SF: Tequila & Bourbon at Rio Grande

Wild Turkey Mural at Rio Grande

I’ve been anticipating The Bon VivantsTrick Dog project for quite some time so it took me by surprise when they opened Rio Grande, a pop-up bar. On my last trip to SF, I had to stop by to this eclectically decorated bar. It looked all ready for a music video shoot with stripper poles, murals of booze and Latin ladies plus just gorgeous tiles and hot bartenders.

There are just three drinks on the menu, the eponymous Rio Grande (whiskey, tequila, lime, lemon, salt & pepper rim). They’ll even rim the beer too if you get the beer and shot with your choice of hot sauce. But I was after the Jager-machine chilled Four Roses Old Fashioned.

Four Roses Old Fashioned

Ah, this is definitely the cocktails on tap trend to shine. But here I was sitting in front of Morgan Schick whom I saw win the Campari competition at Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Would he make me his winning Campari drink? Sadly, he didn’t have all the ingredients. Instead, I asked for a Boulevardier. I loved that he asked if I prefer rye or bourbon. Yes, for this drink, definitely rye.

Tequila and stripper poles

I have never seen anyone work so hard at chipping ice. I’ve watched ‘tenders at Rob Roy in Seattle and Bar | Kitchen in LA. And of course, Eric at the Varnish is famous with his saw. It’s possibly because they tend to cut them into smaller chunks then go from there. At the Rio Grand, there’s a big block of ice and you get a nice chunk. Not exactly square but close enough. I kind of want to bring a Snoopy Snocone maker with me to Rio Grande the next time I go.

love this decor

I know it’s supposed to be a pop-up but it really feels like this bar has been here a while. There’s nothing “temporary” feeling about it. The Bon Vivants have said the Rio Grande may come back in some other form elsewhere. But in the meantime, enjoy it on Market Street while it lasts!

We had a couple of other places to check out but I’ll be back in a couple of weeks!

And the question remains…

The Bon Vivants

Rio Grande

1108 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94103

© The Minty 2012