John Colins’ Giovanna Romano is a bartending pro 

As evidenced by the surfboard drilled onto the wall above the bar and palm trees in every corner, the proprietors of John Colins definitely love surfing. And with multiple areas for dancing under strobe lights and a classic disco ball, nightlife becomes an effervescent experience. There also seems to be someone decorating the walls who loves big dogs, as nearly every large painting has differently colored pooches posing at various angles. Bartender Giovanna Romano is a pro with the sweet and minty John Daly Tea Time cocktail that’s served in a Mason jar, but she will also get personal and whip up something to customers’ liking.

John Colins, 138 Minna St., (415) 512-7493,

What’s the ebb and flow like here? We get a little bit of everything. During the week, we get a good happy hour crowd. We have young people coming out of work from the [Financial District]. Sometime after 10 p.m., we get different DJs coming in, fashion shows and dance floors.

If you could drink anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would have to try, oh ... Bali, because it’s secluded and it would be a challenge to get there.

What are some things that irk you as a bartender? When people don’t like to try new things. I like a person who asks for your opinion about what kinds of drinks are good and to ask many questions. There are times when there is mindless bartending, but it’s nice to know when someone gets more personal about our drinks.

Have guys ever used pickup lines on you when you’re bartending? Yes, all the time. I can’t think of some, but there are some cheesy lines that guys pull.

Where is one place you would like to tend a bar? I would like to tend a bar somewhere in Spain. I like the culture and Spain has a lot of vitality and vivaciousness. I also think Spain is pretty sexy.

What’s the crowd here like? It varies. Clubbing hours on Friday through Sunday, you’ll see more mid-20s coming in. But during happy hour, it’s from mid-20s to 30s.

Have you met any famous people while bartending? Yes, we had the comedian Dave Chappelle come in our bar and Danny Malkovich from MTV.

What’s the story behind this place? John Colins was formed by two guys, John [Guiffre] and Colin [O’Malley], who grew up bartending in San Francisco, and they both have a love for surfing and mixology. They used to be located around the block ... and then they moved here about three years ago. They wanted a laid-back kind of setting with different art and surfboards as decoration. Their love for surfing definitely comes out.

John Daly Tea Time

  • 2 oz. sweet tea vodka
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • Mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves with lemon slices. Add ice. Add simple syrup, lemon juice and vodka.

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Bryan Vo

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Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015


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