Back in SF and hitting bars already?
Seems like ages since the SO and I have been in SF proper together on a Sunday. We find ourselves just getting out of the house to wander around downtown to ogle the tourists who never seem to realize, summer in this town isn't like it is in other cities. It can get get chilly and breezy with the cold wind off the ocean, particularly late in the day. Why do you think all those places in Chinatown sell so many fleece jackets with SF logos!
Beyond that, we are generally bored and trying to come up with a new spot to grab a quick bite without too much hassle when I try to remember some spot that serves up sausages and beers. What was it called? I used to work at a place where I would recommend it based on Yelp! reviews and other folks saying it was a nice casual spot to hang or whatever. After we both furiously search on our phones Mikkeller Bar rings the memory bell and luckily we are only a few blocks over.
It sits just off Market St. on Mason and to be honest, this particular part of Mason is pretty much the Tenderloin, and not exactly the "best parts" of it to say the least. Though it does sit right on the edge and is close enough to Market St. that you can kind of skirt through without too much trouble. I can't say the same for the smell in the area or a handful of street denizens, but hey, that is city life. It is what it is and we are here and undaunted in our pursuit of a bite to eat.
Walking in the space is all industrial with tall ceilings, wood, exposed brick and pipes and like many a new watering hole in town, full of a seemingly millennial hipster crowd who all look like they are deep in discussion on the latest developments in tech. Fun times! It is also super loud, even with the high ceilings, but this is a common theme of restaurants and bars in town. Forging ahead we find a spot at one of the high bar like tables and scan the menu.
Normally, I'm not the biggest of beer drinkers but, seeing as how I'm in a place featuring an array of local brews and micro brews I figure I should partake in the hops parade. What catches my eye is something called Cherry Kush.
It's a Golden State of Mind Witbier with tart cherry juice and fresh herbs. I'm a big fan of cherries in most anything, so why not beer? It was exactly as described with strong notes of tart cherry and fortunately for me, not too hoppy and bitter. It was almost like a sour cherry mash drink with small notes of beer. I kind of liked it, plus it feel on the low end of alcohol at 4% so you don't have to worry about being drunk off the stool from the get go. They supposedly serve their beers at different temps, guessing that is a flavor thing. This one comes in at 45 degrees but I'm from cold city and would have liked it just a tad more chilled. But ultimately, that is a personal preference. I like my beer big time cold just because as it warms, the hops become more pungent to me and it ends up tasting like wet bread, which is unappealing.
For our first bite we got a smoked chicken quesadilla with white cheddar, peppers, onions, pico de gallo and sour cream. I rate quesadillas right up there with grilled cheese, it is really hard to mess these up and as long as you don't burn them or short me on the cheese, they are gonna be good. That was the case with ours. We got plenty of cheese and chicken, the tortilla had a nice crisp on it, the onions and peppers were cooked through and the there was enough pico and sour cream to go around. I won't say it was a $12 quesa though. I do think it was a tad on the pricey side. I mean, it's not like this is free range chicken, hand spun cheese and a tortilla made by grandma. $9.95, maybe. It was tasty enough for what it was but not necessarily something better than you can get in The Mission.
We couldn't get out of there without trying something they are known for, their sausages/hotdogs. I wanted to get as much bang for the buck as possible so I ordered up the Texas Ranger Dog, an all beef sausage dog with shredded bbq brisket, fried onions, jalapenos, bbq sauce and chipotle ranch dressing on a French roll. That is a lot going on for one sandwich but you do get all the flavors co-mingled and I did like it despite the price. Smoky beef and brisket, tangy sauce and a small kick from the peppers make it a nice compliment for whatever chilled beer you get with it. It was juicy, crunchy and pretty flavorful--three good hallmarks for a tasty hotdog. While not the biggest of dogs like these, it was decent enough with the side compliment that the price was fair for what you get.
Now you do have your choice of fries or salad with it. We got the salad, trying to be healthy, which was just a spring mix of greens with a vinaigrette dressing and nothing special for sure. We did get a side of fries as the SO wanted some which was $7!! That's a lot for fries people I don't care where you are. The serving size was just okay but they were way over cooked and not the best which leaves it as a toss up whether you should get the fries or salad to accompany your sausage. The only reason I will edge towards fries is because a side of them is too much and surely they won't make them extra extra crispy every time--at least I would hope not.
In the end, if you are looking for a casual spot to hang with work friends or want a quick bite for lunch, Mikkeller Bar could certainly fit the bill. Their beer and food are definitely a step up from your corner watering hole and despite some of the sketchy neighborhood surroundings, they'd be worth checking out. Particularly if your start-up needs a different place for their Friday beer blast gathering because everyone is tired of the conference room. Just saying.