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Drink Here Now: Sip the Pope's Wine, Judge a Cocktail Competition, and More

Tres hosts "La Ruta del Mezcal" this Sunday. Photo via Tres. 

We're not saying you "need" five excuses to drink this week. We're just saying, "Here they are."

Sip the Pope's Wine in Russian Hill

You don't have to go to confession to drink the Pope's wine. You can just go to Russian Hill and order it from Seven Hills, a Michelin-rated Italian restaurant. For $14 a glass or $56 a bottle, you can drink L'Ollivella Cesanese red wine, made from grapes grown in the hills of Frascati, where the Pope has a summer home. Just 18 kilometers from Rome, the tranquil hills of Frascati provide a breezy escape from the summer heat. Warm days, cool nights, and volcanic soil create ideal growing conditions and a unique, mineral-rich terroir for Cesanese grapes. L'Ollivela grows them organically and sustainably, then refines them for 18 months in oak barrels before turning them into a bold, structured, and elegant red wine. Seven Hills is open seven nights a week for dinner, serving house made pasta and signature dishes from Executive Chef Antony Florian. 1550 Hyde

Follow "La Ruta del Mezcal"

This Sunday afternoon, "La Ruta del Mezcal" runs through SoMA. From 2 pm to 6 pm Tres Tequila Lounge and Mexican Kitchen will host 12 of the best Mezcal brands on the market at "La Plaza del Agave" at Tres HQ on Townsend near 2nd. Browse from booth to booth, drinking specially-crafted cocktails made with each mezcal, including Wahaka, Del Maguey, El Jolgorio, Nuestra Soledad, Pierde Almas, Vago, Ilegál, and others. Local experts from each brand will be on hand to pour tastes and share knowledge. You'll also find light snacks of Mexican candies, botanas de pepinos, nuts and a salsa bar. If you walk out back, you'll find the Tres food truck, selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs and street tacos made from a whole roasted pig cooked over a live fire. Purchase tickets online here: $35/person or $65/two. 130 Townsend

Spirited Rivalry Cocktail Competition

If you need an excuse for a day drinking during the week, Anchor Distilling and RN74 have got you covered. This Monday at 3 pm, RN74 is hosting the "Spirited Rivalry" Cocktail Competition, and you're invited to take part in the action. Eight bartenders will compete in a high-stakes game of craft cocktail-making, featuring HINE Vintage Cognacs, BarSol Pisco, and No. 3 Gin. Restaurant guests are invited to watch the opening rounds and enjoy Happy Hour cocktails made with the contest spirits. Six contestants will be eliminated, and the remaining two bartenders will go shaker-to-shaker for "RN74 Heavyweight Title" in the final smackdown, starting at 5:30. The challenge: create three cocktails that pair with three surprise dishes by Chef Adam Sobel. For $55, you can partake in - and pass judgment on - the three-course meal with paired cocktails; dinner guests will be tasked with choosing the winner. Make reservations at 415.543.7474 or lriemens@rn74.com301 Mission Street

Experience French Culture at Francois & Co. 

The city's best bet for architectural stones and selective surfaces, Francois & Co. is throwing a wine tasting party with SF's personal sommelier, author, and wine consultant Courtney Cochran. Head over on Thursday, 3/20, from 5 to 8 pm for tips on wine pairings, sips from five stellar French wines, and a presentation by Cochran. 101 Henry Adams Street, Suite 444

Motown on Mondays at Madrone Art Bar

Let's say you're all liquored up from day drinking at the cocktail competition and ready to get down, rather than get dinner. Make your way to Madrone Art Bar for Motown on Mondays DJ Night. Starting at 6pm, you can boogie to the beat of originals, exclusive remixes, and close relatives of your favorite Motown songs from DJ Gordo Cabeza, Timoteo Gigante, and The Captain. Arrive early for Happy Hour, featuring $1 off draft beer and well cocktails until 7 pm. The party's free until 9 pm, when the cover charge goes to $3. As they like to say at Madrone, "It's only Monday if you treat it like one." 500 Divisadero

Send drinking suggestions to renee@grassrootspr.com.