Like any epic love story, this one about craft cocktails and comfort food starts with wheatgrass. The Bay Area cocktail scene has a high bar. There are the stunning gin and tonics made with edible flowers at Restaurant Asa in Los Altos, California and you can order frosty chipotle pear slushies at Woodbury in San Francisco, but wheatgrass and tequila? Even in health conscious Silicon Valley that may seem a bit extreme, but like everything else on its menu, The Snug SF pulls it off with a flourish.
When we first caught a glimpse of The Snug SF’s wheatgrass sitting out on the sidewalk soaking up what little San Francisco summer sun it could, it wasn’t love at first site, but our interest was piqued. (Maybe that has something to do with the first and only wheatgrass shot we’ve ever tried over at Jamba Juice.)
Next up we saw glass jars filled with all sorts of things we could probably never figure out how to ferment or pickle. Again, interesting.
After that we spied a wide range of cocktail glasses hanging in the window. We’re kind of suckers for tasty beverages served in fancy glasses. Then there was the name… The Snug SF, kind of adorable right? Needless to say, we knew we’d have to pop in and check it out. The things we do for the sake of you dear readers. Oy vey.
First up was a delightful cocktail that The Snug SF serves on draft. (Meaning that they make a large batch of it that evening and then pour it out to customers.) The aviation is a gin libation made with a candied flower, crème de violette, maraschino and lemon. Everything from the taste to the presentation with the metal straw was perfectly on point. Clearly bartender Ryan Reines knows his stuff. (Hey, after all, he did make us fall head over heels for that surprisingly tasty aloe vera cocktail.)
We also tried the blood red hued prickly pear cocktail which is crafted with mezcal (a smoky tasting spirit from Mexico), amaro (an Italian liqueur), nopales (cactus pads), prickly pear, habanero and lime. It was just the right mix of syrupy and sweet. By this time we we were settling in quite nicely. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Snug SF is just the type of joint you might want to hunker down in. The restaurant and bar was started by four friends (Jacob Racusin, Zack Schwab, Shane Matthews and Brian Shin) who are clearly on a mission to craft a comfortable dining experience.
Once we got a chance to peek at the menu, it was love at first sight. We went with the first three dishes that caught our eyes: the shishito peppers, tater tots and the pork belly. The shishito peppers were divinely unique. Instead of charring the peppers, The Snug SF steams them. The mellower flavoring paired perfectly with the smooth corn dip and stood up well to the spunk of the togarashi (which is a Japanese chili pepper spice). Our favorite touch was the fact that there was plenty of the sauce to go around.
Speaking of plenty of sauce the tater tots served with horseradish sour cream topped with chives and house made Bac-Os also came with a an ample amount of dip.
In addition to The Snug SF, here’s a list of other neat little local spots we love across the San Francisco Bay Area.
Each tot was so delightfully perfect and crispy that we had to ask our waitress at one point if there was some poor soul in the back eating all the soggy charred ones.
One of our favorite dishes of the evening was a juicy (not at all chewy) pork belly served with kimchi, koshihikari (a premium short grained Japanese rice) and bib lettuce. Decadently delicious is the only way to describe The Snug SF’s scrumptious pork belly dish.
By this point in the evening, fresh refreshments were needed, so we taste tested the silky smooth raspberry Negroni sbagliato and the white lily #2. Romantic comedies often feature endearing mistakes (see Pretty Woman’s escargot scene) and as it turns out, one of our favorite tipples of the evening also centers around a mistake. The Negroni sbagliato is the result of a bartender in Milan inadvertently grabbing a bottle of spumante instead of gin. (Jason Rowan wrote a terrific piece for T: The New York Times Style Magazine if you want to learn more about the history of the cocktail, “Cocktail Culture | A Bubbly Twist on the Negroni.”) The Snug SF’s version includes raspberry and vermouth.
Allegedly, according to our waitress, white lily #1 is just a straight up martini. White lily #2, however, is a different story entirely.
We love classy cocktails and strong coffee. Curious about some of the other crafty drinks we’ve taste tested around the globe? Here are some of our favorite places to sip tasty beverages around the world.
Small, but potent, white lily #2 is made with with gin, rum, orange liqueur, absinthe and topped with a single curry leaf.
One of the sleeper hits for us was the sesame naan. The generous portion size and the creamy shiitake hummus combined with the burnt leeks (we had ours served on the side) and roasted garlic makes for pure yum.
As the night came to a close we were craving one last dish, but didn’t know what to get, so we trusted our awesome waitress with our stomachs. Without hesitation she suggested the bodega “burger.” She didn’t lead us astray. While it’s usually the inside that counts (the bodega comes complete with Wagyu beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and a special sauce) it was the burger’s amazing exterior we adored. The submarine shaped roll was light and fluffy in all the right ways. Whether you pop in for brunch or dinner, in search of craft cocktails or tater tots, we’re fairly certain that you’ll end up giving The Snug SF an Easy A, just like we did.
The Snug SF
Address: 2301 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, California 94115
Hours: Tuesday Through Sunday 4:00pm to Midnight, Friday and Saturday 4:00pm to 2:00am *Kitchen is open until 10:00pm, Brunch – Saturday and Sunday 11:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: (415) 562-5092
Pricing (All in USD): Craft Cocktails $13.00 to $14.00, Bar Snacks $4.00 to $20.00, Plates $12.00 to $26.00, Desserts $9.00