New SF bar openings, limes are back, glove law update 

click to enlarge Kevin Diedrich
  • Jessica Christian/Special to the S.f. Examiner
  • Former Burritt Room barman Kevin Diedrich, above, is now the cocktail mastermind at Gaspar Brasserie, which has a French theme complete with an upstairs Cognac Room.
Here’s a roundup of bar news, a little history and recent openings around San Francisco.

Glove law progress

The state assemblyman who authored the so-called glove law, along with the subsequent repeal legislation, says he’s not abandoning the regulation altogether.

Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said he wants to revisit the prohibition, but make it more flexible to meet the concerns of restaurateurs. Pan’s comments came after his repeal legislation passed its final legislative hurdle Thursday with a 32-0 vote in the state Senate.

The original law required restaurant employees to use gloves or utensils to handle food going straight to diners’ plates.

Lime shortage is over!

Julio Bermejo at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, famous for its margaritas, confirmed that “limes have totally come back down to summer prices.”

That means instead of the $100-plus that some were paying a few months ago, bars can get a case for about $20 now.

The lime shortage that shocked the margarita- and daiquiri-drinking world has normalized after insect-transmitted plant disease Huanglongbing put lime prices at an all-time high. Others blamed Mexican drug cartels for the temporary increase.

For decades, Mexico has been the world’s leading grower and exporter of limes. The U.S. imports 95 percent of its limes from Mexico.

Templeton Rye and Al Capone

A little booze history: Recently while working the bar, a guest from the small town of Templeton, Iowa, told me that their prized distillate, Templeton Rye, was a favorite of notorious Prohibition bootlegger Al Capone, eventually becoming the center of his empire. The story goes that he was even able to get bottles of the rye into Alcatraz during his sentence on “Devil’s Island” in August 1934.

Recent openings

Gaspar Brasserie

Local barman Kevin Diedrich, formerly of Burritt Room and Jasper’s Corner Tap, is now behind the stick pouring sparkling wine-based cocktails to go along with the restaurant’s rich interior and French theme.

The restaurant hosts two levels, the downstairs being the more casual, brightly lit environment where guests can enjoy food and drink. The upstairs is more dimly lit and consists of the main dining room and the Cognac Room.

The European

Berretta alumnus Adam Wilson has taken the reins at The European in the Warwick San Francisco hotel near Union Square. Wilson’s cocktail menu focuses on lighter aperitif drinks built on vermouth and sexy drinks that fizz. Wilson’s naming of the bar came from The City’s obsession with Prohibition-era speakeasies. His drinks are based on old recipe books and notes he discovered after a bar tour through Europe. The 50-seat bar also hosts an exclusive food menu.

And speaking of Berretta, next time you’re on Valencia Street for a drink, be sure to ask for the bar’s secret cocktail menu.

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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