Drink Here Now
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.
1. Playland Opens: Polk Gulch's latest boozing spot is named for the much-lamented amusement park that once graced Ocean Beach, but the items on offer here are of a more adult variety. The cocktail list includes a cotton-candy cosmopolitan and a Moscow Mule-like drink known as the Russian Bear, as well as a solid lineup of draft beers. Happy hour runs from 4-7 pm, with $3 brews and $4 well cocktails, and a special rotating $3 drink is available every Monday after 9 pm. (Monday-Friday, 4 pm-2 am, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm-2 am; 1351 Polk St., Polk Gulch.)
1. Rumors Opens: Courthouse types and fans of the Folsom corridor will be glad to know that another bar has arrived in the area (in addition to recently opened Raven). Rumors, on the corner of 7th and Harrison, is ostensibly a sports bar, but the atmosphere is pretty rarefied, with red walls, Edison-bulb lamps, and a mirrored back bar. All the regular sports-bar pleasures are still available, though, including flat-screens, pub grub, pool, darts, and cocktails like the Desert Heat (tequila, cucumber, jalapeno, lime) and the 1820 (rye, maraschino, lemon juice, orange bitters). Their happy hour, from 4-8 pm, features $3 beers and $4 well drinks. (Daily, 10 a.m.-2 a.m., 398 7th St., SOMA).
1. Heaven's Dog Launches New Cocktail Menu: Though it's the least touted member of Charles Phan's empire, Heaven's Dog (pictured at left) has a lot in common with its ultra-popular Valencia sister, Wo Hing General Store, including a nouvelle-Chinese menu and top-notch cocktails. To match Wo Hing pina-colada master Brooke Arthur, Heaven's Dog has brought on Rickhouse alum Trevor Easter, who's significantly altered Erik Adkins' original menu while maintaining a focus on drinks inspired by Charles Baker's 1939 Gentlemen's Companion.
1. Hecho in San Francisco at the Ferry Building: If you're looking to do it up in style this Cinco de Mayo, look no further than Saturday's CUESA and La Cocina fundraiser at the Ferry Building. The $55 ticket includes access to an outdoor party area with seasonal meat and veggie tacos from Tacolicious, bites from 12 of the city's best Mexican restaurants and vendors (including Nopalito, Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas, La Torta Gorda, and Chaac Mool), artisan jello shots from Sweets Collection, tequila cocktails made with Don Julio, Cuervo Tradicional, and Mi Casa, and plenty of cold Corona. It's enough to give new meaning to the word fiesta.
1. Big Opens on Nob Hill: The ironically-named Big is a tiny slip of a place in a former hotel bar on Post Street, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in cocktail creativity. Barman Brian Felley (Fleur de Lys, Garcon) has transformed the space into a custom cocktail atelier: tell him what spirit or flavor you enjoy, and he'll whip up something special for you ($12-15, depending on ingredients used). There's no menu, and Felley won't make the same drink twice in a night unless someone specifically requests it. The space is colonial-chic, with red, white, and cream accents and a tattered American flag framed on the wall; a kerosene lamp above the door will be lit when they're open.
1. Local Edition Opens: The team behind Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse has added a new spot to their portfolio. Newspaper-themed Local Edition (left) is housed in the historic Hearst Building's cavernous basement, which is also the former Call and Examiner printing room. The decor, as with its predecessors, is vintage-inspired and romantic; the vibe is 50's jazz club (red booths, dramatic lighting, curtains, cocktail waitresses in black frocks) meets old-school journalists' watering hole (period newspapers displayed in shadow boxes, typewriters lining the back walls).
1. Cerveceria de MateVeza Opens: MateVeza, which brews naturally caffeinated beer with yerba mate in Ukiah, has launched a beer bar and test brewery (left) just around the corner from Dolores Park, in the former Lilah Belle's space. Their eight drafts include all three of their own beers (an IPA, a black lager, and Morpho, an herbal collaboration ale with Mill Valley Beerworks), as well as rotating selections from Moonlight, Magnolia, and Marin Brewing. Once their 20-gallon brewing system is up and running, they'll offer 1-2 experimental drafts as part of their regular lineup. Also on offer: fresh empanadas from El Porteno, and a refrigerator case stocked with 100 different types of bottled beer.