1. Amber Dhara's Ayurvedic Cocktails: Amber Dhara, the sister spot to Amber India on Valencia Street, just opened the doors to its enormous space (6,000 square feet!) a couple of days ago, serving the upscale takes on Indian fare that the mothership is known for. A new addition, however, is Nirupana Srivastava's lineup of $11 Ayurvedic cocktails, made according to the principles of Indian medicine (though we doubt they'd recommend the booze). The intriguing entries include the Belly Dancer (mezcal, Rhum Clement creole shrub, housemade aphrodisiac nectar, citrus, Madras spice rim) and the Blessed Monk (Hangar One Buddha's Hand vodka, goji liqueur, lemon basil, lemongrass, black pepper, coconut water).
1. Dixie Introduces Happy Hour: With summer Fridays in full effect, consider making a trip up to the Presidio for some quiet, greenery, and happy hour at newish Southern spot Dixie, whose food and cocktails were praised by our own Carolyn Alburger earlier this month. The restaurant's "Cocktail Hour" includes rotating $5 menu items (this week's has been fried chicken), as well as a $5 wine, cocktail, and beer, with offerings like the Georgia Lemonade (Buffalo Trace bourbon, peach liqueur, lemon, soda) and a bourbon-barrel-aged Widmer Brothers ale. (Daily, 4-6 pm, at Dixie, 1 Letterman Drive, Presidio.)
Despite the timeworn warnings about books and covers, research has shown that plenty of wine drinkers make their purchases based on the label of the bottle, not its contents. But while many of those who take their wine seriously may decry ignorant consumers who choose a chardonnay with a cute dancing kangaroo over a pristine French vintage with no graphic-design chops, the managers of the Lark Creek restaurant group (a Bay Area restaurant company whose SF spots include One Market, Cupola Pizzeria, and LarkCreekSteak) were confident that they could find wines with cool labels that also tasted great.
1. Bastille Day at RN74: In a town that adores all things Gallic, the French national holiday gets a lot of love, with events all over town (we're listing three of our favorites below). RN74 is celebrating Bastille Day with a party featuring acrobats, contortionists, and an accordion player, as well as a menu of $1 cocktails, oysters, French pastries, and truffle popcorn. Come dressed in your best Parisian ensemble to get a free drink ticket for a special Bastille Day cocktail, and you'll also be entered to win dinner for two at RN74 or a bottle of wine. (Friday, July 13, 3-10 pm, at RN74, 301 Mission St., SOMA.)
1. Three-Martini Lunch at Park Tavern: If you're itching to relive the Mad Men glory days of lunchtime drinking, consider skipping out on work on Friday afternoon (or taking advantage of those half-time summer Fridays, if you get them) and heading over to Park Tavern. They're offering a special three-course lunch paired with your choice of three martinis or roses for $50. Choose from options like a "BLT" salad with a gin Gibson, a grilled hanger steak with a Martinez, or Rogue Creamery blue cheese with walnut bread and a smoked cherry daiquiri. The full menu (PDF) is here. (Fridays, 11:30 am-2:30 pm, at Park Tavern, 1652 Stockton St., North Beach.)
1. High on the Hog at Epic Roasthouse: With its epic views of the Bay Bridge, Epic Roasthouse is a fantastic spot to throw an outdoor summer party-- which is why they're doing exactly that on Saturday afternoon, celebrating the twin joys of pork and pinot noir. A dozen different wineries, from Calera to Kutch, will be on hand, alongside dishes like porchetta, spare ribs, roasted clams with pork jowl, and homemade maple-bacon ice cream cones. Joey Altman and the Soul Peppers will add their brand of rock and soul-influenced music. Tickets are $75, and include tax and gratuity. (Saturday, June 30, 1-4 pm, at Epic Roasthouse, 369 The Embarcadero South, Embarcadero.)
1. Bourbon & Banter at St. George Spirits: If you enjoy bourbon and comedy, the St. George Spirits hangar in Alameda should be your destination on Friday night. As a benefit for ScholarMatch, which helps underprivileged kids attend college, comedian Aisha Tyler will be recording an episode of her podcast, where she'll interview author Chuck Klosterman. The $125 admission includes the taping and a Q&A, cocktails made with St. George's Breaking & Entering bourbon, food from S&S Gastro Grub, and a raffle for prizes like the opportunity to play poker with Tyler, Klosterman, and St.
1. Top of the Mark's Summer Movie Series: Like most cities, SF offers summer movie screenings in the park, but our warmth-challenged summers make it hard to focus on the film through all the teeth-chattering. Thankfully, Top of the Mark has intervened, screening classic films all summer long for free in the great indoors (with a killer view, to boot). And to sweeten the deal, they're offering wine tastings from the likes of Domaine Chandon and Wild Horse Vineyards, available for a $3 suggested donation that benefits BAYKIDS.