Since we were all busy paying attention to Tom and Katie breaking up or the soccer thing in Europe or whatever, I guess the Chronicle's list of the "Top 100 Bay Area Bars" flew under the radar. A few years ago I think I would have been really into analyzing it and overthinking it and complaining and whatever, but for some reason I don't get as worked up as I used to about this kind of thing.
Back in 2008, before anyone read this blog, I made a list of my Top 5 SF bars: Zeitgeist, Hemlock, Tosca, Alembic and Elixir. Pretty solid list 4 years later. Actually, I just went to Alembic for the first time in a couple of years on Tuesday and after I got a really good but screamingly expensive cocktail (gimlet, $13!!), I ordered a beer. Now, Alembic used to serve beers in regular pint glasses. What I got was a tall shotglass of beer for $6. Maybe 6 ounces. I held it up and asked the waitress "Are you kidding me with this?" and she says - not making this up - "The beer is designed to be drunk at a certain temperature, and we don't want it to get warm." Really, not lying. That's what she said. I've never had a problem with beer getting warm on me, especially in this fucking freezing city, but if that's really a problem, sell the mini-beers for $3 instead of $6. Ridiculous.
So I'd take Alembic off the list and add.....oh, I don't know, Thieves Tavern? I always have a good time there. I used to like Bloodhound a lot but then it went and got all popular and now it's ruined.
OK. BACK TO THE CHRONICLE LIST.
I've been to most of the places listed that are in SF. Some of them are actually restaurants (like Hog & Rocks or Nopa) and I personally think if there are more people eating than just drinking in your place at any given time, you're a restaurant and not a bar. (I'm sorry to bust on you, H&R. I really like you, but c'mon.) Still, I get that some restaurants have a really good bar program (like H&R and Nopa and Slanted Door) and deserve recognition for that and blah blah blah no one's listening to me anyway.
Glad to see Kennedy's and Kezar and Southern Pacific and Mr. Bing's. All fine establishments.
Speaking of Alembic, I'm surprised it's not on there. It's exactly the kind of place that people who make lists like this typically fawn over.
And Specs! Specs is the best. Let's all go to Specs soon.