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New Beer Bar in San Francisco

By Joe Ruvel · January 7th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Here is what my friend recently sent me:

imageOver in North Beach, Magnet has transitioned to becoming ~CHURCH KEY~, a bar featuring primarily beers, 55 in all, from microbrews to imports. Eight are on tap, with the rest bottled—and the beers rotate, so there’s always something new to try, plus there are also some well-priced wines. The place has a turn-of-the-century traveler look, with unique wallpaper (the floral pattern actually features demons), exotic light fixtures, a copper bar, and an ever-growing collection of Victorian artwork, like pinned butterflies. There’s an upstairs mezzanine with room for 20, and about 15 at the downstairs bar. Church Key just finished its soft opening, and is now open nightly, starting at 5pm until midnight, and until 2am Thu–Sat. Happy hour is daily until 8pm, with $2 off all draft beers. The grand opening will be the weekend of January 30 and 31st.

The owner is Jason King, who some may know from his place Broken Record out in the Excelsior. Since the Broken Record has a kitchen (and some cool chefs, more on this in a moment), it will be supplying Church Key with some exotic meat pies that will be heated in ramekins in the bar’s convection oven, like braised oxtail, venison with brandied cherry, and a root vegetable version, all under $10. That’s some mighty fine and beer-ready bar food.

So, about the chefs: they are Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher, a couple who met while working in the pastry department at Boulevard. Zacher has also worked at Campton Place, as well as Firefly, where she became the pastry chef. Ostler helped open Range (he was behind the brill Brillat-Savarin soufflé), plus Quince, tinderbox, and Serpentine. So now you know who’s doin’ that tasty food you’re eating while sipping your beer. 1402 Grant Ave. at Union, 415-963-1713.

Haven’t tried the place out yet but it sounds great. This is pretty close to my apartment so I am excited. The signs all point to it being a good place.  No website yet – but from the reviews on yelp they have some good stuff – Aventinus, Unibroue, Achel, Kwak, Hitachino, Delerium, North Coast, Allagash. I like this quote too – “they don’t have bud-light, but they have a canadian beer infused with hibiscus, 6 norweigan beers, allagash on tap (from maine ayah!) and a freakin 50 dolla beer from brazil. (from user Katie H on yelp)”

Hopefully I will have an update soon once I get to spend a night there.

Tags: General

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brian D // Jan 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Tried this place on the weekend. I was all excited until i found out it was the old Magnet. Gone are the Sake bombs and the only sparkling white wine was a Sophia Coppola poured from a can.

  • 2 Joe Ruvel // Jan 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Just goes to show you – one man’s sake bomb is another man’s allagash curieux on draft. We went last weekend and it was kinda packed but overall I really liked the vibe and the beer rocked. I hope to get back soon for a “real” visit.