The lore of San Francisco runs deep. From the Gold Rush to Prohibition, from speakeasies to brothels, San Francisco’s history is a complex and sordid one. And with any good history lesson comes a lengthy cast of characters — those people who made a place what it is today. The politicians, the generals, the explorers. But what about those lesser known characters? The ones that you might not even have noticed slinking by you in the alleyways, feeding you late nights at the bars, or dancing on stage before you at the seedy nightclubs.
Brian MacGregor pays homage to these underground heros in cocktail form at Lord George starting Nov. 6. In its third iteration, the bar’s “Mavericks” series features a seasonally-rotating cast of guest bartenders who create unique menus that run for three months each. MacGregor’s Underground Icons of San Francisco cocktail collection follows a Summer Road Trip menu from Andrew Calisterio and an Alice in Wonderland-themed list from Kate Bolton.
MacGregor honed his chops as bar director of Jardinière and Wingtip and a bartender at Absinthe Brasserie and Bar before serving as the northern California market manager of Edrington, the Scottish spirits company that makes The Macallan, Highland Park, and Partida Tequila.
Head into the ballpark-adjacent Lord George from Nov. 6 – Dec. 31 to sample cocktails that reflect those lesser-known idols who helped create the fabric of our city. Take a sip of The Tamale Lady, a spicy blend of mellow corn whisky, jalapeño syrup, Ancho Verde, and lemon to pay homage to the vagabond abuelita who, for years, has peddled her tamales from bar to bar in the Mission feeding hungry bar-goers. Breathe deep into Karl the Fog, a smoky combination of Highland Park Magnus, honey, and bitters to invoke our city’s iconic personified marine layer. Or get a startle from The Bushman, a cheeky concoction of Apple brandy, pastis, grenadine, and lime hidden behind greenery, a la local Fisherman’s Wharf legend who startles passersby from behind his attached foliage.
Pair your celebrity cocktails with Lord George’s formidable seafood tower of market fresh oysters, gulf prawns, and tuna tartare. Nibble on charcuterie, cheese, and fresh crudite. Or chow down on a one-third-pound Angus burger, foie gras torchon, Tuscan kale caesar salad, or smoked salmon rillettes.
From topless dancers to brewmasters and polyamorous train conductors to opium peddlers, MacGregor runs the gamut of the philanthropic, the nefarious, and, needless to say, the colorful characters in our humble patch of 7×7. Sip now for a taste of San Francisco history.
Underground Icons of San Francisco, Nov. 6 – Dec. 31, at Lord George, 555 Second St., 415-660-7633 or lordgeorgesf.com