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The Alembic Bar
Taps: 10 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1725 Haight St.
phone: (415) 666-0822
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vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
This place, which in the creation of Dave from Magnolia, is fantastic! The atmoisphere is great, dark, but not too dark, and tiny, but just spacious enough with a wonderful ambiance and victorian aire about it. The quality of the food and the rotating tap and bottled beer selection is phenomenal and the service is very good as well. I ordered some BBQ pork belly and some sort of absinthe cocktail and they were both fan-freakin-tastic. The beer selection is kept interesting with many magnolia brews and other local micros as well as a hefty bottled beer list and an awesome whiskey selection. The prices are not the cheapest in the city, but hey as a treat to yourself it's definately worth it and just think...you can eat here 3 or 4 times for the same amount of money it would cost you to eat somewhere like Aqua once...
05-18-2007 04:37:35 |
More by francisweizen
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5 | $$$
From the outside this place seems plain and unassuming. A closer glance at the window reveals a short tapas menu and the house cocktail list. Inside you're struck immediately by visual and auditory ambiance: the high gilded ceilings, old fashioned fans, and quiet electro jazz tell you this is no dive bar. In fact, the liquor selection is the biggest I've seen in the area, with 4-5 shelves spanning about half the length of the restaurant. The bar, which is in the front-left of the house, is medium length (about 15 stools) and a shelf on the opposing wall offers a place to rest your drinks to about 10 more stools. Beyond the bar area is the dining room, equipped with roughly 10 tables offering up about 30 seats.
I went for dinner at about 7pm and found only 6-7 other customers there. Although I made immediate eye contact with the bar tender, I stood awkwardly for 2-3 in the space where the bar meets the dining room, waiting for someone to seat me or at least let me know if I could seat myself. I had a chance to look around a little more and noticed 10 unmarked taps under the liquor shelves and cursed them for not having tap handles.
After being seated in the back corner of the dining area (cloth napkins!!) my girlfriend and I were graced with cordial and eloquent service. The waitress offered advice but was not obnoxious, joked politely when appropriate, and encouraged a relaxed pace to enjoy the experience.
Sounds good so far, right?
The plates (small!) run mostly from $10-15, with a couple appetizers costing anywhere from $5-$10. Between two people we shared the lemongrass frites ($5), warm goat cheese salad ($9), lamb sliders - 2 per order ($10), and a bean & autumn squash casserole ($13). The food was delicious! I loved everything that was brought to the table, and left full.
The beer... oh, the beer... There are 10 taps, and all the drafts are $5: 6 from Magnolia and 4 from other local breweries. The bottle list is exceptional for a restaurant, but the prices are so inflated that ordering one would be completely insane. I ordered the Magnolia Wit Rabbit and the waitress came back saying they only had it in bottles. "Since when does Magnolia bottle their beer?!" I exclaimed in confused delight. Alas, she thought we were ordering something else. Two more beer requests were met with the stinging response "Sorry, we don't have it in stock anymore." I finally settled on the Marin Star Triple Wheat, and was shocked when I was handed an imperial pint glass. Tasted it; it was an IPA! I asked told the waitress and she responded "Oh, our Marin Star is the IPA today." Umm, you mean White Knuckle?
So, in brief: the beer menu is NOT current, and I believe they're going to install a blackboard (Magnolia style) to avoid confusion. The draft selection was very weak - they didn't have any of Magnolia's seasonals and their guest taps were not unique. The wait staff aims to please but is deficient in beer knowledge. The bottle list is somewhat of symbol, not really something to be considered for consumption. And the food is delicious.
(p.s. The bathroom is cleaner than yours - and instead of paper towels there's individual wash cloths that you throw into a hamper when you're done. Excellent!)
10-25-2006 20:06:03 |
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The Alembic Bar in San Francisco, CA