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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Ice Cream Bar Is an Adult-Friendly Soda Fountain

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:21 AM

click to enlarge An Ice Cream Bar soda jerk, and the mammoth pistachio milkshake (that's the one on the right). - LARA HATA
  • Lara Hata
  • An Ice Cream Bar soda jerk, and the mammoth pistachio milkshake (that's the one on the right).

And there are plenty of kids hanging around the scoops at Cole Valley's Ice Cream Bar -- the subject of this week's full-length restaurant review. But the space, a moody reconstruction of a Deco-era soda fountain, complete with 1930s fountain in back, feels like adult territory, especially after dinner time. Owner Juliet Pries and bartender Russell Davis are resuscitating an older notion of what a soda fountain is: a place where Prohibition-idled bartenders took to shaking up cream and eggs, where the fizzy drinks were once spiked with medicinal tonics such as cocaine and morphine, and where the sodas were made with a very adult level of attention to flavor.

Like the pre-Prohibition cocktails that SF's craft bartenders are reviving, the Ice Cream Bar's neo-fountain sodas are served up with an obsessive detail that borders on the ridiculous. But they can also be -- in the case of this pistachio milkshake, for example, made with imported pistachio syrup and served with a sour-cherry froth on top -- ridiculously good.

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