With distressed wood, antlers and rifles mounted above the bar, Bloodhound hints of a hunting lodge. And with a bar stocked with top-shelf whiskies and craft beer, this Folsom Street bar fills a niche not found in the immediate neighborhood: It is a high-concept, artisanal cocktail lounge. Anthony Healy-London, who has tended at several other saloons in San Francisco, has been at Bloodhound for two years. Since then, Bloodhound has developed a strong following of regulars drawn from the South of Market region and from out-of-town on the weekends. Open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Bloodhound, 1145 Folsom St., San Francisco, (415) 863-2840
How long have you been here? I started here two years ago and have been with the owners for five years at the Ambassador [673 Geary St.] and Double Dutch [3192 16th St.].
How long have you been bartending? I first started when I was 18 in Oakland and then I didn’t bartend for 10 years. I started again six years ago when my friends started opening bars in The City. Between then, I got a master’s degree in history at Northwestern. I worked on a fishing boat and at a winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
What do you like about bartending? I’ve always loved having guests, whether at my house or at a restaurant or bar. I enjoy interacting with people in that social environment.
What’s the concept of this bar? We are trying to make a place for good cocktails and good beer in a very relaxed environment with no pretense. We want it to be a nice neighborhood bar with something for everyone. I think all of this wood came from a 150-year-old barn in Indiana. It really provides a lot of warmth for the place. And everyone loves the birds [painted on the ceiling]. Often, that’s what they talk about in their Yelp reviews.
What’s the clientele like? It’s really a mixed crowd. There’s a great beer store across the street [City Beer Store] and a wine bar nearby [Terroir], but there aren’t really any bars like this in the neighborhood. We get a ton of regulars. It’s really fun to be well received by the local community. We get a different crowd on the weekends. It’s busier and we get more people who don’t live in The City. But our bread and butter is our happy hour every day from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The demographic is mid-20s to late-30s. It’s a grown-up crowd. People who work in the restaurant and bar industry also do a really good job supporting bars like this.
Where do you like to drink? I like Nopa [560 Divisadero St.], Uva Enoteca [568 Haight St.] and The Page [298 Divisadero St.]. The people who work [at The Page] are really cool, too. And that’s really important. I think the vibe in a bar starts with the bartenders. It’s our job to set a good example and to have fun.
What do you like to drink? I’m a whiskey or tequila guy. I like a good Reposado or Mezcal. I also love a nice Belgian beer.
Do you work anywhere else? I’m opening a new bar where the Transfer used to be on 14th and Church Street. We just started to remodel.
Does the neighborhood need another high-concept cocktail lounge? If anything, Residence and Blackbird have shown that the neighborhood likes a nice cocktail and there’s room for more.
Who do you admire in the profession? Although I’ve never worked there, I’ve learned a ton from the bartenders at NoPA.
How do you come up with new drinks? I like to try out new things all the time. I love classic cocktails and I like to tweak them to come up with a modern version. I like things that are brown, bitter and stirred.
Where in the world would you like to have a drink? I’d like to have a glass of Mezcal at the distillers at Del Maguey in Oaxaca.
Ever serve any celebrities? Luke Wilson at the Ambassador. He was super-humble and he kicked back and had a Miller High Life and asked me about San Francisco.
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist an orange peel over the drink, expelling the oil, and discard the peel.