From Absinthes to Zombies (BTW, never order an Absinthe Zombie), a weekly guide to what's what in the San Francisco bar scene. As usual, barrespondent Drew tries to make it sound like he's always out at the classy joints and not really at home checking the toilet tank for that emergency can of Schmidt's he remembers hiding.
Oh yeah, we got class. You better believe it we got class. Ok, fine, you probably knew we were lying by the poor grammatical structure of those first two sentences. But we do want to occasionally pretend we have class, and if there's one city in the world with ample opportunities to fake it, it's this here San Francisco town.
Some people might argue that class can't be faked, that you either have it or you don't, and that the true 'James Bonds' of this world look as suave and debonair shot-gunning dollar Pabsts in a Mission alleyway as they do enjoying a single malt scotch at the Top Of The Mark. And while some may indeed posess that kind of sophistication, the rest of us will have to make do with periodically dabbing on some Drakkar Noir, blowing the cable bill money on some fancy drinks, and posing out more than an Academy of Art alumni meeting.
Martuni's on Market and Valencia is, in our opinion, the greatest place to get your fake on in the whole city. Even if you walk into the place in jeans and a t-shirt, you instantly feel like you belong on a Dean Martin album cover. Dark to the point of near blindness, the atmosphere here immediately makes you feel ten to twenty times 'swankier' than when you walked in.
If you order a beer at Martuni's then there just may be no hope for you at all. Even on a hot and muggy day when an ice cold beer sounds like the perfect cure for what ails you, the environment inside this place commands you to get one of their 'comedy-sized' martinis. Don't worry though, you won't be dissapointed. Expertly made with precision and care by some of the best bartenders in the city, the drinks at this place will quickly make you forget that you ever thought mere hops and barley could ever quench your thirst.
Be careful with your timing here, however, as it does get horrendously crowded once the piano bar fires up and several large cocktails turns into one massive sing-a-long. Even though you may regret it later, Martuni's is actually a really great place to start off an evening of walking around. Just be careful, because if you don't show their martinis the right amount of respect, that walking could turn into crawling in no time flat.