As I was planning for my few days in San Francisco, I consulted a few friends and internet lists in search of the top cocktail joints in the city. Rye kept coming up again and again and was located a few blocks from my hotel, so I decided to give it a try on one of my first nights in town.
I am quick to notice when bars have a lot of space, because I am so used to the smaller, shall I say “intimate” bars in New York. Rye was very spacious, with huge ceilings, and low tables scattered across one big room divided in half. I was drawn to the massive chalkboard at the back of the room, which for once was used as something besides a menu! The voices of Rick Ross, Future, and the Weeknd piped in to fill the space, much to my surprise.
I pulled up to the bar and ordered the first drink on the small cocktail menu: The Cobra Effect, centered around the bar’s namesake ingredient: rye, with spiced pear liquer, orgeat, lemon, and egg white. The frothy drink was served neat in an oversized coupe glass, and topped with star anise. The drink was quite rich and savory, with a bit of the fruity pear flavor coming through every sip. The drink wasn’t too boozy, surprising since its base was 100 proof rye.
I enjoyed the drink and since I didn’t love it, was prepared to try something different when the bartender granted me the gift of a second drink. Not someone to refuse such a generous gift, I happily accepted. The second iteration of the drink confirmed – the drink was good but not great, the thickness and richness of the drink was too much for me, especially after a full meal.
I enjoyed the rest of my drink while chatting up some newly made friends at the bar as the tables & chairs around us began to fill. The rap music continued, the cool breeze of the night came in through the small ivy covered patio, and the merry chalkboard characters watched as another night of revelers enjoyed cocktails in their home.
688 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA