The Hill is Alive with Beverages

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When it comes to getting a drink on or around Potrero Hill there are many water holes to investigate.  In Dogpatch, several bars are sprinkled around Third Street. On the North Slope, within a whiff of the Anchor Brewing Company, there’s a number of options.  There’s even drinking spots in Mission Bay. The View went on a “bar crawl” last month and discovered what some of the neighborhood’s drinking destinations are all about.

Blooms Saloon, on 18th Street, is a Hill landmark.  A locals’ favorite known for the spectacular City view from its back windows, it has a Bay Area sports fever cum community vibe. “We have everything from rocket scientists to crabby old men,” bartender Will Brining said. Brining himself is local; he lives two blocks away.

Brining emphasized that the bar is a community member, serving as a meeting place for recreational softball teams, holding fundraisers for nearby schools, cooking up barbecues on the patio, celebrating the Fourth of July with a picnic, and hosting a raucous Super Bowl party. It has an assortment of local brews on tap.

With 25 years of history, The Connecticut Yankee, on Connecticut Street, is a corner bar and eatery that’s a neighborhood mainstay with a New England vibe. “All the transplants congregate here,” said bartender Diane Mode, herself a third-generation San Franciscan. Opened by East Coasters in 1989, the bar has its share of Bay Area spirit, with San Francisco Giants and 49ers posters and signs hanging on its walls. The bar was packed during last month’s Super Bowl that saw the victory of the New England Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks. The Yankee has a full menu and kitchen whipping up authentic chowders and traditional American fare. With the bar just blocks from Anchor Brewing, Mode said she jokingly tells people “we have a direct line.”

Thee Parkside, on 17th Street, is a painted facade bar-turned-music venue. Since reopening in 2007 under new ownership, the establishment has shifted its reputation as “the punk bar” to welcoming a mix of musicians, from country to metal. Featuring nearly weekly shows, the bar also offers a “Family Day” on Sunday afternoons, with free music from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Because of its location across the street from Jackson Park, bartender Rachel Neiman said the clientele tends to be softball players fresh from a game, but also includes construction workers and art students. Neiman pointed to the bar’s low prices that help with “keep-ing the dive feeling.” Parkside has a kitchen that serves up deep-fried taco specials, burgers and tater tots, as well as a Sunday brunch. A covered patio provides seating for eating.

Triple Voodoo, on Third Street, is the latest brewery and taproom to join the neighborhood, celebrating its first anniversary last month. Co-owner Greg Kitchen said his Belgian- and West Coast-style brews have proven success-ful.  A taster of four to six beers is a popular way for patrons to try several of the beers brewed onsite. Voodoo offers beer education classes and beer and chocolate pairings.

Third Rail, on 20th Street, might as well be called the “jerky bar.” The establishment, which took over the former Retox Lounge in 2013, offers whiskey and jerky pairings, and even jerky and cocktail combos. The jerky is homemade by the bar owners.  Ac-cording to bartender Roland Blandy, the “rail shot” is a popular menu item: half a beer, half a shot and a piece of jerky.  Serving jerky as bar food has been “well received” and “very popu-lar,” he said. A fan favorite is the “Red Eye Jerky.”

Blandy, who lives in the Mission District and works as a sculptor from a West Oakland studio, said he likes Dogpatch’s village feel.

After Third Rail was listed on online culture site Thrillist’s top bar list it’s become a destination spot. The bar is busiest on Friday nights, with patrons vying for a taste of one of the 16 cocktails on offer, including an ex-perimental concoction made with eggs whites and butternut squash puree.

The Sea Star, on Third Street, change its name from The Goat back to Sea Star after the Southern Pacific Brewing Company in the Mission bought the Dopatch space and reopened it last April. According to bartender Robbie Reid, who moved to San Fran-cisco from Philadelphia in October after 16 years on the East Coast, the bar is considered “divey,” but he argued it’s not that divey. Offering a pool table, free popcorn and cheap pints, Reid said the place is worth a visit. Happy hour brings in tech workers after work; other regulars include ship repair workers. With televisions tuned into sporting events, Reid said the Sea Star attracts football, baseball and other sports fans. Dogpatch Saloon, on Third Street was recently revamped, but is still slinging drinks after a century in the eponymous neighborhood. Edward Calhoun, a Saloon bartender since the establishment reopened after a redesign about a year and a half ago, described the bar as a classic saloon that draws local residents, with a happy hour crowd from nearby offices. “We try to be a place everyone can enjoy a great experience,” he said. He recommended grabbing a cocktail and ordering pizza from the nearby Long Bridge Pizza, which delivers to the bar. The Pub, on Owens Street, is locat-ed in an unlikely spot at the University of California, San Francisco-Mission Bay campus, near the gym, pools and conference areas.  The establishment offers beers on tap and a California wine selection. According to food service worker Ivonne Diaz, who has worked at the Pub for six years, the crowd is mostly UCSF staff and more recently constr orkers, who treat the Pub as the school’s cafeteria. She said lunch is the busiest time; the restaurant and bar closes by 8 p.m., curtailing any late-night plans. Diaz said it’s not much of a party scene, but a convenient place to grab a drink after work. This isn’t a location to drink on the weekend; it’s only open Monday through Friday.

Other spots to explore for libations: The Ramp, Yield Wine Bar, Magnolia Brewing Company, Mission Rock Re-sort, Double Play, Il Pirata, Bottom of the Hill, Mission Hill Saloon, and the tasting rooms at Speakeasy and Anchor Brewing.