Monday, July 21, 2008

Field Trip -- Clock Bar

Last week, the single greatest Cocktail celebration in the whole of creation went down in New Orleans -- Tales of the Cocktail. It is an event horizon of cocktail geeks, bartenders, and boozy luminaries. Five days of liquor fueled mayhem, and savage delights that are not to be missed. Unless you're me. Who was here in San Francisco. Ed, however, dispatched himself to pick up my slack, and assuaged my sorrow by sending me texts like, "Just talked to Gary [Regan], it's going to be a good day.", and "At the Plymouth Sloe Gin tasting. Mmmmmmm, so good."

If that hadn't been enough, a cabal of the bloggers which form some of my daily reading were working to drive me mad by chronicling the festivites in all their rage inducing glory. Even though they have no idea who I am. That's how devious the conspiracy was. Fortunately I had the just opened Clock Bar (beware .pdf), with the masterful Marco Dionysus behind the bar, as my oasis. Even more fortunately I had a good friend in town who was staying at the St. Francis for business, and her time was constrained enough that we pretty much just hung out at the bar when she had a few spare hours.

I first poked my head in on their opening day, which happened to be my birthday -- I only had time for one drink before I had to run off and meet up with friends for what turned out to be a huge amount of whiskey, but I knew what I wanted -- The Wibble. I've been interested in seeing what the local mixologists would end up doing with the Plymouth Sloe Gin since it finally arrived at out shores, and I wasn't disapointed with this. Made with Plymouth Gin (London and Sloe), Grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and Crème de Mure, this was one hell of a drink that boasted a perfect balance between sweet, tart, and bitter. I was sad that I couldn't just stay there to drink myself silly, but knew I would have plenty more chances. Since, over the course of the following few days, I drank my way through half the menu I'll just say that not one of the drinks was anything short of superb, but there were a couple that really made me a happy monkey.

The Chartreuse Swizzle -- I'm a sucker for Green Chartreuse, and this one commanded me to order it. The name sounded familiar as well, but I assumed I was just keying into the swizzle part thanks to the Dolores Park Swizzle at Beretta having such a glorious hold on me. The drink was as good as it looked, and in talking to Marco about it, it turned out that I had actually heard of the drink before. The Velvet Falernum in the drink is a great foil for the Chartreuse -- It's even swizzled with a swizzle stick that Marco wouldn't let me steal.

The Pegu Cocktail -- This made me so fucking happy for two reasons. First, this was the cocktail I had a little over a year ago at The Pegu Club in New York that made me the cocktail geek I am today. Second, the only other Pegu I have had between then and now was truly awful. This one, however, took me right back to the first sip of that delicious beast on the East Coast. Goddamn.

Perhaps even better than the drinks is having Marco behind the bar. I had never gotten around to sampling his work at Tres Agave, but his reputation looms large, and it turns out to be well deserved. He's got the kind of infectious enthusiasm that makes for a complete experience. Even as people swarmed in (many of them not at all interested in having a cocktail, but rather wanted to talk to him about how they had read about the bar in the paper, and wasn't it such a nice place), and women vied for his attention (seriously, the ladies were totally on the D-Train. I can't believe I just wrote that.) he remained unflappable.

This is probably the best addition to the cocktail circuit here since Beretta, and being closer to my office makes it just that much better. They open daily at 4, and if last week is any indication I'd recommend ditching work a little early and getting there when they open so you can make sure to get a prime seat at the bar.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

1 comment:

Cristina said...

I sampled Green Chartreuse for the first time at the Clock Bar last night. I ended up not ordering any drinks with it, as I'd started on gin-based stuff and figured it was best to stick with that at that point in the evening, but, I'm totally sold on its glory. It reminded me, though it was very different, of Killpepitsch, the German liquor, which I generally liken to Robitussin, but in the best way possible. Anyway, I'm also sold on the merits of Marco and the Clock Bar and I've already talked it up to my friends for future Friday night festivities. And it was nice to meet you on Saturday (I was the other blogger broad talking to your friend).