Drink Here Now
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.
1. Raven's Grand Opening Bash: The Folsom corridor between 7th and 8th has added another cool bar to its ranks. Raven has two personalities in its two stories: the downstairs is a charming craft-cocktail bar with a hip, speakeasy vibe, while the upper level is a high-energy dance club, complete with disco ball. To celebrate their grand opening, the Raven folks are throwing a party, with complimentary Tres Agaves tequila cocktails, appetizers, and a DJ spinning. Admission is free, but space is limited; RSVP here to get on the list. (Thursday, April 5, 6-8 pm, at Raven, 1151 Folsom St., SOMA.)
1. Fish & Farm's New Happy Hour: Fish & Farm, the restaurant in the Mark Twain Hotel off Union Square, is hoping to lure a few locals with a new happy hour focused on sustainable bites. On offer: $3 craft brews, $5 wine by the glass, and 2-for-1 featured cocktails like the Crystal Skull 14 (Crystal Head vodka, Cynar, agave nectar, lime, and allspice, topped with burnt orange), which recently won a Crystal Head vodka cocktail competition. Pair your drink with $3 bites like juicy pork skewers, housemade market pickles, or fish tacos. (Daily, 4-6 pm, at Fish & Farm, Mark Twain Hotel, 339 Taylor St., Union Square.)
1. Mission Bowling Club Opens: The blogosphere has been abuzz with the news that the long-awaited Mission Bowling Club has finally opened its doors. But while most reports have focused on the six lanes and the innovative food program by Mission Street Food's Anthony Myint, the MBC is also a drinking destination of note, with a full bar and cocktails developed by the team behind Minibar. (They've got plenty of space for non-bowlers, too, so reserving a lane isn't an issue if you just want to sample the fare.) Signature drinks ($10) include the MBC Cooler (rye, grapefruit, Dolin blanc, allspice, and soda) and the TBD (a combination of mezcal, jalapeno jam, and that will be named after the first bowler to score a perfect 300).
1. Free Bushmill's Tastings at Top of the Mark: In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Bushmill's will offer three nights of complimentary Irish whiskey flights at Top of the Mark (starting tonight!), with Senior Master of Whiskey Steve Beal appearing on the 21st and 28th to answer questions. If you enjoy the initial four-variety flight, they're also offering chicken wings braised in Black Bush and served with a chive and sour cream dip ($14), and donating $1 from every Bushmill's cocktail sold to the Raphael House, which supports at-risk children. (Wednesday, March 14, 21, and 28, 5-6:30 pm, at Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, One Nob Hill, Nob Hill.)
1. 7x7's Nightlife Guide Launch at The Brixton: Come join the 7x7 crew to celebrate the launch of our new Nightlife Guide at the Brixton (left). We'll have free copies on hand for everyone to peruse, and plenty of $3 Stella Artois and $5 Four Roses bourbon cocktails to wet your whistle. Feel like dancing? DJ CAMS will be spinning all evening long. (Thursday, March 8, 8-10 pm, at The Brixton, 2140 Union St., Cow Hollow.)
1. Lot 7 Opens in the Mission: The new Valencia St. seafood spot Lot 7 is filling a maritime niche in the neighborhood, starting with a happy hour that features $1 oysters, $4 glasses of wine, and $3 beers (with Belgian offerings from Hopf Dunkelweisse to Duvel). Once happy hour comes to a close, stick around for some grilled ahi tuna or dungeness crab mac and cheese from the regular menu. (Happy hour: Tuesday-Friday, 4-6 pm, at Lot 7, 974 Valencia St., Mission.)
1. Yelp Drinks Week: Just when your liver thought the Beer Week coast was clear, Yelp has launched another salvo with their annual week of 50% off cocktails, starring the "greatest hits" of some of SF's best bars. With 30 watering holes participating, choices abound, but a few of the drinks that caught our eye include the $5 Mikael's Moondance at 15 Romolo (white whiskey, apple-honey shrub, angostura bitters); the $5 Wry Rajah at Dosa on Fillmore (rye, vermouth, cherry liqueur, mango, chili); the $6.50 sage Sazerac at Fifth Floor; and $2.50 pints of Fat Tire at Hobson's Choice. The full list has even more great options. (Monday, February 27 - Sunday, March 4, various bars.)