American Lager ($6). 1707 Powell Street

Send drinking suggestions to renee@grassrootspr.com.

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