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San Francisco Cocktail Week announces its schedule of main events for September 17-23, 2012.  Established in 2007, it is a weeklong soiree celebrating the Bay Area’s liquid culture, cocktail heritage, bar talent and dynamic industry of the American cocktail.  Bay Area patrons can experience, enjoy and discover everything one ever wanted to know about cocktails from some of the country’s top bar experts.  The hub for SF Cocktail Week will be the Rio Grande, a new pop-up bar* on Market Street near 7th, which will also be a venue for ticket sales to the events, with additional events to be announced.  Also, tickets for most events can be purchased online through www.sfcocktailweek.com [2].  This year’s festivities include, as well as the most popular events from previous years, a food and cocktail pairing in partnership with the SoMa Street Food Park, a celebration of local Bay Area distilleries, and an Altered California State Fair.


2012 Schedule of Events:


The Artisan Tasting

The opening night bash will take place at Anchor Brewing Company (1705 Mariposa St., San Francisco), where guests will explore the flavors of creations of locally-based distillers, matching artisan spirits with food.

Monday, September 17, 6-9 p.m.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door


Spirited Food Trucks:  A Pairing of Deliciousness

Guests can enjoy a wide array of bites and sips as top bartenders have collaborated with truck chefs to create beverages that will be perfect matches for select dishes.  Trucks will be located in SoMa Street Food Park (428 11th St., San Francisco)

Tuesday, September 18, 6-9 p.m.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door (Food available for purchase at trucks)  No charge for mingling and stargazing during an Indian summer night in San Francisco.


Best of the West

A repeat event from last year will be a lighthearted competition and a showcase of the best bartenders on the West Coast.  Best of the West, to take place at Local Edition (691 Market St., San Francisco), will bring together guest bartenders from San Diego to Vancouver, with each one offering their signature cocktail that best represents their city and incorporates one or more of the challenge ingredients.  Guests will enjoy live music during the competition.

Wednesday, September 19, 6-9 p.m.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door


Totally Awesome East Bay to the Max!

A new event, located at The New Parish (579 18th Street, Oakland), guests will go back to the future and celebrate the time when greed was good, the Brat Pack was king and people drank cocktails from the 80s like Fuzzy Navels, Sex on the Beach, etc.  For this time, East Bay bartenders will create classic concoctions from that period using today’s quality ingredients.  The DJ will be spinning tunes from the decade.  Costumes are encouraged.

Thursday, September 20, 6-9 p.m.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door


The Legends Awards

The second annual Legends Awards will offer an exciting night of special tableside cocktails and punches, dinner and show for a 1960s Vegas experience, featuring a gambling spirit, Bond-style swagger and Saturday night bravado.  Taking place at the Swedish American Hall (2174 Market St., San Francisco),  formally-attired guests will meet the true innovators, mentors and historians in the Bay Area.

Friday, September 21, 7-10 p.m.

Tickets are $85 in advance and $95 at the door


Cocktail Melee

This will be a lively walk-around event with different spirits and cocktail stations where guests can discover their favorite libations.  A rare, free-for-all liquid experience, all brands are presented equally in front of the consumers, affording them the opportunity to try the different brands and discover their preferred flavor profiles.  With talent from the United States Bartending Guild (USBG), each tasting station will feature a local bartender as its ambassador.  Situated at the NWBLK art gallery (1999 Bryant St., San Francisco), guests will enjoy a relaxing afternoon walking down cocktail lane.

Saturday, September 22, 2-5 p.m.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door


The California Altered State Fair by Jupiter Olympus

Also taking place the NWBLK art gallery, cocktail consultants Jupiter Olympus will present an exciting State Fair featuring carnival games, food, contests, and cocktails inspired by local bounty, an adult version of the fairs reminiscent of guests’ youth.  Costumes are encouraged.

Saturday, September 22, 7-10 p.m.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door


St. George Spirits Gets Bartenders Behind Bars

The annual summertime fiesta at St. George Spirits (2601 Monarch St., Alameda) is back again, only this time, there will be cops, robbers and bartenders behind bars.  Held in the distillery known for crafting fine gins and absinthe, this event will have cocktail criminals competing against each other to concoct guests favorite libation.  While enjoying St. George’s beautiful facility overlooking the Bay, guests will delight in bites from food trucks, participate in outdoor games and possibly get a special prison tattoo among other unmentionable treats.


2012 Cocktail and Spirit Classes

Seminars held during SF Cocktail Week bring together extraordinary bar experts, distillers and mixologists who share their knowledge with guests about some of the lesser-known facets of the industry as well as invite them to taste their way through each lesson for a greater appreciation of the craft.  The neophyte and the experienced imbiber will both enjoy the seminars.  This year SFCW is working in conjunction with the Beverage Academy to provide innovative Spirit Education Classes and Cocktail Workshops throughout the week.  Located at the Beverage Academy at Bourbon and Branch, each class will offer an entertaining, informative, hands-on learning experience in the world of spirits and cocktails.  Each class is also a workshop with cocktail stations provided for each participant so they can learn from the best how to make perfect cocktails.

Tickets to be determined (including admission and tastings)


Spirited Suppers

Producers in collaboration with an elite roster of San Francisco and East Bay restaurants, Dining Events will feature cocktails created by the area’s best bartenders highlighting one artisan spirit.  Guests must book with the restaurants directly and additional information is available at the SFCW website.


Additional Events

Other events will be added in the coming weeks, including more parties, bar crawls and seminars.  Please check back at www.sfcocktailweek.com [2] and follow SFCW at Facebook.com/SFCocktailWeek and Twitter.com/cocktailweek for future updates.


Founding of San Francisco Cocktail Week

In May 2007, three bar owners, with an idea to recognize World Cocktail Day, set out to create the first San Francisco Cocktail Week to showcase the Bay Area’s influence on the  constantly-evolving cocktail scene.  Founders H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir), Jeff Hollinger (Comstock Saloon) and Duggan McDonnell (Cantina) have continued the annual celebration which has grown each year in scope, scale and flavor.  SF Cocktail Week benefits the Barbary Coast Conservancy for the American Cocktail (BCCAC), a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of saloons and their cocktails in San Francisco while also celebrating California’s culinary philosophy and traditions with special events, publications and educational seminars throughout the year.  This year co-founder Ehrmann continues working with SFCW in an Advisory Role.


* A pop-up bar is a menu-less bar which first appeared in New York in 2000 when Milk & Honey opened.  Pop-up bars in looks and concept resemble the speakeasies and roadhouses that proliferated during Prohibition.  The Rio Grande in San Francisco, from Bon Vivants (cocktail designers Scott Baird and Josh Harris, with Jason Henton) mixes kitsch with quality.  The bar has been serving custom, off-menu cocktails because of the talented mixologists.  It was launched as part of ATO (A Temporary Offering) in the Kor Group’s Renoir Hotel, a pop-up project where local entrepreneurs can test concepts, from FoodLab restaurants to shops and art events.  The Rio Grande features a South of the Border cantina ambience, offering whiskies, tequila, beer, and music.  For a pop-up bar to exist with no food, bartenders must be exceptionally talented and imaginative.  While the Rio Grande may only occupy this space on a temporary basis, it has been so popular that the Bon Vivants will find another venue for it if necessary.