Although the formerly sleepy neighborhood around AT&T Park has undergone a tremendous modernization in the past few years, there are still signs of the region’s past as a thriving industrial region tied to San Francisco’s port. One such place is 25 Lusk St. The 100-year-old building has housed a meat-packing plant, a film-storage facility, a seamstress shop and a dot-com. Today, it is the home of Twenty Five Lusk, a slick new restaurant and lounge with historic brick walls, broad-beamed wood ceilings and meat-smoking rooms turned into intimate alcoves. Bar manager Ross Wheatley has infused the lounge’s drink menu with old favorites made with a twist, such as the Cazadero Cooler, Grapefruit Gimlet and Hendrick’s Margarita.
Twenty Five Lusk, 25 Lusk St., San Francisco, (415) 495-5875, www.25lusk.com
What is the concept of this bar? We are trying to have approachable fine dining and we carry that through the bar. Upstairs is the restaurant and downstairs is the lounge. We promote smaller, artisanal products and have fresh juices, fresh syrups and have no light beers, energy drinks or flavored vodkas. We like to have knowledgeable bartenders who are attentive and aren’t pretentious or showy.
What is the clientele like? Most people live in the neighborhood and we get a good happy-hour crowd from 5 to 7. We don’t get too much street traffic or much of a ballgame crowd, although we do get a bit after night games.
How long have you been a bartender? I have been bartending since I was 16 and was in school in England. I worked in a French bistro and during college I bartended part-time. I worked every summer and holiday and enrolled in a hospitality program. I did a lot of outside catering, too. I went full-time when I was 24 and moved to the States. ... I moved to Napa in 2008 and worked at the Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford. I started here on Sept. 24 last year and we opened on Oct. 16.
How do you come up with new drinks? It’s like a braintrust here. The chef tells us what’s fresh, whether it’s melons, strawberries, berries or grapes. Then I come up with the concept and roll it around a bit and then we come up with a final product. We add a new one to the menu every two to three weeks.
Can you tell me about the decor? It’s pretty modern, industrial chic. People liken it to something they might see in Manhattan. There are various rooms behind the bar for lounge seating.
What do you like about bartending? It’s one place where you can have true interactions with so many people, as opposed to servers who might have four or five tables. Bartenders see four times that in an hour. I also like trying new stuff and turning people on to new things.
Have you had any celebrities here? Clive Owen likes his gin and tonic. We have also had Lars Ulrich from Metallica, John Mayer, Josh Lucas and Bill Bellamy.
What does “knees up” mean? It’s like having a good time, like you had a right knees up at the pub.
In a snifter, combine all with lemon wedge, mint sprig, orange half moon and one strawberry half and stir. Add ice. Top with Prosecco and stir. Garnish with strawberry half on the rim of the glass.