If its central location isn’t lure enough after a hard day of work or a round of Union Square shopping, the Clock Bar’s seasonal cocktail menu makes the haute watering hole a must stop for libation lovers. Located in San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis, just across the lobby from Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, Clock Bar features changing themes with drinks to match. “1904” highlighted cocktails to celebrate the year the St. Francis opened. The current “1920’s” theme features eight Roaring 20’s inspired drinks, with ingredients that leave one guessing what the collaborative result might be. Hint: they are all incredibly delicious. Here are a few more reasons to head to Clock Bar now:
1) What’s in a name? Who better to mix your drink than a bartender named Abby Martinie? Yes, that’s her real name, and while she doesn’t mind mixing up a simple namesake drink, her artistry is in her complex creativity. Grilled pear, roasted Kambocha squash, pureed banana – these are not your average cocktail components. After just four months at the Clock Bar helm, Martinie is shaking things up a bit.
2) Next level originality: Why settle for a gin and tonic or a cosmopolitan when you can order a ‘Cheeky Charlie’ with vanilla bean-infused vodka, yellow chartreuse, banana, anise, lemon and meringue? Martinie uses a tiny lighter to toast the top of the meringue for a final over-the-top touch. The ‘Champagne & Caviar’ features Pierre Ferrand cognac, apricot liqueur, spiced citrus champagne and small Angostura ‘pearls’ that rest ethereally in the bottom of the champagne flute. The ‘Fitzgerald,’ or ‘Fall in a Glass’ as Martinie dubs it, is made of spiced rum, roasted squash, maple, lemon, ginger beer and orange bitters. These are not just drinks; they are small works of improbably flavorful art.
3) History lessons included: Each cocktail item includes a history ‘brief.’ Did you know that a ‘Bronx Cheer’ (Nolet’s gin, Douglass Fir, raspberry, egg white cream and Peychaud’s bitters) is a slang term denoting a sound of contempt made by blowing through closed lips? The ‘19th Amendment’ (Forteleza Reposado tequila, Ancho Reyes chile bitters, pineapple gomme and chocolate bitters) reminds us that after winning the right to vote, empowered women participated in the burgeoning consumer society by joining the work force. You might leave Clock Bar a little lightheaded after these potent potables, but you’ll be a bit smarter.
Clock Bar in the Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St., San Francisco, is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. 415-397-7000.
Photography by Kevin McCullough