I absolutely love South at SF Jazz, and (my secret shame!) I've never actually attended a show there. I only go there for the cocktails. They're just oh so good, and if you sneak in after the show starts, you'll have the place all to yourself. But don't start going there––I like it when it's quiet. The cocktail menu is solid, below is a good chunk of it:
Vieux Carre––Rittenhouse 100 rye, Germain-Robin brandy, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Benedictine, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters on a hand cut ice cube. A classic Vieux Carre, nothing fancy, just a well done drink.
State Street Cocktail––Beefeaters gin, fresh pressed pineapple, pineapple gum, dolin blanc vermouth, celery bitters, soda. A refreshing cocktail that has more depth than many citrus-driven drinks thanks to the vermouth.
Derby Cocktail––Weller 107 bourbon, lemon, honey, cinnamon, Angostura bitters. Simple and classic. The honey is mind-blowing in this drink, mixing perfectly with the Weller 107 and bringing out some of its carmel notes.
Horse Thief Cocktail––Hayman’s Old Tom gin, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, absinth. The absinth and the Old Tom go so well together; each is spicy in a different way, activating different parts of your palate.
There are ample snacks and full entrees, if you're hungry. The cheesy grits were a perfect complement to the Horse Thief and the Vieux Carre.
The space itself is incredible, thanks to the huge windows:
Let’s be honest: The martini is not exactly the most accessible drink. While some are blessed with an immediate affinity for the dry, juniper flavors, for others it might take a bit of getting used to.
Which is one of the great things about Bourbon and Branch bartender Tony Devencenzi’s drink, As Time Goes By. It's featured in one of our new videos. The video introduces Tony—who incidentally works at one of the most storied bars in craft cocktails—and also teaches you how to make this delicious drink. It’s a sweeter twist to the martini with yummy, non-cloying, non-tacky cocoa notes.
It used to be that if you wanted to enjoy cocktails on a roof in San Francisco you had to either:
Prepare yourself for the Tenderloin and cautiously make your way to 620 Jones, a trendy lounge.
Make friends with a fancy SoMa high-rise dweller and convince them to let you up onto their roof.
Scale the side of your own house and hope for the best.
Good news for us all, though! A new rooftop bar and restaurant called El Techo de Lolinda is opening in mid-May, so when we don't feel like going to the TL on those rogue warm SF days, we have a new option (some might recognize it as the former restaurant Medjool). The spot adds a new, open-air dimension to the already bustling sister restaurant beneath it, Lolinda. Unlike Lolinda, which serves Argentine food, El Tech Lolinda promises Peruvian street food. Cocktails, meanwhile, will still be masterminded by bar manager extraordinaire Chris Lane.
The rooftop will be opening sometime in mid-May, but to whet our appetites, here are some pictures from tonight's preview party:
The view from the bar is gorgeous, especially at sundown. You can see straight down Mission Street.
Tonight there were canopies to keep people dry and heat lamps to keep people warm.
Small tables line the glass-wall perimeter, making it a pleasant, scenic spot for a cocktail and some bites.
At night the view is equally stunning. Heat lamps glow red, keeping us warm.
The roof has its own bar.
Is there a more professional word than "bad ass"? Bar manager Chris Lane is steering the upstairs program, as he is the main bars below in Lolinda—and we are all better for it. He brings his trademark attention to detail, flawless execution, and characteristic rich, complex flavors to this menu, as he has in the past.
Three cocktails were on the docket tonight. We were lucky enough to try two.
The first: Pisco Apricot Tropical, made from pisco, fresh lime, apricot liqueur, pineapple, bitters. It's a light, refreshing cocktail, not too sweet and with some complex funk from the pisco and apricot. Delicious and easy to drink.
The second: the Mexican Firing Squad, made of calle 23 reposado, lime, grenadine, angostura. A classic Chris Lane drink—deep fruit flavors, but also rich, smoky, and a little spicy. It may look pink and fun, but it's a pleasantly viscous, smooth sipper. We loved it.
We also got to try a few bites.
Here is Elote—corn on the cob, sour cream, chili, lime. Sweet, delicious, and a little acid. We could eat several cobs of this.
Ceviche de camaron - Shrimp, lime, tomato, red onion, cucumber, avocado, cilantro. Very fresh seafood paired with bright lime and a satisfyingly very salty finish.
Patacones - Green plantain patties, black beans, salsa. A tasty vegetarian small plate. Beans a pleasantly sweet and the plantain is crunchy.
Empanada de Alambre - Braised beef and picked cabbage. Super tender meat and the pickled cabbage gave it just the right kick
Welcome to the city, El Techo!
To tide you over until the spot opens, here's a slideshow of more photos from the preview event:
El Techo de Lolinda - opening mid-May 2013
2518 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110