The Minty’s Mega SF Bar Crawl
I was in San Francisco for four nights so I thought that would give me enough time to check out one or two bars… a day. In actuality, I went to 14 bars/restaurants over the course of 4 days but I’m only going to talk about 5 in this post; Pacific Cocktail Haven, Pagan Idol, Hi-Lo Club, Linden Room and Wildhawk. I have individual write ups on a few others including Lazy Bear, Mister Jiu’s, Whitechapel, Liholiho Yacht Club, and ABV.
I was super happy to find Pacific Cocktail Haven was very close to my hotel. I got there within 5 minutes (even dodging evening traffic– wooh, SF drivers are aggressive) but anyway, once inside, it did feel very much like a tropical haven. My friend got the Ko’Olina Swizzle which was one of the prettiest drinks I’ve seen on my short SF trip. It’s very refreshing and a good way to kick off the night.
Ko’Olina Swizzle – Banks 7 rum, Banks 5 rum, banana, orgeat, bitters
We found a couple of seats in the back though my preference would have been at the bar. It was totally busy though so we were happy enough we got a little two top table. I was looking for interesting flavors and found it in the Thrilla in Manila. I love anything with calamansi and this whiskey based drink showcased it as well as li-hing mui (dried plum).
Thrilla in Manila – Evan Williams bourbon, calamansi, coconut, absinthe, shiso, li-hing mui
Boothby Cocktail – Larceny bourbon, sweet vermouth, sparkling wine, bitters
My fave drink was the Oh Snap! I love peas and the fresh sugar snap flavor comes through with the clean Sipsmith gin. It was simply delightful.
Oh Snap! – Sipsmith gin, sugar snap peas, Manzanilla sherry, absinthe, citrus, tonic(415) 398-0195
I always seek out tiki bars whenever I’m on a trip. I love the kitschy decor and the fun tiki drinks (though concerns over cultural appropriation and sensitivity is starting to nag me). But I just can’t resist those cool tiki mugs I can buy to take home to my ever growing tiki mug collection. After downing a few at PCH and dinner at Liholiho Yacht Club, we checked out Pagan Idol in the Financial District in San Francisco.
It’s a super cool bar with a big front room and a more mysterious back bar. We couldn’t get seats at the huts so we headed back to the front. It was more quiet but better to enjoy the drinks and look at the decor.
I had the Witch Doctor. Admittedly my choice was really limited to the ones that came in mugs you can buy. I ran into another drinks writer later on and she agreed this was the better choice of the two I was eyeing. Besides, it has rum and grapefruit, a couple of my fave things! Plus passion fruit and woah, an ancient curse?!
Witch Doctor – rhum Martinique, Jamaican rum, grapefruit, lime, passion fruit, spices, egg white, ancient curse(415) 985-6375
After dinner at Mister Jiu’s, I headed over to Hi-Lo Club. It’s a wonderful neighborhood bar that serves excellent craft cocktails at absurd low prices ($10 each?!).
My favorite of the three drinks I had was the International Swagger. I love that spicy Becherovka liqueur and it was a nice touch to the elegant rum cocktail.
International Swagger – white rum, Cocchi Americano, Becherovka, dry curacao
Full disclosure, I’m friends with one of the bartenders at Hi-Lo and she said her favorite drink on the menu was the Arbol. I gave it a shot because I trust her implicitly and also because I thought the ingredients were all fine things. I was most excited by the china-china which I feel not enough bars use.
Arbol – tequila, china-china, apricot liqueur, lime
I also tried the High Hat. It’s a simple drink for a simple good time. If I lived in SF, I’d be here all the time and not because my friend works there.
High Hat– rye, Cherry Herring, lemon
We asked the bar manager to whip up something. I went with my summer fave, gin, and he turned out a mean Negroni variation with a couple different amari as well as Suze.
We also had the Island Vice which was a fun tropical style drink.
Island Vice – cachaca, sherry, banana, coconut meringue
We tried another couple of drinks before heading out. By this point, I was starving again despite eating almost every two hours. So we headed to Lazy Bear.(415) 829-7565
After dinner (snack?) at Lazy Bear, we bounced to our last stop of the night, Wildhawk. We of course got the Breakfast Negroni which is one of the most instagrammed drinks in SF. It was created for Negroni Week last year and they brought it on to the regular menu. I can’t decide if it’s because it’s served in a wider mouth cup with the cute star-shaped orange twists or because it’s just a delicious drink. I’ll go with both.
Breakfast Negroni – Cocoa Puff-infused Negroni – Beefeater gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, chocolate salt bitters
Wildhawk also has other cute cups for their drinks including this panda one.
Sakura Panda – Toki Japanese whisky, Encanto pisco, Leopold’s cherry liqueur, lemon, Angostura bitters
The receipt had this quote, “today I will be happier than a bird with a French fry.” And I was.
Wildhawk3464 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94110 — (415) 830-9444 © The Minty 2017