CUESA Banishes Winter Blues, With Puppies

Paws & Pours combines craft cocktails, vegetarian bites, and soft, furry friends.

There’s a poignant scene in Willa Cather’s My Antonia where the immigrant Shimerda family nearly freezes to death in their substandard home during their first winter on the Nebraska prairie. Only their neighbors’ goodwill keeps them alive. Luckily for Northern Californians a century later, very few of us ever have to worry about anything remotely like that. But late January is a low point for seasonally driven food and drink no matter how bountiful the region, so CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) has decided to combine cocktails with something to keep us all warm: puppies!

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, CUESA, the S.F. chapter of the U.S. Bartender’s Guild, and the San Francisco SPCA partner for Paws & Pours, a cuddly, wet-nosed winter version of their periodic parties. Even if you’re an ice queen with a flinty personality who prefers arctic vortices and bomb cyclones to balmy weather, you’re gonna melt when you see the first-come, first-served petting enclosure.

Guests at the Ferry Building’s Grand Hall each get three full-sized signature drinks — plus unlimited samples by bartenders from restaurants and watering holes like 15 Romolo, Pagan Idol, Villon, and many more, plus all the bites are vegetarian. Founded nearly 25 years ago to bring city-dwellers back to the land and give them a more intimate understanding of where their food comes from, CUESA is a top-tier nonprofit dedicated to improving food systems. And this time at least, it involves paw pads sliding around on mosaic tile.

Paws & Pours, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 5:30-8 p.m., at the Ferry Building’s Grand Hall, $60-$150;

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