Admittedly, I’ve been in San Francisco for way too long. I take absolutely no pride in being part of the young, white, professional (barely in my case) horde that descended upon the Mission District in the mid-90’s, paving the way for the tech-y gentrification that followed, and now the rampant foodie-ism and smug, way-too-deliberate (and sometimes laughable) hipster-ism that’s followed that. However, lest I come across as a grumpy, old man (I am, sort of), let me just say that while I miss some old Mission mainstays (Dr. Bombay’s, Leather Tongue, Abandoned Planet Books, whatever was there before Tartine, etc.) in general, my ‘hood has only gotten better over the years. Delfina, Bi-Rite, 826 Valencia, 18 Reasons, Paxton Gate, Monk’s Kettle, Freewheel Bikes, etc., the list is long, varied, and ever-evolving. There’s also a healthy handful of places that just keep chugging away, and have stayed great through the ages; Valencia Pasta & Pizza, El Buen Sabor, Dog Eared Books, The Kilowatt, Faye’s Video, Zeitgeist…it’s nice to have old friends around.
One long-time Mission locale has not only stayed the same, it’s completely changed. We thought of Dalva as a “fancy” drinks place when I first moved out here, a date bar as opposed to the more dive-ish 500 Club. There was a cozy back room that was always a good, if not smokey, place for quieter conversation. Fast forward to the golden age of the cocktail that we seem to be in, and lo and behold, Dalva’s taken their back room, cleaned it up, built in a bar and have christened the little high-end booze & cocktail hideway the Hideout.
The wife (let’s call her Sherry Butts) and I left the kid unattended (he was tied down, don’t worry) for a few hours and snuck in here for a drink the other night and were delighted to find not just a list of appropriately upscaled cocktails but a decent whisk(e)y selection as well. For her, a delightful Rittenhouse 100 Brooklyn, and for me, a no-brainer, the “Whisky In Church” which was a combo of Smokehead, Oloroso Sherry, and a splash of both maple and pear syrup. I’m a sucker for smoky Scotch cocktails, they’re a bit of a rarity and tough to do well…the Whisky in Church was pretty darn good. The Whisk(e)y collection was a bit limited by the smallish bar but there were some tempting things on the shelves. Standouts among the clearly educated selection they had were all the tough-to-find Van Winkles, a few AD Rattray indies, and a smattering of craft distillery favorites. Prices were not the lowest I’ve ever seen, perhaps a bit on the high end, but certainly in line with other whisk(e)y bars in SF. I like the Hideout, it still feels like Dalva there in the back, but the booths and red lighting give it a more clandestine feel compared to the louder front room. Apparently there’s a reserve-able upstairs for even more private boozing. A mere couple of blocks from my house makes the Hideout a bit of a dangerous temptation…
The Hideout at Dalva
3121 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94110