Like the tech industry that defines the latest gold rush in San Francisco, the City is constantly reinventing itself. And if there is an edge to innovation, this vibrant place is intent on finding it. If you want a taste of San Francisco innovation, swing by Upcider Bar for a new twist on one of the oldest ways to get your drink on.
Upcider Bar — Photo courtesy of Upcider Bar
With a priceless people watching spot on the bustling, downtown corner of Polk and Sutter Streets, Upcider has all the trendy marks of a hip, fairly new (opened in 2012) San Francisco bar. The wood walls are reclaimed, a nod to the City's obsession with environmentally sound construction, and the black tables and flashes of iron give the place a solid, sophisticated feel.
Although the environment is cutting edge, it's important to remember that hard cider has been around for ages. The pilgrims preferred it to water (clean water was hard to come by back then), and wealthy British landowners even used to pay their serfs with this fruity grog. With over 7,000 varieties of apples to choose from, there are endless possibilities for this drink. Upcider Bar offers forty different bottled varieties from all over the globe, but they stay mostly within the U.S. and U.K.
The cider back in the days of pilgrims was more hard than sweet, but Upcider adds fruit juice to their concoctions (which are mostly apple or pear-based) to complicate and embolden the flavors. But if you try a sip of a friend's cider and decide you prefer your apple juice from a box with a kiddie straw, there's an ample beer and wine selection, as well. (If you prefer something more savory than the sweetness of cider, try local favorite Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Co, a hoppy IPA with a sharp bite.)
A collage of scenes at Upcider Bar — Photo courtesy of Upcider Bar
Don't worry if a few mugs of cider piques your appetite: Upcider has one of the best late-night bar menus in the whole City. Created by Chef Tony Carracci, this menu will keep you on that perfect perch overlooking Polk and Sutter when you're ready to eat.
Just like with most wine bars, you can ask your waiter for that perfect cider/meal pairing. For example, you could pair a Murray's Vintage Cider from nearby Petaluma with a Spicy Lamb "Upslider" from Marin Farms and get two great California tastes that go well together.
If you're downtown and need something sweet but stiff to top your night off, then swing by Upcider Bar.