From time to time, SF Weekly has covered the endless travails of Valencia Street, which periodically erupts in a spate of closures only one notch in severity below the mass die-off in Mid-Market a few years back. It’s not Schadenfreude; we wish everyone well and want them to succeed, plus the harder we all work to keep the hyper-gentrification contained to Valencia, the better off 24th Street will be.
But now it’s time to announce a few openings, from Piri Pica (which we’ve covered), to the forthcoming Fort Point Beer Co. taproom to the brick-and-mortar debut of Carlos Altamirano’s Peruvian food truck Sanguchon.
Here’s the best one: After a long wait, Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of BVHospitality and The Bon Vivants — the parent company of Trick Dog — have opened Bon Voyage! in the original Slanted Door location at last. It’s a big wide world out there to draw your influences from, and the creative team behind a perennial entry on the World’s Best Bars list have assembled a cocktail list that sounds far more specific and sophisticated than simple pastiche for its own sake.
“We kept coming up with the narrative of a guy who lives in a hotel and travels throughout Southeast Asia and Africa in the 1950s, moving his way across the world, collecting art and mementos from his journey,” Harris says in the accompanying press release. “He then ends up in 1970s Palm Springs, where he buys a house to fill with his worldly treasures and throws killer disco cocktail parties and serves Chinese food.”
Whoever that is, they probably have great lamps and a lot of Graham Greene on the bookshelves. Consequently, Bon Voyage! is an updated version of the schema underlying most tiki bars, but probably with better cartography and a lot of animal statuary from the Serengeti.
As with Trick Dog, which notoriously ditches its entire menu twice a year and starts from scratch, Bon Voyage! Will go the seasonal route, and with boldly flavored, easy-to-pair Chinese-inspired dishes like house-made spicy Szechuan dumplings called shui-jiao, salt-and-pepper prawns, and barbecue pork over fried rice.
But cocktails are the main event. To that end, there are classic cocktails like a Singapore Sling and a “Bananarac!” which plays on a Sazerac by subbing in banana and “bananisette” (plus it’s served neat). Charmingly, there’s a range of variants on the Tom Collins, including the Phil Collins (The Botanist gin, Tio Pepe fino sherry, a housemade Bon Voyage! sour mix, and tonic), Joan Collins (Ketel One, Chareau, BV! sour, and soda), the Bootsy Collins, (Santa Teresa rum, BV! sour, pandan, and grapefruit cream soda), and Edwyn Collins (Highland Park Magnus scotch, Drambuie, BV! sour, pineapple, and ginger soda). Tropical beers are having a moment, and Bon Voyage! worked with Ale Industries to marry a Kolsch with the flavor profile of a Singapore Sling, the result of which is a Slingshot, a beer and your choice of shot.
Tell Sussudio you’ve never met a drink like her before.
Bon Voyage, 584 Valencia St., bonvoyagebar.com