San Francisco, California
It’s been a roller-coaster year for chef Charles Phan. First, a flood took out his Chinese-and-cocktails spot Heaven’s Dog. Then, citing low turnout, he shuttered his Mission restaurant Wo Hing General Store after just 18 months. You almost wouldn’t blame the man if he turned to strong drink. With Hard Water, Phan’s Embarcadero whiskey bar opened in spring 2013, stocked with 200 labels of all-American brown, he does just that. The streamlined cocktail menu pays respect to the classics (there’s a mint julep and a zippier version of a Sazerac), but serious bourbonites won’t get past the whiskey list, featuring some labels so rare that “we may have one of only a few surviving bottles,” says bar director Erik Adkins. The drink selection pairs well with oysters and Southern-tinged entrees.
San Francisco, CA