Whisky Magazine Issue 109
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Liza Weisstuch takes us on a tour of this cosmopolitan city
Duke Ellington called it “one of the truly cosmopolitan places.” John and Yoko were “crazy about this city.” Also Rudyard Kipling groused that “San Francisco has only one drawback – 'tis hard to leave.” Walter Cronkite echoed that sentiment when he said: “Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible.” The City by the Bay has possessed a charismatic allure that predates the mid-1800s when the so-called forty-niners hurried here in pursuit of fortune during the Gold Rush. Today that appeal is stronger than ever, especially for gourmands and discerning drinkers.
A city long overrun with artists and visionary types, it's little wonder that creativity abounds, and that is evident in the bars here. You can find imaginative cocktails on par with timeworn standards and thoughtful whisky collections around every bend. Here's just a small sampling of them. HL Menken was struck by the city's “subtle but unmistakable sense of escape from the United States.” I'd wager money that he found that asylum in the city's distinctive bars and restaurants.
3200 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The same saloon has stood on the corner of 16th Street in the gritty Mission District since 1858. Until the early 2000s, it was a dilapidated dive with leaky pipes. But when H. Joseph Ehrmann took ownership and refurbished it in 2003, it became a magnet for whisky drinkers of all stripes, and remai...