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Lowering the Bar: 5 Places to Drink For Cheap (or Free) This Week

Each week, former sf.myopenbar.com editor Allie Pape brings you her picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF. This week: Jippidy, Butterfly, It's Tops, and other funny names for great deals.  Have an event coming up? Want to share a tip? E-mail her.

Cheap Date: Pauline's Wine Bar

Long before there was a fancy pizzeria on every block, there was Pauline’s, which opened in 1985 and was among the first places to serve “gourmet” pies topped with vegetables the owners grew themselves. Now, 20-some years later, the operation has expanded modestly to include a wine bar located in the alley right around the corner. Though the narrow entryway promises an underground vibe similar to Hôtel Biron, the décor within is more evocative of a Marin County home, circa early ’90s—a mash-up of gaudy tile, several paint colors and bright track lighting.

The San Francisco Holiday Survival Guide

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Praise the Lord and Pass the Biscuits at 1300's Gospel Brunch

While I may outwardly display all the trappings of a jaded city-dweller, I'm actually a native Southerner, and sometimes I miss being home. Sure, there aren't many concerts or plays to see, and the questions about my life in our fair city (a.k.a. Godless Heathenville) can get oppressive, but no one out here has nailed BBQ yet, nor do they share my passion for cornbread. So when I was invited to attend the new gospel brunch at 1300 on Fillmore, complete with Southern-inspired menu, I jumped at the chance. A hearty dose of spiritual music and mimosas would be a sure bet for curing my homesickness.

Smuggler's Cove Opening Date Revealed

Yesterday, there was some big news. And it was amazing.

The news was that Smuggler's Cove, Martin Cate's new Tiki bar is set to open to the public on December 8 in the old Jade Bar space.

Why was the news amazing? Because that date is pretty much right on the target that he set for himself when he announced the new project back in June. How often does that happen? If Cate's bar is run in nearly as orderly and well-planned a fashion as its conception and execution, it should be a very successful place.

The Bold Italic On Diners, Donuts and Knives

Though we pride ourselves on being a premiere food media outlet here in our fine city, we realize that we must give credit where credit is due: Therefore: the Bold Italic is very cool. This website, which launched in beta on October 16 and is backed by big publisher Gannett, bills itself as an "experiment in local discovery." Armed with the mission of making city dwellers better locals, the Bold Italic has amassed a cadre of "Bold Locals" who search the city for adventures, back stories and interesting, little-known gems, then write about them smartly and with authority.

Obsessed: Gayle Pirie (owner of Foreign Cinema) on Onion Rings

“I’ve always loved onion rings. There is a majesty to them when they are done well. My ideal version are the ones we serve at [my new restaurant] Showdogs, sweet onions that we soak in buttermilk and then batter with rice flour. But when you need a fix, you need a fix: If we have meetings at Foreign Cinema, we’ll frequently indulge in a white paper bag of rings from Jay’s Cheesesteak. They are sort of the classic, overbreaded, super-crunchy style. Zuni puts out a good onion ring—Judy [Rodgers] and I are of the same school. There’s always a gorgeous onion under a lacy, crispy crust. In the late ’80s, before I had kids, I used to go to Edinburgh Castle. I’d order a lager-and-lime and onion rings and douse them with malt vinegar.

Winemakers' Gloom, Winebuyers' Boon?

The Wall Street Journal just ran this interesting news video on the state of the grape economy in California this harvest. It bears some good news and some less good.

The first good news is that a surprise cameo towards the end has SF's resident young pinot noir star and 7x7 Hot 20 Under 40 member Jamie Kutch talking about his good fortune in getting access to some high quality grapes he never could before.

A Collaboration Is Brewing: Meet "Life & Limb" Beer

The beer world is a pretty unique place. While most captains of industry wouldn't dream of giving away trade secrets, brewers aren't afraid to share their recipes and collaborate. "You wouldn't find Google and Yahoo! building a website together," Ken Grossman joked during his introduction of Life & Limb, a collaboration between his brewery, Sierra Nevada, and Sam Calagione's Dogfish Head. The two breweries are fairly different in their takes on craft beer. Sierra, based in Chico, is one of the original craft breweries, known for their superb Pale Ale. Despite their extremely wide distribution, they produce sustainable, bottle-conditioned ales that tend to have balanced, clean flavors.

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