It’s neither the oldest nor the most historical joint on the block, but rest assured, Credo has a drink — and a quote — for everybody. Nestled in the bustling artery that is The City’s Financial District, Credo lives up to its billing. Whether you’re wearing an Armani suit or sporting a pair of Levi’s, all who enter the eatery have the same view — an entire wall riddled with quotes, all of which start with “I believe.” But it’s under that massive array of individual creeds — which range from the brutal words of boxer Mike Tyson to the nonviolent poems of Mahatma Gandhi — where we meet Anna Rossi. The bartender, equipped with all the tools to make a mean cocktail, believes in taking on unique challenges, which are demonstrated in her Bounty Hunter cocktail. But for anyone who wishes to fully take in the wonders of the words, make sure to take a trek to the restrooms downstairs. It’s worth it.
Credo, 360 Pine St. at Montgomery Street, (415) 693-0360, www.credosf.com
How would you describe the personality of this bar? The persona of this bar is kind of diverse. On the one hand, because we’re in the FiDi, there are a fair number of financial clientele finding their way in here. But also there are a slew of law offices and nonprofits that are located around town. So it reflects San Francisco.
So what’s up with the huge wall of “I believe” quotes? Everything from Desmond Tutu to Howard Stern is up there. That was actually one of the first things that caught my attention when I came into the restaurant. Everybody, we all have our own credo.
How deep is your passion for bartending? I have always had great interest in anything that people can eat or drink. For a long time, I would have friends who would always throw dinner parties. I also have a longstanding interest in wine. I made wine with friends years back. And cocktailing is a logical extension of that. When I discovered that it wasn’t merely something ... there’s a whole element of craft involved in bartending. That’s part of what captured my imagination.
So let’s hear a little about the architect behind the bar? I grew up in Canton, Ohio. It’s renowned for football ... I hated it. And I moved to San Francisco in 1997. It was an accident ... an accident that keeps on giving.
How did you get your start as a bartender here? I had been working in the nonprofit sector for a long time. I was at one particular job for six years. In the middle of 2009, I took a look at myself and I said, “You know, I can do anything.” I quit my job. And I got trained as a bartender.
How do you fit in here? The first thing I saw were these gargantuan panels with these graphic images. I thought, “Oh, yeah.” From the get-go, I’ve had a lot of creative latitude, a lot of room to play with things. We live in a bar culture where everybody is inventive and everybody is doing something. But part of what I enjoy doing is standing across the bar and asking, “What do you like?” I don’t need to make something to impress somebody.
So what drink best resembles this bar? I have a drink that I call the Bounty Hunter. The drink is made with an organic, white-truffle-infused honey. I make the syrup with that. Fresh lemon juice. And then the base spirit is a single-malt organic fair-trade-based vodka. I’m like in love with the product. I don’t like vodka particularly, but this is extraordinary.
How did that come about? There was the purveyor of truffle products that came in one night. [The boss] had a little bit of product, and I was around. And he was like, “I keep trying to get someone to make a cocktail out of this. And they haven’t taken me up on it yet.” I said, “I will.” It’s getting good reviews.
Start with scooping a small portion of truffle honey. Then add fresh lemon juice and spare vodka. After a good shake, pour the mix into a glass and top it off with a piece of grated chocolate.