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Read Text Only: Nightlife


Have you been to Rye? If your immediate answer isn’t an exuberant “yes,” then please, unwrap yourself from that embarrassing Snuggie, check your hair in the nearest mirror, make sure your outfit is banging; then proceed out the door and get yourself down to the Tenderloin, pronto.

Saddled right up next to Osha on Geary and Leavenworth is a couple of bartenders that mix some of the meanest drinks San Francisco has to offer. On my first visit, I was lucky enough to be served by Jen, whom I trusted to not only mix, but to choose a drink for me as well. Luckily on my first fateful trip to Rye, Jen was trying something new: a Strawberry Cilantro Margarita; and I gladly agreed to be her test case. “Do you like spicy?” she asked me, and I answered only too happily that I certainly did. While thinking it was an odd question to pose, I came to discover this margarita included a kick of habanero pepper, which left a perfect, lingering sensation in the back of my throat. Needless to say, that was not the first of Jen’s creations I had that night. Some members of my entourage opted for drinks off the menu, and they were all crafted with the same excellence and panache. The Basil Gimlet has a very strong following at Rye, and one only needs to watch it being carefully assembled to know how good it is. They go down so easily it is a wonder anyone can walk out of the place without trying one.

I was about half way through my second margarita when I took notice of my straw. Rather than a typical plastic one, this straw was more like cardboard. Come to find, Rye uses biodegradable straws. In fact, Rye’s entire interior is crafted from recycled or reclaimed wood. The bar’s owner, Jon, kept the environment in mind when crafting this welcoming watering hole; speaking straight to the heart of any green enthusiast—which here in the Bay Area is pretty much the unanimous majority. Rye manages to appeal to San Francisco’s diverse nightlife crowd in a venue that combines hard, industrial exposed brick and piping with a softly light interior. Thrown in is a singular pool table for those looking for a little recreation, and above it you will find a large chalk mural that is re-done by a new local artist every few weeks. The space is swanky and sophisticated, unpretentious but urbanite all at the same time. It makes for a stunning contradiction, and draws the most eclectic crowd I’ve ever come across. Rye fills up easily as the sun sets, but no one seems to mind waiting for these drinks—myself included. Hours passed and I felt as welcome and content as I did upon tasting that first bit of tequila goodness.

So, must I even ask? Are you now Tenderloin bound, clutching the handrail on the Muni while simultaneously reading this article? I certainly hope so—you’ll thank me soon enough.

688 Geary, San Francisco, CA