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Drink Here Now: 5 Places to Sip This Week

Gestalt Haus

The taps at Gestalt Haus, via Yelp user Alan L.

1) Blue Corn Whisky Dinner
Whisky lovers might just drool over the menu this Thursday at Dixie Restaurant (1 Letterman Drive). Award-winning craft distiller Chip Tate from Balcones Distillery in Texas will be presenting four blue corn whiskies plus a single malt, paired with a five course tasting menu. Course pairings include blue corn grits, soft poached egg, duck skin crackling, and sea urchin butter served with Balcones Baby Blue. Made with atole, a roasted blue cornmeal, Baby Blue is described as a lighter, fresher corn whisky. The richer, more robust Balcones True Blue is paired with chicken fried quail, king trumpet mushroom, spiced pecans, and bourbon butter. Welcome cocktails are served at 6pm; dinner starts at 6:30pm. Tickets are $90 per person, all inclusive.

2) The sf|noir Wine & Food Event
One day isn’t nearly enough to fill up on food, wine, and culture in celebration of Black History Month. This year’s four-day sf|noir Wine & Food Event kicks off this Thursday at 6pm with “Remixology,” at Otis (25 Maiden Lane, Union Square). Top African-American Mixologists will be sharing their original “remixes” of traditional American cocktails, as well as drinks representing Black culture around the globe. (Free entry; pay for beverages) Friday’s wine tasting event is already sold out, but tickets are still available for Saturday’s Wine and Food Gala ($75), featuring 80 wines and soul food from top Bay Area chefs. You’ll have to cross the Bay for Sunday’s Oakland Jazz Brunch, at Miss Ollie’s (901 Washington St.) from 11am to 3pm. The free event features the Marcus Shelby Trio and a special brunch menu by Executive Chef Sarah Kirnon (of Front Porch fame). For tickets and event details, visit sfnoir.org.

3) Drunken Spelling Bee
This brilliant competition at Cafe Royale pairs drinking and spelling to produce hilarity for contestants and spectators alike. Jimi Moran hosts, and the bar’s owners provide live ESPN-style commentary for the Drunken Spelling Bee this Sunday, starting at 6pm, at the Cafe Royale neighborhood beer and wine bar (800 Post Street, at Leavenworth). Spelling bee contestants can drink all the tap beers they want for $15 until they’re eliminated. The penalty for missing a letter? Drink. The reward for proper spelling? Advance to the next round for a chance to win free drinks. With Cafe Royale’s ever-rotating selection of lesser-known California brews and smaller-batch runs, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Free to participate and watch; pay for your own drinks.

4) Speed Rack Bartending Competition
Take twenty top San Francisco mixtresses. Put them in front of a panel of judges and an audience thirsty for fun. Challenge them to make rounds of cocktails, quickly, from a list of 50 industry-standard classic recipes. Rate them on prep time and accuracy. What do you get? An exciting event that puts the fun in fundraising. Speed Rack is a nationwide competition that highlights up-and-coming female bartenders while raising money for breast cancer. The event kicks off at 3pm Sunday at The Chapel (777 Valencia St., at Mission). To date, Speed Rack has raised more than $85,000. Tickets are $20-$25 each, and 100% of ticket sales benefit breast cancer research and education. Do it for the girls.

5) Mission Trivia Night at Gestalt Haus
Is typical trivia just too, well, trivial? Give Mission Trivia Night a try. Featuring SF-focused questions peppered with physical challenges (thumb wrestling, anyone?), this Monday night event at Gestalt Haus (3159 16th St.) takes trivia to a new level. Host Matt Haze (of Beats for Lunch dance party fame) and co-host Freddie A-Stare provide good-hearted mockery of contestants while challenging them to answer questions about the Niners and Giants, or the Sin in Marin. Gestalt is perhaps best known for an excellent tap list of local and regional microbrews, plus imported specialty beers. The menu features traditional and vegan sausages ($5 - 6) and toasted specialty sandwiches ($7 - 10). Patrons appreciate the pool tables, the indoor bike rack, and the comfy leather couch. Bring cash or an ATM card, because they don’t take credit cards.