Republicans in San Francisco have a lot in common with a radioactive element called Ununoctium.
Tucked along the bottom right (naturally) of the Periodic Table, this substance is so rare only four atoms of it have ever been detected. Nobody's sure how it forms, or understands the true nature of its behavior, or really why it exists in the first place, nestled as it is so sparsely around so many other liberally prevalent elements.
...Sort of like conservatives living in a city famous for its left-leanings. After all, this is where 100,000 flower-laden free spirits descended on The Haight during the '60s Summer of Love, where 84 percent of registered voters went for President Obama in 2008, and where crowds came out in droves not long ago to try and rename a sewage treatment plant after George W. Bush.
(Hey, the tagline could have been "We're Sewage-ing The War on Terror!")
But whether you're part of the blue fold or one of the 200 people brave enough to 'like' the San Francisco Republican Party on Facebook, there are times when we all can forgo the confines of the handful of beliefs that separate us, and gather as one for that truly unifying practice of slinging back a few too many cocktails.
Locals already know The Marina district is the safest bet for finding a (Republican) party, but we're not vying for the obvious choices. What follows is a round-up of some of our favorite bars in San Francisco where Donkeys and Elephants will both feel at home in the City by the Bay, either because the vibe is so unpretentious that tusks never come out or so wild that everyone will joyfully make an ass of themselves anyway.
1754 Polk Street
A trifecta of sleek, sexy, and affordable, Nob Hill's Amélie draws diverse regulars into its lounge with bottles starting at $20 and happy hour flights that amateurs and oenophiles alike can easily board. You're as likely to meet a European jet-setter sidled along the polished bar as you are groups of fashionable ladies and budget-minded art students, and the harmony of multiple languages gives off a vibe that's what we imagine the U.N. would feel like... if their meetings included bottle service.
2526 Mission Street
Sure, the décor sports a subtle communist flare, but seeing as it adjoins swanky sister restaurant Foreign Cinema and its daily Happy Hour includes craft beer priced like PBR, the bourgeoisie and proletariat can unite at Laszlo. The chic-industrial space of this trendy Mission lounge overflows on weekends, but early week promises a mellow vibe perfect for sipping themed cocktails like the Russia House. And thanks to DJs spinning old-school hip-hop nightly, quips about failed leftist policies will probably go unheard.
354 11th Street
San Francisco may employ a diehard dedication to recycling, but everyone appreciates some white trash now and again. Enter gritty SoMa dive Butter, an unapologetic affront to health from its endless Jell-O shots to the heart attack-inducing menu of deep-fried Twinkies and tater tots. The crazy hodgepodge décor includes an aluminum trailer crammed in the corner, while ever-sticky tables in the chaotically cluttered interior host preppy frat types and skinny dudes with brilliant mustaches that tear into $1 Olympias and Spaghettios with equal aplomb.
Cigar Bar & Grill
850 Montgomery Street
Boisterous riffs and the sweet pungency of cigars unite at this popular Financial District haunt, where guests get funky to live Latin Jazz, Samba, and Meringue Thursdays through Saturdays but can pare their stogies with an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails all week. Everyone can agree on a few $4 sangrias during Happy Hour, and the Renaissance-styled outdoor patio is usually home to as many Polo-shirted stock traders as it is fedora-sporting hipsters. And take pride that a stellar Clinton impersonation will be appreciated by this diverse audience - at least once, don't push it bubbah.
246 Kearny Street
Blocks from Downtown's shopping mecca, Rickhouse is where massive punchbowls and premium scotches foster an oasis of cool -- albeit crowded -- conversation. Mixology-lovers appreciate the tincture-wielding staff, overworked suits yearn for the stiff belt of bourbon, and the lounge area is home to a crackling fireplace where intimate couples and coworkers shake off the day beneath whiskey-barrel ceilings. Drink preparation takes time, but you can fill the void crafting new concoctions to test the suspender-clad bartender's mettle -- and maybe take turns giving your new cocktails names like "Black-Pitted Cheneys," "The Olbermannhattan," and "I Can See White Russians From My House."
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