Off the heels of the opening of China Live restaurant and Bar Central in March, Cold Drinks (hidden upstairs) just soft-opened in August in S.F.’s historic Chinatown. Feeling like an escape to Shanghai or Hong Kong, the space is lush with velvet gray couches, a striking marble bar and green and gold accents, underscored by dramatic gold piping lining the ceiling. And it’s all set to an eclectic soundtrack and views of the Transamerica Pyramid and S.F. skyline. Bonus: The menu weaves a bit of a whimsical story, including “classic” drinks beloved by former President T. Rex or from such “historic” bars as Kiki’s Clown Room.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: S.F. drink pioneer and director of beverage Duggan McDonnell crafts a menu that shows off scotch in numerous layers, from easy drinking to spirituous. Most drinks feature quality scotch and combine some form of “grain and grape,” like wine and whisky. Lucky Gold Coin is a delightful refresher of Benromach 10-year-old scotch, rainwater Madeira and Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, going chocolate-y with Samuel Smith organic chocolate stout and a touch of orange bitters.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: The white and black tuxedo jackets (paired with jeans) worn by all bartenders are made by none other than nearby neighbor Al’s Attire in North Beach.