Classic


Alembic

San Francisco-Anza Vista

4.4 / 5

May 11, 2018

As a site dedicated to unearthing the best bars around the globe, we are honour-bound to mention such treasures as Alembic.

As a site dedicated to unearthing the best bars around the globe, we are honour-bound to mention such treasures as Alembic. Though small, this Haight Street gem feels much bigger than it really is owing to high ceilings, clever lighting and the use of mirrors. There’s a dizzying array of drinks to choose from, and some first-rate bar fodder to boot, with an emphasis on local produce. House-cured salmon sparkling atop toasted sourdough dressed in sweet orange oil, mussels swimming in local beer, caramelised pork ribs, and fruit compote brimming with apples and apricots are among the delights on offer. The cocktails are as irreproachable as they are reassuringly old-fashioned but if we were to single just one it would be the thoroughly excellent pisco sour, a thing of beauty made from eggs and lemon juice. But really, who sticks to one? Though there’s an excellent list of old school drinks to be had (and the wittily written menu is worth taking the time to read) there are also plenty of newer inventions on offer: try the Vow of Silence (Wild Turkey rye whiskey, bitters, crßme de Griotte and Benedictine) or the spicy Vasco Da Gama, which mixes Buffalo Trace bourbon, Garam Masala spiced apple syrup and Islay scotch for a truly original concoction. The staff, despite their tattoos and long hair, are friendly to a man. They’re pretty skilled, too. Watching them craft the cocktails is an education in itself. Top chaps, top place their motto is ‘love is in the details’, and it’s clear the details really count here. It’s open till 2am every night, too, so what more could you want?

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