Best Sissy-Drink Bar - 2005
Top of the Mark
InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, 999 California (at Mason), 616-6916, www.topofthemark.com
When the Top of the Mark opened its 360-degree vistas to the public in 1939, candied violets, pomegranate juice, and lemongrass weren't in your standard bartender's bag of tricks. Times (and taste buds) change, however, and as the martini continues its devolution into a sort of alcoholic Bosco for post-pubescents, phantasmagoric, candy-coated sissy drinks (there's no other term for them) are more popular than ever. The selfsame Mark embraces the trend with its staggering 100 Martinis Menu. Here the questing imbiber will find every imaginable confluence of spirit, bitter, fruit juice, and flower water: the Rat Pack (spiced vodka, banana liqueur, and crème de menthe), the Tundra Sunrise (vodka, tequila, Grand Marnier, and grenadine), the (admittedly delicious) Golden Gate (Jack Daniel's and crème de cacao), and, of course, 97 others. There's live entertainment four nights a week to go along with the stellar views of bridge, bay, and bluff, and if you're in the mood for a nibble, the bar offers duck liver pâté, beluga with blini, lamb chops with apple-mint chutney, and chocolate-dipped strawberries -- or is that one of the martinis?