Exclusive: Bear Versus Bull, Alamo Drafthouse's New Menu

Seldom do you see one of the biggest openings of a given year take place during the last two weeks of it, but that’s the way the calendar fell in 2015. The Alamo Drafthouse’s debut coincided with what will surely be the highest-grossing film in history. (Hint: It’s an anagram of RAW TSARS.)
And because this is San Francisco, it’s also the debut of a massive bar, Bear Versus Bull.

[jump] It’s ursine, it’s taurine, and it’s absolutely full of boilermakers. Manager Isaac Shumway has done time at Bourbon and Branch, Heaven's Dog, Alembic, and Tosca Café, and his list is exactly the kind of thing that will make arriving 45 minutes before a show time mandatory. With draft cocktails like an “Immortal” Singapore Gin Sling (London dry gin, cherry brandy, Benedictine, pineapple, grenadine, Cointreau, and aromatic bitters) and a Boulevardier; 750-milliliter beers like Dogfish Head’s Etrusca Ancient Ale and Almanac Dogpatch Grand Cru; and a $15 frozen and blended cocktail with the Gotterdammerung-esque name “Death in the Gulfstream ‘Hemingway Reviver.’”

Although one of those would probably be enough for most Hemingway protagonists, it doesn’t even begin to cover it. Bear Versus Bull’s roster of non-draft cocktails skips the easily executed variations on the classics in favor of nine wholly original drinks, from the Great Silence (mezcal, Campari, lime, orgeat, and grapefruit peel) to the Cap Haitian Rum & Honey (Barbancourt 15 Rhum, Bacardi 1909 Heritage, honey, aromatic bitters, and a hand-cut cube). And those boilermakers: You could probably do well to toss a dart at the menu, but the $18 Bruery Mischief Belgian Strong Pale Ale and Sheep Dip Islay scotch sound like a good way to be transported to a galaxy far, far away.

Of course, if you’re hungry, Chef Ronnie New won’t leave you in the lurch. (The New Mission Theater’s five screens seat over 500 people, so he’d have a revolt on his hands if he tried. See SF Weekly's writeup here.) Based in Austin, Alamo Drafthouse is as well-regarded for its food and drink as for its programming, but in Bear Versus Bull, San Francisco might have a theater that people hang out in without even gazing at a screen.

Bear Versus Bull, inside the New Mission Theater, 2550 Mission St., 415-549-5959.

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