You'd expect most tourists - as in this fine city I indeed am - to make tracks for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the famous Fisherman's Wharf. My site-seeing has been of a different ilk. I've embarked on a tippling tour of the city's finest though possibly less salubrious landmarks - bars.
|The barkeep at Goldust (near Union Square) pouring a pint of the local Speakeasy Prohibition Ale|
But back to the junk. So many bars here have refused to fall into the refurbishment trap - where photos of famous patrons and owners are packed in box and forgotten. The past breathes through these bars - the surroundings are meaningful and memorable.
It isn't just the venues themselves that refuse to 'refurb' but the people that run them. Forget trilby hats, waistcoats and sleeve garters sported by a bartender with a chip on his shoulder that is larger that the aforementioned hat - instead these venues are a family affair. The owners are as colorful as the venues themselves, amazingly hospitable and easily a good enough reason to return again and again.
|Julio Beremejo - there ain't a finer host around|
My recommendation is to get there early and grab a seat at the bar so that you can experience the Tequila. On my vist I was treated to a flight of Tommy's Margaritas - 100% agave Tequila, lime and agave nectar. I got to try nine in total (they were mini ones) and was amazed by the different nuances found in each - it really is a great showcase for this spirit. The recently rebranded Espolon - a highland Tequila owned by Gruppo Campari - was a revelation as too was the Amate reposado that followed - a lowland displaying beautiful caramel and vanilla notes in the Margarita.
In short, Tommy's is deservedly a Mecca for agave spirit fanatics - if you're a visiting bartender you'll get treated like royalty too - I even got taken out to lunch by Julio the following day - but that's another post in itself.