It’s not quite a clone of The Max from Saved by the Bell, but it’s got a small and growing shrine to Spike Lee among the curlicues and PoMo patterns of the fun and often unfairly despised Memphis Group.
What is such a place? It’s Elda, the cocktail bar whose owners have worked at heavy-hitters like True Laurel, Bar Agricole, and ABV, and which has made the most of the mezzanine space it inherited from Bar San Pancho and its predecessors. It’s already got some pretty worthwhile reasons for you to visit even if you’re not a liquor-brand rep looking for a cool space to party. Named for a city in southern Spain, it’s got a well-calibrated menu that’s basically made for summertime happy hour.
For cocktails, try the Hot Stepper (rye, grapefruit, hot honey, and IPA), a Greyhound variation with a strong undercurrent of guava running through it. Or go for the Vampiros, a beet-red play on a sangrita made with mezcal, lemon, cinnamon, plus vampiro shrub — which is, in turn, an orange-juice-and-pepper syrup. It’s a post-Aperol world now, and vermouths pop up here and there, as something you can order on its own (Artemis) or in the Presidente #44, something of an ode to the U.S. leader who tried to normalize relations with Cuba, which has not one but two vermouths in addition to brandy and pineapple rum.
But the one thing you must not skip is the sikil pak crudité with plantain chips. Thicker than a traditional Middle Eastern hummus and nutty from all the finely crushed pumpkin seeds, it melds surprisingly well with things like snow peas, citrusy shishito peppers, and even sliced white peaches. Start walking to Memphis.
Elda, 3198 16th St., 415-829-8468 or eldasf.com