If your idea of a San Francisco cocktail is mixing house whiskey with draft beer, then Agave Bar might not be for you. But if you want to enjoy an elegant drink in a vibrant space that mixes traditional Latin culture with a dash of youthful exuberance, then Agave Bar won't disappoint.
The "Hamaicon" of Agave Bar: mezcal, hibiscus tea, St. Germain and balsamic vinegar — Photo courtesy of Aubrie Prick / Agave Bar
Agave Bar is part of Loló restaurant, a beloved Mission District institution. The restaurant is family-owned and operated by Executive Chef Jorge Martínez, his wife Lorena Zertuche and General Manager Juan Carlos Ruelas. Loló’s bright and vibrant interior, designed by co-owner and artist Lorena Zertuche, is uniquely San Franciscan and fits perfectly with the cultural spirit of the neighborhood.
For the interior, Lorena took inspiration from rural Mexican culture and from her childhood growing up on rancherías in Torréon, Coahuila. The interior evokes the cultural and creative spirit of The Mission, using locally found objects and fabrics to create an atmosphere that is unapologetically bold and playful.
For example, a wall of over 1000 hand-folded origami boats fastened on a sunshine yellow wall dominates the space next to Agave Bar.
Lolo, where car doors and origami do not clash — Photo courtesy of Aubrie Pick / Agave Bar
This joyous clamor of colorful art will get you in the perfect mood for the star of the show: your cocktail. The thoughtful bar program - laser-focused on mezcal tequila - is created by two local talents: David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez.
"We carry mezcal that no other place in San Francisco carries," David Gallardo explains.
David Gallardo makes your perfect drink at the Agave Bar. — Photo courtesy of Aubrie Pick / Agave Bar
Some of the cocktails sound good enough to eat - and with good reason. Gallardo and Vasquez are always peeking over at the kitchen to see what fresh fruits and vegetables are in store for diners that night. They take their own cocktail inspiration from whatever is fresh on the menu, which creates a perfect pairing for those who want to spin off their stool after a drink and enjoy the world-class dining going on behind them.
"One night, the chefs had some extra pomegranates that were too red and too beautiful to pass up," Gallardo remembers. "And so our 'Mezcal Mula' with pomegranate-infused tequila was born."
Other popular drinks include the "Gold Digger" (mezcal, yellow chartreuse, tonic syrup, grapefruit bitters) and "The Player" (cynar, rye whisky, grapefruit bitters, Anchor Steam beer). And for those who don't do tequila, the restaurant's main bar offers other cocktail options.
If you have time for only one drink - and want to discover what quality, refined mezcal really tastes like - find your way to the Mission District and grab a spot at Agave Bar.
"The Player" plays it cool. — Photo courtesy of Aubrie Prick / Agave Bar