Overlooking the Market Street hustle, FiDi workers in matte gray suits, striped collars and polka-dot ties pull dim sum from steaming baskets and order top-shelf spirits while leaning against the blue-lit bar. Hakkasan's San Francisco location is part of an international chain serving high-end Chinese food and craft cocktails mixed with more than a dozen hand-pressed juices and house syrups. During the day, natural light shines through the lattice woodwork throughout the restaurant. And by night, Daniel Parks, aka Doc, pours from the pocket of the V-shaped bar. Parks earned his moniker as a DJ in San Diego, and now he's popular among co-workers who need a boost. Trust him, he's a doctor.
Tell me about your first bartending experience. I was 17, hosting a party in Escondido for 500 people. It was the late '90s, pager era. We had a hotline for the party details. We were on a 99-acre ranch. My friend's parents were gone for the weekend. Literally we had 15 kegs of beer and a full bar. The sheriff had the choppers sent out by 9:30. I'm still not sure whether or not I've served more drinks in such a short amount of time.
I used to go to huge ragers when I lived in Santa Barbara. Yeah, we threw some huge parties. I was a DJ when I was younger too. My friends would call me Doc, when I'd play the right tunes. To this day, my restaurant co-workers call me the same because they always come to me when they're feeling under the weather for a cocktail remedy.
What do you think of the mixologist title? I'm confident in my skills to work side-by-side with mixologists, but the title isn't important to me. I really don't like to be called a mixologist. Some of the mixologists that I've met have come off as pretentious and douchey. Mixologist is the term I don't really reach for. You might as well call me a beverage architect. I've always considered myself to be one who enjoys the finest in life. I strive to serve my friends and guests to that standard.
Any cool hobbies? One of my favorite things to do when I get home from a late night of drinking is to put a turkey I've defrosted in the oven. There's nothing like waking up to the smell of a roasted turkey in the morning.
Where do you like to drink? I like Smuggler's Cove. I'm down for the Tiki bars. I live in the East Bay so I go to Prizefighter.
What else occupies your time? I'm a musician. I play the drums in a country-rock band. It's called Grit and Gold. I cook. I'm an expert guacamole maker.
Your last supper? Sushi and ceviche on the warm beaches of Cabo.
Nice mustache. I grew it because of a chef who didn't want it. This was a restaurantwide rebellion. The new chef wanted everyone to be cleanly shaven every day, so the guys grew their mustaches.
• 2 oz. Michter's bourbon
• ¾ oz. Amaro Nonino
• ¾ oz. Pimm's No. 1 Cup
• ½ oz. Ron Diplomatico rum
• 2 dashes lemon bitters
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled glass. Stir well. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon peel.BAR INFO:
Hakkasan • 1 Kearny St. • (415) 829-8148 • www.hakkasan.com