Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Bar Night: Mid-Market Edition

Mid-Market is a long-bedraggled area of San Francisco that has apparently been on the skids since they tore up Market Street to build BART back in the 1850's.  Last night we were trying to figure out exactly what the boundaries are.  I guessed 5th to roughly Guerrero but wow was I off; according to Wikipedia it's 5th to Van Ness.

Twitter was supposed to save Mid-Market by moving into the huge old Furniture Mart at 1355 Market, so it seemed fitting to begin there, at Dirty Water, which I think is actually a restaurant more than a bar but whatever.  They have the usual $14-16 cocktails but a nice happy hour special - either a Moscow Mule or a very good Old Fashioned made with Buffalo Trace for $8.  Obviously I got the Old Fashioned because how else would I know it was good.  It was good.

[Oddly, Dirty Water's URL - - redirects to the OpenTable page linked above. In fact, Dirty Water doesn't seem to have its own website at all, which is strange in 2016 for a big expensive restaurant. The significance of this, if any, is left to you.]

The place was pretty empty at 5:30 on a Tuesday and happy hour ends at 6 anyway so we split and went across the hall to the food court/bar thing called The Market they also have in the Twitter building so we could watch the Giants pathetically get shut out by the Red Sox and also have a few slices from Tony's Slice House, which were excellent, and a couple of Firestone Pilsners, which were also excellent.

We were actually sitting at the bar of the Tapas Bar but it's pretty much all interchangeable and you can eat the food from one station at another station.  We were surrounded by a couple of open laptops on the bar and lots of Attractive Young White People.  The only disconcerting thing was that every 30-45 seconds there was a huge muffled BOOM like someone was dropping something extraordinarily heavy on the floor directly above us.  We asked the bartender.  She speculated that it was maybe the bass.  It was not the music.  Obviously there is something fucking going on and the employees have been instructed to keep silent.

Next we went to the Hot Spot, a longtime Market Street dive that closed for a while when next door neighbor Alta CA was getting built and then reopened, after some difficulty.  I hadn't been in since the remodel.  It looks nice and now there are electrical outlets every 5 feet so you know that shit was done to code.

I have no idea what Hot Spot is like on a normal Tuesday because last night it was fucking PACKED with kids because Phish was playing virtually next door at the Bill Graham.  They were yelling and drinking craft beers so Olu and I retreated to the upstairs loft where the pool table is.

Taken from Hot Spot's Yelp page. I have no idea what this dog has to do with Hot Spot. I assume thew picture was taken there? Anyway, this dog sadly contemplating the world looks like we did surrounded by 20-something SCREAMING at Hot Spot before the Phish show.
Anyway, $8 for 2 PBRs.  Would return on a non-Phish-show night.

Final stop: Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio.  God, enough with the cutesy names already.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Mr. Tipple's looks like a fairly nice hotel bar and there was live jazz playing.  It's the usual fancy cocktails, with a twist - they're all a couple of dollars more than the price on the menu because the bar automatically adds 20% for tip!  Ha, what an unusual surprise to order a $12 cocktail and only get $5 and some quarters back!  I was going to ask the bartender why I was getting shorted and then saw this on the back of the drink list:

Please know right up front that we're applying 20% to each check to be distributed to all hourly employees who work tonight. This eliminates your need to tip, it will have already been included.

Well, Mr. Tipple's, if you want people to know "right up front," put it on the front page of the damn menu because we were surprised as hell. I guess if you're in the Exciting Mid-Market area and you want to grab a $15 drink that contains kirschwasser, whatever the fuck that is and don't have to say the name out loud to anyone, Mr. Tipple's is your place.


GG said...

JFC, I know it's been a number of years since I quit drinking but $14-16 for a cocktail seems insane. According to Bevmo you can still get a 750ml bottle of Ketel One ( for $20...

TK said...

It's even cheaper at Safeway.

Yeah, it is a little insane. Bartenders in SF will tell you about how exotic the ingredients are and how much rent is and health care and so on but yeah, at the end of the day, I can rarely justify paying that much so I usually don't.

On the other hand, I know some bars where a G&T is still an honest $5. No kirschwasser, though.

Civic Center said...

Yikes. Thanks for going to the bars in my hood so I don't have to. I do go into The Market at Twitter Thing to buy cornmeal crust Viccolo pizzas you can take home for $8/piece, and they are awesome and underpriced. Please don't tell anyone else or they will be ruined.

TK said...

Michael - They sell those Viccolo pizzas at my corner store and yes, they are delicious. I can totally recommend Tony's Slice House, though - you can get 3 slices for $20, which sounds steep but easily feeds 2 people (the slices are HUGE).

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