Replacing western SoMa's decidedly forgettable Mercury Lounge comes the Willows, a new spot from the team behind the Sycamore that's sure to brighten up your after-work monotony with video games and bar snacks with wonderfully low nutritional content.
As perhaps the finest example of something your mother would absolutely forbid you ever to eat, there are pork belly doughnuts (with a maple Maker's Mark glaze). At three for $6.25, they're more reminiscent of doughnut holes than proper doughnuts, but they sure are good.
Fried mac & cheese balls, fried onion strings with paprika aioli and a sloppy joe mean this is the perfect spot to shake off that stultifying PowerPoint presentation you just sat through. And to better digest what you just ate, there's an assortment of house-made pickled vegetables. Share some while thumbing through the huge selection of board games, including the best thing ever to come out of Kickstarter, Cards Against Humanity.
The cocktail list has an impish sense of humor. Dare to resist a Mayan Sacrifice (Maestro Dobel tequila, aperol and ginger ale) or Mom's Mai Tai ("made with light and dark rum, just like mom ordered to-go from the Chinese restaurant), or channel Abe Simpson with the variant on an Old-Fashioned made with Larceny Bourbon called the "Fuck You, Grampa!"
That's just at the main bar. The Willows, you see, has two, and the other is a refreshingly affordable craft beer room. There you can get a North Coast Old Rasputin Stout, Dogfish Head Midas Touch or Crabbies Ginger Beer (relax, it's not N.A.). For people who scoff at decent prices, and since this is what SoMa is kind of all about now, there is also a 500mL of North Coast Grand Cru for $38.
Just wipe the pork belly doughnut glaze off your fingers before you play Big Buck Hunter, OK?
The Willows, 1582 Folsom St., (415) 529-2039.
Follow Pete at @wannacyber