Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Bar Night: Patriot House, Hopwater

I love Bar Rescue, and I had heard that they were in town a while back trolling for a Bar to Rescue.  (Hilariously, they tried to hit up Shotwell's, which is doing just fine, TYVM.)  So when I learned courtesy of Inside Scoop that they had worked their magic on the Holding Company, you knew I would assemble a team to take a look.

If you worked anywhere around the Embarcadero Center from the 80's on, you probably had been to the Holding Company at some point, a featureless, fairly dark bar whose best days always seemed in the past and had such a ridiculous Gordon Gekko-type name that it just oozed Business Douche.

Anyway, Jon Taffer et al. presumably arrived and transformed the space into something much more current, much more San Francisco-centric, like....

Patriot House.  What the fuck.

That's right, the colonial Founding Fathers-themed bar you didn't know you wanted.  I can't figure out what the fuck motivated the Bar Rescue team to go all Paul Revere on Embarcadero 2, but I guess we'll find out in April when the episode airs.  Stephen has his theories:

Makes as much sense as anything else, I guess.

We got there around 5:45 on a Friday and it was SLAMMED, although I would venture a guess that even bad old Holding Company would be slammed at 5:45 on a Friday.  It's still dark and hotel-bar-looking, but with more patriotic geegaws and portraits of Madison and crap.  It took forever to get a drink, but we finally did.

I had the "Taft's Crowd Pleaser" with gin, lemon juice, orgeat, orange flower water, and grated nutmeg.  I think the lemon and the orange flower water didn't like each other because it tasted like an undifferentiated glass of sweet.  Olu had the "Blue Whiskey Van" with Dickel white corn whiskey, lemon juice, and blue curacao.  It looked like it would be the perfect drink for a Continental Congress Sping Break Ba$h but Olu said he liked it.  It tasted like a Sweet Tart to me.  We switched to beer.

The menu's here; we got the sliders and the nachos, which both had calories.  Olu pointed out that they missed a big opportunity by not trying to tie ALL the food descriptions to historical figures.  Not sure what Franklin Pierce had to do with smashed potatoes, but they really missed the boat by not going with the "General Antonio López de Santa Anna Nachos."

The crowd was off-the-shelf Fleece N Checked Shirt.  At one point there was a group of 6 guys waiting  for a table all wearing black North Face and with the same haircut and how do you guys even tell each other apart?  We finally flagged someone down for the check and booked.

Then we took a cab up to Nob Hill and went to Hopwater Distribution, one of two beer bars in the Union Square area that recently opened and appear to be so close in concept and name there is no way not to get them confused.  (The other is apparently called Hogwash and is 2 blocks away and its Facebook page is full of grinning blondes and dudes holding up big beers WHOOOOO.)  Anyway, Hopwater was also jam-packed (again, Friday, duh) with another crowd of young thinkfluencers.  Seriously, the M-F ratio must have been like 10:1.  There was nowhere to stand and everyone was braying about apps.  "The one good thing about this bar is that it smells like french fries," Alissa said.  We had one beer and went across the the street to The Summer Place, which was ALSO unaccountably packed. Maybe I'm getting too old for this shit.  The end.


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe you did not go with


TK said...


Yeah, you're right. We also would have accepted CODEBREWS.

Rachel said...

I secretly like Bar Rescue, too.
What were they thinking here though? Bizarre concept for San Francisco.

johan32 said...

Nice article! I also love going to hotels and restaurants to eat yummy Chinese food. My favorite place is a hotel bar in nyc. This is the best hotel bar nyc to chill out with friends. All of us book this venue for our parties also.

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