In nearly the last place you’d expect to find a cache of great whisky in San Francisco, The Whisky Shop is nestled in the back… wait, ok, let me rephrase that. The Whisky Shop is nestled in the back of Wm. Glen & Son, a great Scottish imports store, which really is a pretty perfect place to find a cache of great whisky. One doesn’t expect to find a great Scottish imports store and a great cache of scotch on the northern border of one of the countries largest mainstream, corporate-bred, homogenized tourist shopping zones, Union Square. Yet, there it is. Past racks of kilts, clan tartan crests, ties, and other assorted Gaelic paraphernalia, there’s an alcove in the back filled floor to ceiling with a great selection of malts.
The Whisky Shop is arranged by region and features a pretty deep selection of Scotch distillery bottlings, independents, blends, Irish and even Japanese whiskies. I noticed a few unusual malts here, ones you don’t always see as well as the standards and classics. Prices are pretty much in line with the other good shops in SF. Many things are a bit higher but I also noticed a few great deals such as under-$100 Yamazaki 18 and under-$50 Ardbeg 10. Mark, the kilted Scotsman I’ve spoken to most, is a great host, knowledgeable, helpful and always happy to chat about scotch, Scotland or…well, anything, really. One of the last times I stopped in, he recommended a book by Jack Black, (no, not that Jack Black, c’mon…stop reading this and go back to watching Entertainment Tonight, sheeeesh) called “You Can’t Win”, a fascinating, biographical account of a late 1800’s hobo/burgler/opium head who spent quite a bit of time in pre-’06 earthquake San Francisco.
The Whisky Shop is definitely worth a visit, either in person or online at http://www.whiskyshopusa.com/.The Whisky Shop 360 Sutter Street @ Stockton
San Francisco, CA 94108-4302