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San Francisco: SWIG

02-Jun-2006
 
On a recent quick trip to San Francisco I did my best to check out as many little places around the city as possible.  I was staying in the Union Square area and a friend recommended SWIG as a fun place in the area.   
 
On my first evening in town I made my way to the little bar and arrived around 6:00.  Happy Hour was in process (I love that!) and that meant that all of their specialty cocktails were reduced by $2.  They had an interesting list of items, although many seemed like they might be a bit sweet.  I settled on one that sound really intriguing, a Strawberry Basil "Martini", and asked for it to be made a bit tart. 
 
They muddle fresh basil and lime, then shake it up with vodka and fresh strawberry puree.  It’s a beautiful deep rose-colored drink and smells absolutely heavenly – the first aroma you smell is the earthy basil, followed by the flowery strawberry. 
 
While sipping this excellent concoction I talked to people sitting near me and took in the scene around me.  There were a combination of regular locals and not-so-regular travelers like me.  Three women friends on one side of me were dressed in typical not-too-formal office attire and the bartender made their drinks as they arrived (without being prompted).  On the other side of me was an interesting couple; she was a bit buttoned up, while he looked like he’d just hopped off his Harley.  Friendly people all. 
 
I happened to be sitting at a place where there was a slight gap in the seats – the place where those not at the bar tend to squeeze in to place their orders. Among others, I talked to a lovely gentleman well into his 70s who, with his wife, was visiting the area from England.  We had a nice chat while he waited for his drinks to be prepared. 
 
The Absolut Girls were in residence and passing out "coupons" good for $2 cocktails.  Well, I had to take advantage of that.  So while sipping my second cocktail I talked with a few guys from somewhere an hour or so outside of town, barely 21, itching for a little city adventure.  I liked that Swig attracted a range of ages, occupations, and both locals and visitors.  That always makes a place more interesting. 
 
My one disappointment was that they didn’t serve food at all.  So after my two cocktails it was definitely time to move on.  For a casual place with interesting people and creative drinks check out SWIG next time you’re in San Francisco! 
 
  

 
SWIG
561 Geary before Jones
San Francisco
415.931.7292

 

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