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Drink Here Now: 5 Places to Sip This Week

At the end of 2011, we retired Lowering the Bar, our cheap-drinks roundup. Our new column, Drink Here Now, offers enticing drinking options for a variety of budgets. We hope you'll enjoy it!

A Preview of Two Sisters Bar and Books in Hayes Valley

With businesses like sunshiney interiors Room Service and liquid nitrogen Smittens ice cream, Hayes Valley is poised for its heyday. It's time — it's central, small, and adorable. A book exchange/bar/cafe is the perfect new neighbor wouldn't you say?

Come September, a charmer called Two Sisters Bar and Books will open. Conceptualized by Two Sisters, operated by Big Sister, curated by Little Sister, it's currently undergoing construction. Kindle break and read what Big Sister has to share...

How to Get into the Best Restaurants Without Having Reservations

There's something that my husband, a longtime restaurant industry person has taught me: When going out to dinner, have no fear.

Before I met Joe, I would never in a million years have attempted to go to the most popular restaurants in town, on say, a Friday night—with no reservations. But he never thinks twice about it. His attitude is, it'll work out, and it almost always does.

Thad Vogler of Bar Agricole Speaks

A modern, undulating ride of LEED-certified design, Bar Agricole might be the most stunning tavern to ever touch down in San Francisco. The fact that the high-concept, farmcentric tavern is located on one of the most scrappy blocks of the city makes it all the more fascinating. We talked to Thad Vogler, the mad genius behind it all. Just don't call him a mixologist.

Weird Art in Bars: Gold Dust Lounge

It’s not every day you find the business end of a pants-less cherub hovering over your gin and tonic. But if this is an experience you simply must add to your bar repertoire (really, you must), head to Gold Dust Lounge. Founded in 1933, this San Francisco institution seems to have handily avoided changing anything since. It still boasts the decor of a gold rush-era bordello, complete with worn red velvet, chipped gilt, and cheap booze.

Grab the Mic: A Look at the City's Best Karaoke Spots

When things get rough, sometimes you just have to sing. And  when your shampoo bottle doesn't cut it, it's time for a microphone and a few drinks. And for that, you head to your nearest karaoke joint. Unleash your inner Mariah at these spots - our favorites in the city for lettling loose.

Encore Karaoke Lounge, 1550 California St., S.F.

Weird Art in Bars: Redwood Room

A whole list of suitably ironic hipster bars was concocted for this series and I fully intended to stick with it, at least until I found myself at the Clift Hotel with out-of-town guests on Monday night. People, drinking in the Redwood Room is like attending Hogwarts without the treacle pudding and magical ability. Fairly innocuous while displaying Klimt's greatest hits, the digital frames lining the redwood walls eventually switched to unsettling Harry Potter-esque portraits of people who move when really they should be sitting still. Rather than blinking and breathing and staring down their patrician noses as you gulp your second strawberry margarita.

An Alternative St. Patrick's Day

Green beer, car bombs, pinching strangers: St. Patrick's Day, the old-fashioned way, can be plenty of fun. But if your memories of last year's hangover are still painful, or you can't stomach the antics of a holiday bartenders not-so-lovingly refer to as "Amateur Night," there are still plenty of ways to enjoy St. Patty's this Wednesday that aren't on the traditional Irish-pub route. (And if you still love the classics, take heart: three of the four bars recently chosen by Thrillist as the city's best are Irish pubs.) Here are a few suggestions for a fresh take on St. Patty's (all hours are for Wednesday):

Do Babies and Beers Go Together?

San Francisco has plenty of ultra-hip parents these days, and with the encroachment of rock shows and art events for the younger set, a new locale is emerging as the Final Frontier of family fun: the local watering hole. Buoyed by recent memories of their salad days and recession-induced frustration at dropping a boatload of cash on a babysitter, parents are bringing their babies into locales that were once their meat markets. As with everything involving urban children these days, this has provoked some heated opinions, from parents defending their need for a post-baby social life to childfree advocates decrying the presence of breastfeeding at the bar.

Cheers: Tosca Cafe's 90th Anniversary

 

 

Tosca Cafe, the most jaunty of the city’s gin joints, is also well-known as a destination for the celebrity set.

But last night in North Beach when Jeannette Etheredge celebrated the 90th anniversary of her beloved bar, the place was jammed with that most local of breed: San Franciscans.

Generations, in fact, gathered to raise a glass to this historic watering hole -- from cops, politicians, artists, ribald raconteurs to ballet dancers, theater folks, ink-stained wretches and the jet set.

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