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Eat + Drink

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

Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.

1. Peruvian Independence Day at Cantina: We have to admit that we're not always up on the independence days of countries that aren't France, but a pair of pisco-oriented deals offered today is making us revise that position. At Cantina, happy hour will feature $1 pisco punches, $4 shots of Campo de Encanto pisco, and complimentary snacks. Stick around after it's over to sample the latest and greatest from an all-pisco bar menu. (Wednesday, July 28, 5-8 pm, at Cantina, 580 Sutter St., Tenderloin.)

Locked & Loaded: Tasting Blue Bottle's New Honduras Marcala

Seasonal coffees are all the rage lately: Think, coffee you can only get at certain times of the year.  Blue Bottle recently added a new one to its lineup, Honduras Marcala. I tried it twice today, first at home, and then again at Cento, where they are serving it up as their current drip. So how was it? 

Eat It: Tequila, French Onion Soup and Catalan Cuisine

A Slow Food Catalan Feast at Contigo
Break bread with fellow Slow Food enthusiasts at the “Convivial Dinner” at Contigo on August 3. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet chef Brett Emerson and enjoy a multi-course Catalan meal with optional wine pairings in the company of other Slow Foodists. Tickets are $57 (without wine) and the dinner begins at 7 p.m. To reserve your space, click here.

Where to Eat and Drink Before A Show at the Fox

Oakland's Fox Theater has a concert calendar that sometimes seems like it was booked by the music gods themselves (this fall's lineup includes the xx, The Black Keys and the Flaming Lips, to name a few). But what's out there for pre-show grub and drinks? Here's a guide to the best to be had in the 'hood before a show:

Sip the Spirit of Summer: A Guide to Gin

Gin is light on the tongue and can be mixed with the freshest, most summery ingredients. It's the quintessential spirit of summer. From a Tom Collins to the classic gin & tonic, it can take on almost any flavor you like. The experts at have compiled a guide to the best gins to brighten any cocktails you might be mixing up this sunny season.

First Drink and Bite: The Sycamore

The Sycamore, the city's newest beer-and-bar-bites spot, calls itself "Your Favorite New Bar in the Mission." Based on its 15 five-star-perfect Yelp reviews, that statement might just be correct.

The Pizza Drops Tomorrow: Bruce Hill Counts Down to Zero Zero

Bruce Hill, chef-owner of Bix in SF and Picco and its next door pizzeria in Marin, is set to open the doors to his newest venture tomorrow: Zero Zero. Located next to LuLu in the former Azie space, the two-floored building has received a very Michael Brennan redesign (imagine a dark, rather gothic mural on the second floor, complete with images of tomatoes on the vine and … Pinnochio), massive mirrors over one of the two bars and salvaged vintage lights from flea markets. The man who first brought us pizza and soft serve took a minute out of a foggy day to give us the skinny.

First Bite: Wayfare Tavern

If you go to Wayfare Tavern, prepare for the flash. I'm not talking metaphorically speaking, either—you should prepare for customers armed with cameras, ready to catch a glimpse of chef Tyler Florence in the open kitchen (where he has been since day one, though the chef de cuisine is Michael Thiemann, who moved here from Hawaii). Such are the hazards of visiting a debut restaurant from a celebrity chef, one whose notoriety is based on 14 years on the Food Network, seven (and counting) cookbooks, a spot on Macy's culinary council and a baby food line, Sprout, not to mention a homegoods store that sells eponymous cookware and a Twitter following (@TylerFlorence) that numbers nearly 200,000.

Florence may be one of the most well-known chefs in the business, yet Wayfare is his first restaurant (there are two more on the horizon, due later this year—one in Mill Valley and the second in Napa). He's used his fame to go big with Wayfare, taking over the former Rubicon space and transforming it into a three-story eatery that nods to Barbary Coast pubs, rich with Americana and clubby touches, including a game room.

Farm Fresh Cocktails from SF Newcomer Bar Agricole

Just like the surge in popularity of farm-to-table dining in San Francisco, bartenders are beginning to follow their chef cohorts into the fields for the freshest fruits, veggies and herbs to add to their increasingly innovative and tasty barroom concoctions.

But the person who is taking this to the extreme is San Francisco's Thad Vogler, who just this summer opened the bar at Camino and the J Lounge at Jardiniere.

Weird Art in Bars: Noc Noc

A cross between a Neanderthal’s cave and Aladdin’s lamp, Noc Noc is a cozy cavern with a Gypsy color scheme and plenty of intriguing things to carefully inspect, should your date be late or nonexistent.

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