After a long week of work, a nice sunny patio and a frosty brew are the perfect combination for strolling into the weekend.
I’m the kind of guy who likes a little bite with my happy hour. Whether it be pretzels, popcorn, pinchos, or peanuts, I crave a snack with my drink. One bar in this town that has built a reputation on its long list of craft brewskis also caters a perfect little snack that elevates the experience to one fit for gods and punk rockers alike.
Zeitgeist on the corner of Valencia Street and Duboce Avenue is like an old dog that hangs out in a mechanic’s garage: It can be a little scruffy and intimidating but beneath the snaggle-toothed grimace lies a softer side. The bar’s rough edges bring in bikers and old-timey San Franciscans, the taps draw in the beer nerds, and the massive patio attracts everyone else. It’s a wonderful blend of the city’s drinkers and bar-goers. One area that often gets glanced over is the small grill in the back room, offering greasy bar fare. I say skip the burger and bratwurst and hightail it straight to the grilled cheese.
Served on fluffy Texas toast-style white bread and griddled to a buttery crisp, the grilled cheese can be modified to satisfy your buzzed palette. For six bucks the sandwich comes with a choice of American, cheddar, or pepper jack cheese and tomato, then can be dressed up with simple additions of bacon, jalapeno, or a fried egg. The bright yellow cheese glows between the crispy slices of bread, while the whole thing oozes like a sponge. The smoky bacon and tangy jalapeno add layers of different crunchy textures, while the sweet tomato brings the decadent mess back down to earth. It’s the grilled cheese your dad used to make for dinner when mom was working late, forsaking any merit and sinking to forbidden, delicious, oily depths.
This is a personal experience, the kind of thing that is done alone or at least before your friends/Hinge date show up. Maybe you have a long Friday night ahead of you and you know there won’t be time for sustenance until the early hours of the morning, so you need to fuel up the tank. Whatever your reasoning, not that you need one, this classic sandwich was built to be eaten with an ice-cold one. Few marriages will ever be as satisfying.
So next time you want to sit outside and revel in some indulgent post-work, pre-weekend you-time, head to Zeitgeist for a grilled cheese, a beer, and maybe a smoke.
Man, it’s good to be alive.
Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia St., (415) 255-7505