Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Heaven's Dog Re-Opens: A Small Peek at The Coachman

Anyone who has ever seen the TV show Cheers knows what it’s like to have A Place.

It doesn’t have to be a bar. It could be a coffee shop or a lunch place, a tea shop or maybe even a favorite stretch of beach. It’s a place where, well, yeah—everybody knows your name. You know the people there; they know you. You feel so comfortable there you could find the bathroom blind. And you already know what comes next in the Spotify/Pandora list.

Have you ever had a place like that? Well, for us, that was Heaven’s Dog.

Josh and I have shared countless memories at Heaven’s Dog. We first started going there in 2009—that first time we met Erik Adkins thinking he was a bouncer (and were stunned out of our minds when he ran behind the bar and made a Remember the Maine for me and a Bittered Sling for Josh; funnily, we switched cocktails. The Bittered Sling would instantly become one of my favorite cocktails).

And we’ve gone ever since. Since opening, the staff was stacked with an all-star team. And it soon became storied and cherished place among industry professionals, who would head down to the SOMA “hole in the wall” if they got cut early.

Then one cold day in November, we pulled up for a quick mid-week night cap, and the place was dark. There was a handwritten note on the door: “Closed tonight.” We would later find out that there was a flood in the building forcing the restaurant to temporarily close.

Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed. A year passed.

And we soon learned that Charles Phan—owner of Heaven’s Dog and of the famous Slanted Door Group in San Francisco—had greater plans for the restaurant, renovating the whole space for a new concept: British pub.

This week Heaven’s Dog finally reopened as The Coachman.

As beverage director of the Slanted Door Group, Erik Adkins is steering the bar program with John Codd in the esteemed position of bar manager (formerly of 15 Romolo and former bar manager of now-closed Slanted Door sister restaurant Wo Hing). The food is expected to be English steakhouse style—with prime rib, pies, Yorkshire pudding, and modern twists on bangers and mash.

We haven’t seen the space fully operating yet, but here we offer a little sneak peek from the opening event.

There are some notable changes to the space.

The private glass dining room has been knocked down, as well as the office space behind it, creating a much longer and open dining room.

Mall-goers might recognize this handsome back wall, which used to be at the Out the Door restaurant in the Westfield.


The back bar has been changed up a bit, too. The long glass shelves have been replaced by modern looking boxes—either a similar design to the now-closed Wo Hing or maybe even taken from it.

The long, gorgeous bar—all one piece of wood—remains intact, looking good as ever.


Hand pumps have been installed for the cask ale program. This warmer style of beer service was something I grew fond of in London, and I’m excited to see it brought to The Coachman.

Three cocktails at the event were offered up as a hint of what’s to come (please note, different glassware and garnishes will be used during full service).

The Pineapple Julep, a bright, tasty and refreshing drink of Bols genever, spiced and roasted pineapple, maraschino liqueur, and crushed ice —a Jerry Thomas classic that tastes of tiki meets American old school.


Wall-E-Bear, a smooth rum drink with a little bit of funk. Made from Aniversario pampero rum, fino sherry, negroni reduction, and yellow chartreuse.


And Knickerbocker, another bright cocktail of Appleton A/X Jamaican Rum, Strawberry, Kina, lemon, and sparkling wine, easy to drink, especially with food.


We’ll tell you more as we get to know The Coachman better. But for now: Welcome to the world, The Coachman!

The Coachman
1148 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 831-1701

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