New Orleans in SF, upscale cocktails, ramen and booze, and a fond farewell 

click to enlarge Tim Stookey’s Stookey’s Club Moderne on 895 Bush St. is a sophisticated cocktail lounge that hearkens back to post-Prohibition bars. - GABRIELLE LURIE/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Gabrielle Lurie/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Tim Stookey’s Stookey’s Club Moderne on 895 Bush St. is a sophisticated cocktail lounge that hearkens back to post-Prohibition bars.
Here’s a small samplings of bars around San Francisco doing good things with alcohol, and a few that will no longer be serving anything, along with a departure from a popular spot:


After running on beer and wine only since its opening, the Boxing Room now has a full liquor license. The Hayes Valley restaurant and watering hole dishes out a mean gumbo and alligator cracklins that go well with New Orleans favorites like the Sazerac, Hurricane and even frozen daiquiris with Denizen white rum and lime cordial. 399 Grove St., S.F.,


Tim Stookey, who ran the bar at the Presidio Social Club for many years, has the keys to his own joint now. Stookey’s Club Moderne is a sophisticated cocktail lounge reminiscent of post-Prohibition bars, where bartenders in white coats shake Aviations, Chelsea Sidecars and Southsides for well-dressed clientele in a brightly lit room. This is the third bar to operate in the same location within two years. The liquor license has transferred from what was once the Korean dive Yong San Lounge, then the Royal Tug Yacht Club, a nautical-themed bar with a huge squid hanging from the ceiling. The Royal Tug opened and closed within six months — a grim reminder of the difficulty and escalating cost of operating a bar in San Francisco. 895 Bush St., S.F.,


With the help of a couple of Bourbon and Branch alums, Richi Nakano’s Hapa Ramen hosts a beautiful wooden bar buildout and delicious Polynesian-themed cocktails. My favorite on the list was the Big Island Buck, with a Huli-Huli pineapple-infused rye. I would definitely come back for that drink and a fried chicken bao bun. 2293 Mission St., S.F.,


For the ideal dudes’ night out, head to Woodbury in the South of Market. It’s awesome to have Alchemist upstairs for a cocktail, and a no-frills man cave downstairs where you can rip shots, play “Street Fighter” and reminisce about college over a game of Beirut. And owner Kinson Lau has to be the nicest guy in the bar industry. 685 Third St., S.F.,


Charles Phan’s The Coachman recently closed. The restaurant and bar had fun cocktails, and bar manager Johnny Codd would often whip out the liquid nitrogen to spice up the offerings. The space originally opened as Phan’s Heaven’s Dog, under the helm of Erik Adkins, before becoming The Coachman. But the somewhat desolate block between Seventh and Eighth streets in South of Market did not necessarily scream foot traffic and the place closed less than a year after the name change.


It’s sad to see Tosca Cafe bar manager Isaac Shumway leave. About a year after reopening the historic space, the bar quickly garnered a reputation for being a top-shelf cocktail spot. Word is that Shumway is out and the general manager and chef will now run the program instead. Shumway brought to Tosca experience from previous gigs at legendary restaurants the French Laundry and Gary Danko, along with a number of bars in The City.

Differences of opinion about the culture of the bar led to his departure. Several of Shumway’s staff have also made their exit. “This space is so cool, iconic and classic,” Shumway said. “I’ll definitely miss it.” And I’ll definitely miss his creative menu and riffs on the famous house Cappuccino. Tosca is truly one of my favorite cocktail bars in The City. Not just that every drink I raised there was delicious, but because the people behind that bar made it such a pleasure to be around. Those are big shoes to fill. Good luck on the road ahead, Isaac.

About The Author

Rhys Alvarado

Rhys Alvarado

Rhys Alvarado is a cocktail enthusiast and sucker for soul and sweet reggae music. A food and drink blogger since 2009, Rhys has sipped his way from Hawaii to Santa Barbara and up the coast to San Francisco, where he's found a glorious wave of craft concoctions and expert drink-makers.
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