Tasty things are happening in the flatlands of Bernal’s La Lengua Autonomous Zone. Gradually, we are witnessing the birth of a dynamic Cocktail Cluster that caters to those who want to get a classy drink on. It began with the Royal Cuckoo, then came Iron and Gold, and now we’ve got Rock Bar, a new establishment on 29th at Tiffany that’s owned by the folks from the Front Porch restaurant across the street.
Special correspondent Bernal Barfly visited Rock Bar, and he shares this review:
Yet another Bernal Heights watering hole has gone through a phoenix-like ritual of a make-over and renaming. Nestled at at the corner of 29th & Tiffany is the newly opened Rock Bar. On the heels of Iron & Gold, The Lucky Horseshoe, and Royal Cuckoo, the options for non-dive bars is expanding for Bernal denizens.
Rock Bar’s interior features items which would seem at home in a waterhole in hills of the Sierras: Kerosene lamps, gold pans, pick axes, and hard hats set the context for the joint. While at least a dozen patrons could be seated comfortably around the bar without bumping elbows, it could service 20+ during the high-demand, SRO times. There is a generous selection of spirits behind the bar, including local products such as Old Potrero & St. Georges Gin. Scattered through the joint are tables for small groups to perch, as well as a pool table and a fireplace. A jukebox is mounted to the rear wall, but a note explained that it was non-operational.
To set a qualifying standard, ordered a Bulleit Rye Manhattan for the first round. The drink soon arrived and came served on a rock coaster instead of the usual cardboard or bar napkin. A great extension of the bar’s branding/identity with that touch. The first sip indicated correct proportions and construction for the Rye Manhattan, and the competency of the bar was established.
For the second round, we consulted the bartender for his suggestion on an appropriate follow-up. Soon a Vieux Carre appeared (Rye, Cognac, Vermouth, Bitters, & Benedictine). Not a drink I would have initially selected, but a totally enjoyable companion to the Manhattan. Rock Bar’s specialty menu includes Corpse Reviver #2, Sazerac, and cans of Schlitz.
A bit diminutive compared to the other watering holes along Mission St., the Rock Bar is a fine addition to the portfolio of Bernal Heights retox facilities.
PHOTOS: Bernal Barfly