Rio Grande - Page 2

New pop-up bar from the Bon Vivants mixes kitsch with quality -- especially if you order the off-menu cocktails

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Tarantino roadhouse: The cocktail haven that is Rio Grande.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY VIRGINIA MILLER

According to Harris, the Vivants wanted "to take all the pretentiousness out of the bar scene and make it fun", which is why Tecate and Dos Equis flow just as freely as Del Maguey. During my visits, I've sipped a mezcal and yellow chartreuse winner and a bitter amaro beauty on crushed ice (Julep snow cone-style). Speaking of ice, it's hand-cut here, a pleasure to watch. During one visit, Shick made a mezcal, grapefruit soda drink accented with crème de cassis (black currant liqueur), lime, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, and salt: smoky, salty and citrusy. Spiced fall notes shine in his mixture of Siete Leguas anejo tequila, made with Averna for a tinge of bitter balance, Angostura orange bitters, sweet vermouth and apple brandy. I'm in love with a finish of Old Bardstown bourbon, Nocino walnut liqueur, Balcones' rum-like Rumble (made from Texas wildflower honey, Mission figs, turbinado sugar), plus dry vermouth and triple sec. Dry, sweet, full, it's still bracing enough to put hair on your chest.

"Watch for some potentially interesting surprises musically," says Harris of the tiny stage, and for Tarantino Tuesdays, when Tarantino films and soundtracks accompany your pour.

RIO GRANDE

1108 Market, SF

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