Searching for a hearth, any hearth, in front of which to warm my toes on this cold, cold night, I headed to Blackbird Bar, a lower Castro haunt that I find myself at more often than not when I'm in the area, for this week's picks and drinks. In a city rumored to tip the scales at more than 800 bars, opportunities to be pretentious about your cocktail selection lurk, suspender clad, around every corner, and I've always noticed Blackbird to be refreshingly casual and comfortable considering the breadth of their selection.
What’s better than the gift of choice? Enter San Francisco startup Wantful, which allows shoppers to create custom books filled with 12 gift options. Here, 7x7 editors do the legwork for you. We’ve selected 12 great gifts for the epicure—from artisan chocolate and spices to handy kitchen tools—all priced at just $50. Click to pay, send a book, and let your loved one decide. Holiday shopping? Done.
Indian summer is in full swing, which means it's time for another edition of SF Cocktail Week, which runs from next Monday, September 17, through Sunday, September 23. Our Cocktail Week was the nation's first, and though other cities have since jumped on the fun-having/liver-punishing bandwagon, the folks at the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail have continued to innovate, introducing lots of cool new events to complement some of their stalwart offerings. Here are five of our favorite events, all of which showcase the amazing bars, bartenders, and spirits that the Bay Area has to offer.
Italian Cocktail Hour
Hey, all you feuding Obama lovers and Romney-ites. We know Election Day is speeding towards us, and it's already next to impossible to go a day without hearing someone ramble about Obamacare or debate over who Romney will pick as a running mate. Sometimes, it can all be a big buzzkill. But not any longer! We're cutting loose and joining the Maker's Mark Cocktail Party–and (of course) celebrating by throwing a series of awesome events going down at six of our favorite bars around town: 111 Minna, Osha Thai Embarcadero, Reed & Greenough, Wreck Room, Pete's Tavern, and Pier 23.
The Exploratorium knows how to throw a party, and for the third year, they've turned their annual fundraising event (100% of proceeds from the event go to the museum's programming) into a grand 'ole time.
Thanks to the continued popularity of the now widespread mixology movement, everyone's getting behind the science of the drink. Learn the physics, chemistry, and biology about everything from alcohol's components and cocktail creation to inebriation and the dreaded hangover—all while sipping a martini, of course. SF's best mixers—Bloodhound's Brandon Josie, Ricky Paiva and Russell Davis of Rickhouse, former Rye bartender Doug Williams, and more—will be on hand to concoct a killer combo.
Once upon a time, spirits steeped with herbs (like Aperol, an Italian bitter liqueur) were considered restoratives to treat mind, body, and even hangovers. Throw together a curative for whatever may be ailing you New Year's Day with The Kerouac from Burritt Room bartender Kevin Diedrich.
7x7 asks the city's chefs for the recipes to their most loved cocktails, bar snacks, starters, mains, and desserts. If there's a dish you want to make at home, send us an email. Your wish may just end up on the blog, along with the actual recipe from the chef.
No doubt by now you've been to several holiday parties already, and are probably planning your own as well. This means you'll need to mix up some drinks to knock their socks off. Get ready for the big night with the help of a true pro, H. Joseph Ehrmann (proprietor of Elixir and Nightclub & Bar Magazine's 2010 Bartender of the Year), who's putting on a Mixology 101 class this Wednesday, December 15th.
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.