What Should Replace Shuttered Tsar Nicoulai? A Cocktail Bar.
SF Eater today writes that the Tsar Nicoulai booth in the Ferry Building is closing. It's understandable why—this is not exactly a period of widespread populist Champagne and caviar consumption. However, it's still a bummer. A little scoop of caviar every now and then (without having to buy a whole tin) is a wonderful thing, especially when you pair that with a nice glass of bubbly. (Vodka and caviar advocates: sorry, you're wrong. Champagne is and will always be the better accompaniment.) But the fact is, anyway, that caviar is quickly becoming a thing most people know about more from reading Anna Karenina than by much in their own experience. For now, it's a treat of a bygone era.
But in every loss there is an opportunity. What should replace Tsar Nicoulai? The answer is simple—a small cocktail bar. The reasons are, as Thomas Jefferson would say, self-evident (Jefferson was a guy who liked to drink, btw). Like a caviar bar, a cocktail bar doesn't require a full kitchen, just a refrigerator and an ice machine. And since over the past few years the cocktail movement has become one of the most pervasive and significant gastronomic trends in San Francisco, it deserves a place in the Food City Hall. Besides, where else in the FB can you get a shot? Only at Market Bar, and that has a different vibe. CUESA has been working very closely with the USBG (the local bartenders guild) to create events that marry cocktails with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, obviously because they believe the cocktail to be a persuasive way to spread the word about local farming and ingredients.
Lastly, how cool would that be to be able to just amble up and stand at a circular bar (bigger, but generally like what's already at Tsar Nicoulai) and have a martini or a pisco sour?