As you may (or probably should) know, we’re cocktail fiends. This affinity followed us to San Francisco, where we sought out a few of the city’s best cocktail lounges to see if they could match up to our favorite New York haunts.
The first place that popped up on my radar was a newish bar called Wilson & Wilson, located in the Tenderloin. Get this: it’s a bar within a bar. Yes, Wilson & Wilson is located within Bourbon And Branch, another haunt of San Francisco’s cocktail cognoscenti.
Wilson & Wilson follows the theme of a private detective agency. You enter through an unmarked door which takes you into Bourbon And Branch. You’re given a password just for you, then the host takes you back to a much smaller room and presents you with your “dossier” for the evening, as you can see above.
The cocktails are relatively affordable (three for $30) and are concocted with a mix of various tinctures, house made bitters, and a wide variety of specialty spirits and liqueurs that you don’t always see.
While we sipped, we chatted up our bartender who was quite an amiable fellow. He told us that he also works at a bar called the Alembic and invited us in on Monday afternoon, when he was working next.
Obviously, we couldn’t resist.
Tim Zohn, the bartender, took excellent care of us and we absolutely loved the vibe at the Alembic. Tim introduced us to a few of his friends and “regulars” and also guided us toward some of Alembic’s delicious small plates. Stir-fried shishito peppers with sea salt and duck heart and pineapple skewers? Um, yes, please. (This wasn’t just your typical bar food.)
That pretty little number above is the Gilded Lily—Plymouth gin, yellow Chartreuse, orange flower water, sparkling demi-sec, and yes, a dash of gold leaf for good measure.