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Drink Here Now: Five Places to Sip This Week

Elixir's Hothouse Cider, photographed by Jonathan Fong.

Twilight Campfire Party at the Presidio
Breaking news: Twilight has not been affected by the federal government shutdown. It’s still happening, every day, as the sun goes down. Also not affected is the Presidio’s weekly “Off the Grid” Twilight Campfire Picnic, every Wednesday in October, from 5 pm to 9 pm. In addition to four or five food vendors serving tapas-style dishes, you’ll find lantern-lit cabanas (free, but first come, first served), live music, adirondack chairs around campfires, fire art sculpture from Black Rock Arts Foundation and cocktail service by the campfires and cabanas. Blankets are provided for lawn lounging, and parking is free after 5pm.

Dinner, Drag Show and Drinks
Where can you get dinner, a drag show, and a drink for $20, with a few dollars left over to tip the dancers? In North Beach, this Thursday, if you follow instructions carefully. Step one: RSVP online. Step two: show up between 8:30 and 8:45 pm at A Taste of Vietnam Noodle Bar & Grill (631 Broadway @ Columbus). Step three: Bring $10 for entry to the drag show plus your choice of four Thai Entrees: Pad Thai (Chicken or Vegetarian), Sweet Basil (Chicken or Vegetarian), Honey Glazed Pork with Rice, and 5 Spice Chicken with Rice. Step four: Add Tom Yum Soup (or not) for $1, and wash it down with $2 Thai Iced Tea, $3 beers, or the $4 drink special offered exclusively for your group. Bonus: Bring along some extra $1 bills to tip the drag queens!

Elixir Fall Menu
We don’t usually need a reason to drop in for a cocktail at Elixir, but owner H. Joseph Ehrmann just gave us a few new ones anyway. Besides bringing back the house-made Hothouse Cider and the bar’s best-selling cold weather cocktail, the bourbon-based Kentucky Pilgrim, SF’s resident cocktail guru has added a few new drinks to the Fall menu. Our current favorite is The Sting, a rum cocktail made with one of Ehrmann’s signature “Elixir Mixers,” this one consisting of lime, sugar, agave nectar, jalapeno and habanero. Two new Low Impact cocktails are also being offered. The Manzana Fizz features the light, crisp, manzanilla style of Sherry in a fizz cocktail highlighting apple flavors. The Bamboo Cocktail is a light mix Amontillado Sherry and dry Vermouth with a touch of bitters. Elixir lies along the confluence of the Castro and the Mission, on the corner of 16th Street and Guerrero.

Happy Hour at Hi Lo
There’s a new Happy Hour in town, just a few blocks from Elixir. Hi Lo BBQ (3416 19th Street @ Mission) has launched a daily 2&2 Happy Hour. Every day from 5 pm to 7pm, they’re serving $2 draft beers and $2 pulled pork sliders. If it’s a Wednesday, you can supplement those $2 deals with Hi Lo’s Burger & A Blonde Special for $21. Enjoy a ½ pound dry-aged beef patty with house-made bacon, beef tendon “chicharrones,” Fiscalini cheddar, and barbecue sauce on a Firebrand Challa roll, served with house-made coleslaw. The accompanying "Blonde" is a 12 oz bottle of “As Follows,” a Belgian-style “Blonde” Pale Ale from Stillwater Artisan Ales, a small craft brewery in Maryland. The Burger & A Blonde deal is available every Wednesday until the burgers run out.

Paella Sundays in the Castro
When you’re nursing a well-deserved hangover, few comfort foods compare to Paella. Thankfully, Mat Schuster and Paco Cifuentes are aware of this culinary fact, and have started serving Paella every Sunday at Canela Bistro and Wine Bar, their Pop & Pop Spanish restaurant in the Castro. Though Schuster is the Chef in the family, the dish was inspired by Cifuentes’ mother. Both the Chicken Paella ($30/two or $55/four) and the Seafood Paella ($35/$62) are simmered with a hearty chicken broth, saffron, vegetables and sofrito. Mimosas are $7 each, and Sangria (red or white) is available by the glass ($6.50), half-bottle ($16) and full bottle ($27). You can get your Paella fix every Sunday during brunch or dinner at Canela Bistro and Wine Bar, located at 2272 Market Street, between Noe and Castro.