Introducing The 5 Hautest Mixologists in SF

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Forgery Cadiz
The Cadiz

Photo Credit: Forgery

There is no shortage of amazing bars in San Francisco. In fact, it sometimes feels as if there is a new craft-cocktail speakeasy opening up as often as Starbucks — on virtually every street, in each neighborhood of the city. That many excellent bars means there is also a plethora of welcoming, fun, and dedicated bartenders. From educating bar owners, like H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir to author bar owners, like Duggan McDonnell of Cantina, San Francisco’s most notable mixologists are an interesting and active bunch who do more than just shake up drinks. Here, we highlight five of our favorites.

1 Jeff Hollinger at Comstock Saloon

Jeff Hollinger is one of those old school bartenders who always greets you warmly with a smile and a "Hello, how are you?" Hollinger first grabbed the city’s attention when he was slinging Death in the Afternoons and French 75s at Absinthe. In 2006, he co-wrote The Art of the Bar, a cocktail book that highlights Absinthe’s use of seasonal ingredients and balanced flavors. Three years later Hollinger, and partner Jonny Raglin, opened Comstock Saloon in North Beach. The turn-of-the-century inspired bar is consistently packed with a sophisticated crew of classic cocktail guzzlers. We can see why: we've been a fan of Comstock and Hollinger since day one.
155 Columbus Avenue San Francisco, CA 94133

2 Marco Dionysos at Smuggler’s Cove

His Twitter handler says it all: Marco Dionysos is San Francisco’s official cocktail geek. The mixologist, who mixes up complex rum drinks using fresh juices at Smuggler’s Cove, knows everything there is to know about cocktails. If you happen to have a question in regard to the proper portion of gin to vermouth in a martini, tweet @cocktailgeek and Dionysos will answer with a speedy and smart reply. Dionysos has been shaking drinks in SF for over 16 years and he’s worked at illustrious locations — like Bourbon & Branch and Harry Denton’s Starlight Room — all over the city. Today, he’s at the tiki-themed cocktail den in Hayes Valley. If there happens to be an open seat at the bar, grab it and watch Marco work his magic in person.
650 Gough Street San Francisco, CA 94102

3 Morgan Schick at Trick Dog

A more quiet and reserved mixologist, Morgan Schick is a former-cook-turned bartender and member of the wildly popular Bon Vivants team. The cocktail consulting group is the mastermind behind the recently remodeled Cafe du Nord, Aaxte, and the Mission hot spot, Trick Dog. While the drinks at Trick Dog are more on the complicated side, Schick focuses on precision and speed when shaking cocktails. He sets up the bar like a chef would a kitchen with all of the ingredients ready to go in their place. The resulting tipples are pure perfection.
3010 20th Street San Francisco, CA 94110

4 Jacques Bezuidenhout at Forgery

Jacques Bezuidenhout ran the Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants beverage program for years, so he’s no stranger to at the art of hospitality. Now he can be found mixing up dill-infused Dolin Vermouth, Thai chilies and strawberry chamomile shrubs at the PlumpJack group’s newest bar, Forgery. The South African native started tending bar in SF in 1998 and has worked as a brand ambassador for a number of well-known spirit companies like Plymouth Gin and Partida Tequila. A soft-spoken guy with a light accent, Jacques is a nonjudgmental mixologist who won’t throw a hissy fit when you ask for a vodka cocktail. Why? Because he makes a superb drink called the Cadiz that consists of cumin-infused Ketel One vodka, sherry, and passion fruit — it's our favorite beverage on the menu at Forgery.
1525 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103

5 Brian Felley at Benjamin Cooper

An fun-loving bartender who gives great hugs, Brian Felley is one half of the Benjamin Cooper team. The tiny oyster bar near Union Square offers an ever-changing menu of creative concoctions crafted by Felley and his partner in crime, Mo Hodges. Felley came to SF by way of Albuquerque and got his start at several French restaurants before opening the popular pop-up bar Big. There is always a sherry cocktail on the menu at Benjamin Cooper and if Brian is there, ask him to make it for you with his signature smooth flair and friendly smile.
398 Geary Street San Francisco, CA
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