Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where to Drink: Opening Week at Trick Dog [pictures]

Trick Dog SF

It might be because the bar project has been three years in the making (that’s four human babies). Or perhaps because the bar brings some heavy design swag, even integrating Pantone colors into the menu. Or it could even be because the backers, the Bon Vivants, are among the darlings of the San Francisco bar scene. Whatever the case, Trick Dog has been one of the most anticipated bar openings this year—and it finally opened last week.

So Josh and I went there earlier this week to check it out—it’s a cool place! Nestled into the industrial border between Potrero Hill and the Mission, the two-storey spot attracted a small crowd of enthusiasts. Everything about the space is intentional—the latticed light bulbs, the stained floors, the elaborate light fixtures along the walls, and the namesake perched in an unassuming corner (a coin bank), to name a few. The bar offers a great addition to the small collection of watering holes in that part of town, like the Homestead and Dear Mom. It’s perfect for a lively nightcap (or starter!) before nearby Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Salumeria. Or a general night of food, friends, drinks, and fun.

Here are pictures of the new spot:

The outside of Trick Dog is clean and unassuming. Don't miss it! Inside, good times await.

Trick Dog Exterior

The bar—a bit brighter and emptier than usual, since I took this picture after last call. You can see the second floor of seating where you can sit at tables and eat above the bar.

Trick Dog: The bar

If you look closely, the design of the bar contains many details, like these wall lights.

Trick Dog: Light Fixtures

The bar staff measures drinks carefully with these neat custom beaker-like jiggers.

Trick Dog SF

There are also special beakers for stirring (see the vessel on the right)—a split from the Japanese Yarai mixing glasses that are so popular right now.


Peter makes drinks like a boss. What a pro!

Trick Dog SF

The drink menu at Trick Dog is designed like the classic Pantone color guide (the definitive folks for color and design), using the same fan booklet format. They even cite colors by number (which is how Pantone labels the colors) and then match it in the cocktail.

Trick Dog drink dog menu is like the Pantone color guide

I tried the Gypsy Tan (aka orange/2808), which contains Rittenhouse 100 rye, Mandarine Napoleon orange liqueur, Fernet Blanca, ginger, lemon, Erdinger Weissbier, and nutmeg. It's served long in a collins glass over ice.

Trick Dog SF: Gypsy Tan

Josh tried the Baby Turtle (Ocho tequila, Campari, grapefruit, cinnamon, lime, and egg white).


We also sampled the St Elmo's Fire — Denizen white rum, Amaro Averna, pineapple, coconut vinegar, all spice, and lime. It's served in a old fashioned glass on the rocks.


We finished off with a Witchwood (2803) — Torres ten-year brandy, Pampero Aniversario rum, Manzilla sherry, Pedro Ximenez sherry, Ron Miel honey rum, and Alhambra bitters. Served up. It's a great night cap for a cold evening—warm, dark, and rich, like cherries and stone fruit.


On a second research trip, I also got to try an Amaro and Moxie. Moxie is apparently one of the original sodas. It's much less syrupy and cloying than, say, a rum and Coke. A happy alternative.


For the hungry, there is also food. The front of the menu bears the bar's namesake—a coin box. The real thing actually sits in a corner above the bar.

Trick Dog food menu front & namesake

The food is not your typical bar food either. There are some unusual gems like the Sweetie McNuggets (sweetbreads dredged and fried) and the Fernet ice cream.


Three cheers for Trick Dog.

For more pictures you can go to our Flickr.

Trick Dog
3010 20th St.
(between Alabama Street and Florida Street)
San Francisco, CA 94110

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