Drink Here Now
1. Family Winemakers of California Festival: Small, family-owned California wineries are the stars of this sprawling tasting event, which features more than 750 different wines sourced from over 20 appellations within the state. For the first time, many wineries will also be selling wine on-site, allowing drinkers to take home their favorite bottles after tasting. There's also a special new iSip lounge, with a paired wine and food tasting led by sommelier Courtney Cochran. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. (Sunday, September 9, 3-6 pm, at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, Marina.)
1. The Corner Store Opens: Located in one of the city's more unusual spots (the former Hukilau space at the corner of Geary and Masonic), this new restaurant offers classed-up comfort food like burgers and wedge salad, as well as an extensive cocktail program (all $9) with lots of housemade syrups and sodas. The Strawberry Blonde (gin, cilantro, strawberry syrup, Drake's hefeweizen) caught our eye, as did the Pickled Paloma (tequila, pickle juice, lime, salt, house grapefruit soda). They also offer traditional fountain treats like a black cow or a strawberry soda float, and grown-up desserts like the 50/50 (spiced rum, orange marmalade, vanilla ice cream). Seven draft beers and six draft wines round out the selection.
1. Drink Here Now Bartends at Bottle Cap: Hi, I'm Allie Pape, and I've been writing the Drink Here Now/Lowering the Bar columns for the past three years. I'm breaking the fourth wall for a moment to let readers know that on Tuesday, I'm going to be on the other side of the stick for a change. I'll be participating in Bottle Cap's Charity Guest Bartender program, dishing up $5 Barbary Coasters (Flor de Cana rum, lime juice, ginger syrup, falernum, allspice dram). I'll be donating any tips I receive to Planned Parenthood Shasta-Pacific, which provides critical healthcare and screening services to low-income women across the Bay Area. The bar will also have live music from guitarist Craig Ventresco from 7-10 pm. I hope you'll come say hello, have a drink with me, and give a few bucks to this great cause! RSVP on Facebook to attend. (Tuesday, August 28, 6-8 pm, at Bottle Cap, 1707 Powell St., North Beach.)
1. Mission Rock Resort Opens: The newest spot from the owners of MoMo's and Pete's Tavern, located in the former Kelly's Mission Rock Cafe off 3rd Street in the Dogpatch, has plenty to offer: Sizable decks, gorgeous bay views, regular sunshine, and pre- or post-Giants game convenience. The cocktail menu includes approachable concoctions like the Pearry Francois (pear vodka, ginger liqueur, St. Germain, sauvignon blanc, housemade ginger beer; $11) and the Kappa's Fire Island (pisco, pineapple, cilantro, serrano chile; $11), and for weekend brunch, they're offering $16 bottomless mimosas (with your choice of orange, grapefruit, cranberry, or pineapple juice). Play ball. Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., 817 Terry A. Francois Blvd., Dogpatch.
1. The Mortimer Opens in the Hotel Adagio: The popular Bar Adagio has departed this life, but its successor, The Mortimer, has plenty of new advantages, including a renovated street-side space and a full menu of dishes like roasted poblano quesadillas, roasted pork belly with white beans, and filet mignon with lobster sauce. Most importantly, the cocktail menu has been refreshed, with intriguing drinks like the Early Bird (mezcal, kiwi, lime, St. Germain, salt; $10) and the Green Dream (pisco, green chartreuse, jalapeno, mint simple syrup; $13). For groups, they've also got three punch bowls that serve 2-4, including the Phantom (blackberry-infused brandy, Snap ginger liqueur, champagne, almond syrup, orange; $34).
1. Qi Ultralounge Opens in SOMA: After two years of renovations, this new cocktail lounge and dance club (pictured above) has opened in the former Annie's Social Club space at 5th and Folsom. The new theme is aquatic, with white sofas, sexy murals of underwater damsels, purple lighting, and even a custom ocean-breeze scent. Cocktails are themed around the four elements, with Methane (reposado tequila, peach, lime, simple syrup, black salt rim; $12) representing fire, Reservoir (cachaca, creme de cassis, vanilla syrup, mint, lemon; $12) representing water, and Granite (cognac, Cointreau, sour, Black Mission fig, ground cinnamon; $13) representing earth. (Tuesday-Wednesday, 6 pm-12 am, Thursday-Saturday, 9 pm-2 am; 917 Folsom St., SOMA.)
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.)
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.)