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Drink Here Now: 5 Places to Sip This Week

Image from Avital's Union Square Cocktail Tour, by Ian Tuttle.

1) Pullin’ Pork for Pride at the Pilsner
The Supreme Court is slated to announce its opinion on gay marriage today, just in time for PRIDE. Whatever the decision, the Castro is where it will be celebrated, or mourned. Pilsner Inn (225 Church @ Market) is the place to be on Wednesday, June 26, from 6 to 9 pm, for the 9th Annual Queer Pride Happy Hour: Pullin’ Pork for Pride. Lil Miss Hot Mess hosts, while Hard French DJs Carnita and Brown Amy pump up the volume. The Pilsner will provide free pulled pork sandwiches, and Good Vibrations will bring the  games and prizes, which should help make up for the fact that Bud Light is the night's featured beverage. Bonus: Bring a dark-colored T-shirt for a Bradley Manning screenprint.

2) Take an American Road Trip at Bluestem
No time for a road trip this summer? Bluestem Brasserie is serving up the next best thing. Every Thursday, they’re taking diners on a gastronomical road trip to a different state in the nation. This week’s destination is Florida, so the Blue Plate Special is Grilled Alligator Sausage with Citrus Rock-Shrimp Sauce, Pickled Carambola (aka Starfruit) Black Beans & Rice, and Key Lime Pie for dessert. The summer cocktail lineup ($11) provides a wide variety of flavors and textures, from fruity to smoky to frothy. The Watermelon Cooler looks and tastes like salted watermelon, with gin, fresh watermelon and lime in a basil-salt rimmed glass. The Porch Swing features smoked peaches, pureed and mixed with bourbon, honey, iced tea and lemon. The Honey Badger–made with American Honey Bourbon, Maker’s Mark, BBQ Water & Lemon–sports a frothy floater surrounded by a red rim to simulate the honey badger covered in blood and frothing at the mouth. If it’s a typical San Francisco summer day, warm up with Karl the Fog, a coffee cocktail topped with toasted marshmallow meringue. Bluestem is located at 1 Yerba Buena Lane, just off Market Street.

3) Learn Illicit Local History at The Old Mint
Learn some of San Francisco’s strangest history lessons from infamous local characters, this Thursday, June 27, from 6 to 10 pm at The Old Mint Building (88 Fifth Street @ Mission). Flipside’s Oddball San Francisco History event gives you a chance to meet IIlicit Urban Explorer John Law (of Suicide Club, Burning Man and Billboard Liberation Front fame) and explore the history of Skeeball with Joey the Cat, two-time National Brewskee-Ball Champion. Paul Drexler will share stories of SF’s infamous crooks, including the Ding Dong Daddy of the D Line, who was married to 14 different women at once. Author Therese Poletti will talk about famous rooftop bars of the past and present, including the Spreckels Rotisserie, which was lost in the 1906 earthquake. Tickets are $12, and specialty cocktails by Jameson Irish Whiskey and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale will be available for an additional $6 donation to the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. The Frisky Frolics will play Tin Pan Alley-style music, and food will be available for purchase from Bombzies BBQ and Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers.

4) Drink Like a Sailor at Presidio Social Club
Presidio Social Club is celebrating America’s Cup with drinks fit for a sailor. The nautical types are already frequenting this watering hole due to its proximity to the bay. So the bartenders have launched a new specialty menu featuring the classic sailor’s choice: Rum. The PSC Grog features Zaya Rum, lime, bitters and beer served over ice with a salty rim. The Bumbo is a mixture of Flor de Cana rum, nutmeg syrup, and coconut water served chilled and up. The Quarter Deck Cocktail combines Mt. Gay Extra Old Rum, Amontillado Sherry, lime juice and simple syrup, also served chilled and up. For something simpler, try the Sail Reefer, a shot of Mt. Gay Rum and a Red Stripe Beer, or tangle with Black Beard, a bare-bones mixture of Mt. Gay Black Barrel Rum and ginger ale. The sailor-inspired drink menu is available until September 30 at Presidio Social Club, located at 563 Ruger Street in the Presidio.

5) Take a Cocktail Tour of Union Square
Pssst... How would you like a behind-the-scenes peek into the downtown San Francisco bar scene? Avital Tours just launched a Union Square Cocktail Tour that offers patrons a chance to meet bar owners, bartenders and industry experts while tasting the wares of some of the nation’s top mixologists. The tour includes an educational element, with back-stories and origins of featured spirits and background on San Francisco’s integral role in the revival of the cocktail culture. The two-hour walking tour begins at the Hotel Serrano (405 Taylor @ O’Farrell) and stops at three specialty cocktail lounges with drinks at each, plus paired bites at two stops. Storied drinks include Pisco Punch and the Chartreuse Swizzle, among others. Groups are limited to 12 people, and everyone must be over 21. Tours are available on Saturdays from 4 to 6 pm and Wednesdays from 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are available online for $64 per person. Gratuity is not included, so be sure to tip your guide.