Friday, November 19, 2010

Bar Agricole in SF: Vaporware No More

In Silicon Valley, vaporware refers to products that are announced long before they exist and often times never actually launch.  Frequently the product announcements are made to stake out ground and or scare off competition.  Bar Agricole was announced by founder Thad Vogler in October of 2008 and it was scheduled to open in March 2009.  Months went by and Vogler was perpetually referred to as of the upcoming Bar Agricole, but the opening date kept getting postponed and in the interim Smugglers Cove arrived, 15 Romolo was revamped, Comstock Saloon swung its doors wide open and more than a handful of other quality programs debuted.  It was beginning to look like Bar Agricole was more vaporware than real and that it might have been a mirage rather than an oasis.  It finally opened in August 2010 and the acclaim has been loud and close to universal.  The vaporware sobriquet may soon fade away as all people can remember is how much they enjoyed their cocktails and food.

On a recent evening, I had the Tequila Daisy which was part of the launch list but is not on the current cocktail list.  It included a spicy homemade agent that gave it a kick.  Lemon, vermouth and apricot preserve also added to the mix.  Not as fiery as Cana's Tijuana Death March but a deserving member of the spicy cocktail pantheon.

The Presidente made with Haitian Rum, farmhouse curacao, grenadine and orange bitters was another highlight of our brief visit to Bar Agricole.  We had already eaten dinner so were unable to muster the strength to sample the food section of the menu, but the braised artichoke sounds like a winner.  From the cocktail list, the Tequila Fix with lime, pineapple gum and orange bitters is next on my list to try.

The room itself is cool with undulating glass sculptures/chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and a huge outdoor patio in the front off of the street.  I suspect that for my purposes it will work best as a cocktail bar/lounge with snacks rather than as a spot to have dinner.  The cocktail list includes fifteen drinks, all only $10.  This is a great value in central San Francisco, especially for cocktails of this quality.  Surprisingly only three of the fifteen cocktails on the list contain the namesake ingredient, Rhum Agricole.  The sleek environment, talented bartending staff and interesting cocktail menu make Bar Agricole the kind of establishment one is happy to take several visits to fully explore.  Oh, and did I mention they take reservations?

Bar Agricole: 355 11th Street, SOMA, San Francisco.  Phone: (415) 355-9400.  Website:

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