Food & Drink

Sixties-style drinking in Pacific Heights

Published On 12/02/2008 Published On 12/02/2008

With an invigorating resurgence of 1960s social awareness and grassroots activism sweeping the nation, you might feel compelled to get swept up by the spirit of progressive activity. Instead, channel the 60s sensibly, by getting drunk at Swank, open Thursday.

Opening in G Bar's Pac Heights stead, Swank's a throwback cocktail lounge that's equal parts vintage mod and nostalgic cheese, recapturing that innocent decade when anything could happen, presaging that less-innocent decade when everything did. Amble past the cozy outdoor patio, and you'll find a long steel bar, boxed in by silver and burgundy walls, and lit by a huge ovular Sputnik fixture; beyond lies a living-roomy lounge, where plush couches on shag carpets are warmed by a mosaic-tiled fireplace, around which you'll tell the chilling tale of the ghastly inferno started by fireplace sparks on a shag carpet. Because people spent the 60s inventing drugs, not cocktails, the bar's actually churning out older classics like a Knob Creek/Cinzano Old Fashioned and a Galliano/Hangar One/blood orange Harvey Wallbanger, plus a slew of date-ready champagne numbers like the French 75 and the "ultra swanky" raspberry liqueur/bubbly Swank Royal -- a riff on the Kir Royal, it implies that the key to ultraswankiness is...raspberries

The bar's also pouring a carefully picked list of 20 Cali wines, plus 17 worldly drafts & bottles, from Lagunitas to Chimay White. When you inevitably hit the head, you'll see it's bountifully stocked with vintage Swank mags -- upon which you'll be instantly swept up in your own little Winter of Love.

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1. Swank 488 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

Inside of JDV’s boutique Laurel Inn, Swank is a lounge in every sense of the word. Couches that look like they came out of Boogie Nights, fronting a long fireplace as martini glasses chill on a bartop ice trough. Stop in here for a cocktail (classic or contemporary) and order some Sriracha deviled eggs or bacon-wrapped dates. Also, if you're staying or in the neighborhood earlier in the day, they brew single cup Blue Bottle Coffee pourovers in the morning/afternoon.