After two years of collecting furniture, one might find in the formal room of their aunt's house, Sip Bar and Lounge owner John Sanchez decided that he would use the Victorian-era couches, century-old tables and unique depictions of U.S. presidents to spruce up the back area, which became The Hancock Room. Nowhere else in The City can you sip a Vesper martini while staring at pieces of art depicting George Washington on a capsizing boat fighting a Bengal tiger, Abraham Lincoln riding a bear and Thomas Jefferson fist-fighting with gorillas. The bar behind the bar pushes several-part cocktails in a clublike environment, with drinks such as The Revolution and classics like Blood & Sand. We spoke with bartender Giao Le, who finds his release from a job in finance by making friends behind the grain.
When did you become a bartender? It was about 10 years ago when I was going to S.F. State. I needed something flexible, fun that accentuated my personality. I'm pretty outgoing. I like meeting new people. I like making connections.
You must have made some pretty good friends along the way. One of my regular customers became a really good friend of mine. I eventually ended up being a groomsman at his wedding. I even gave a speech. People were like, "Who's this guy?" I told them I'm his bartender.
What's with the funky artwork? This is our owner's personal homage to U.S. history. We got Patrick Swayze, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy and Bruce Lee in regal attire.
What do you like to drink? Whiskey and bourbon.
What's your ideal night at the bar? My ideal night is when I meet new people, my old friends come through and we all hang out like we know each other.
What's one thing you're willing to admit about yourself that no one knows? I like to be funny, but I'm terrified when people don't laugh at my jokes.
What do you do when you're not bartending? I have a regular corporate job working in finance. This is my release. It keeps things fresh. This job invigorates me.
• 1 sugar cube
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• Orange slice
• Luxardo cherry
• 1 oz. Angel's Envy bourbon
In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle first four ingredients. Add bourbon and ice. Shake and strain into rocks glass. Top with sparkling wine and Sandeman port float.
BAR info: 1350 Powell St. • (415) 699-6545 • www.siploungesf.com/room.html