View Full Version : The Alembic, San Francisco
Gary, his wife Libby and I ventured to The Alembic recently following dinner. It is a great bourbon, rye and drinks bar located on Haight. Their irish list was decent. They carry approximately 45 bourbons and 25 ryes including Pappy 15, 20, 23, several BMH's (both bourbons and ryes), Rittenhouse 80 and 100 proof, Weller Centenial, several BTAC's, Willets 22yo rye #1, etc. They also make several excellent traditional cocktails. Gary had a Sazerac made with the traditional "secret" ingredient and I had an Old Fashioned. They also pour some great beers too. Definitely worth a try when in San Francisco.
You know you're in a whiskey bar when the person next to you sits down and orders a Rittenhouse 100 straight up.
Thanks for the tip. Leslie and I will be arriving in San Francisco Thursday evening and staying through the weekend before heading up to the wine country. I'll try to make it to The Alembic, it sounds nice.
We had a great time with Randy there, and, Jeff, a few blocks down Haight from Alembic is sister bar Magnolia, a great brewpub which in effect is a gastro-pub (where the food is rather better than most regular pubs). Some of the beers from Magnolia are available too at Alembic, however at Magnolia you get the full range including 5 (yes) on cask. The Blue Bell bitter on cask is a must, it is their English style bitter styled exactly like in the U.K. They also offer Blue Bell on draught colder and filtered, so a good chance to compare the same beer served in 2 different draught styles. Their American IPAs (I think Magnolia has 3 in that style alone) are great too. See www.magnolia.com which has the link to Alembic. Say hi for us to Dan Hyatt if he is there (he tended bar that night), we were giving him the lowdown on SB and he said he may be in Kentucky in September. He is an excellent bartender, knows his stuff and shows great interest in his work, he would be a fine addition to SB and his place is a good example of how interest in fine whiskey is growing on the West Coast.
I was at Magnolia when I was in SF this winter, the food was excellent and seemed to be mostly locally sourced(probably a much easier trick to pull off there, than in say..Kentucky). Keep going down Haight and there is Tornado, a beer bar that tends to be at the top of many beer bar lists.
Ah yes, Toronado. I didn't make it there this time, I suggested it to our party for a nightcap after Alembic, but we agreed that was best saved for another day. I had a fine "Death and Taxes" by Moonlight there earlier this year. I had the same beer to finish the night at Alembic, but as served at Toronado it seemed better, I think simply because it wasn't served too cold and fizzy there. Toronado is one of those special places for the beer fan and ideally, Jeff, you will want to visit it too. It is also on Haight, lower down from where the others are, at Fillmore. A very unpretentious place it is but it gets all kinds and all who speak the language of beer are welcome. The sausage place next door is great too and you can take them into Toronado to eat with your beer.
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