Drinking at Upcider, S.F.'s First Cider Bar

upcider 1.jpg
Anna Roth
American craft cider has been enjoying something of a Renaissance these days -- a market once dominated by UK imports like Magners and Strongbow now has plenty of stateside competition. It was only a matter of time before someone dreamed up a bar devoted entirely to cider, and a few months ago it became a reality: S.F.'s first cider bar, Upcider, opened in Polk Gulch.

See Also:
- Beer of the Week: Cascade Figaro Sour Ale
- On Finding Real Apple Cider

In theory, a cider bar is a fabulous idea. I love the stuff, despite its girl-drink associations, and too few bars have it or stock options beyond the super-dry British imports. Upcider offers dozens of ciders from around the country on the two-column menu, ranging in flavor and price range. I was initially disappointed to find they didn't have any ciders on tap yet, though they plan to soon, but the two bottles we tried were delightful.

I ordered the Cherry Bomb from Julian Hard Cider near San Diego, which was tart, not too sweet, and full of lush cherry flavors despite having an apple cider base. My friend thoroughly enjoyed a bottle of blackberry-pear cider from Fox Barrel in Colfax, which was made from 100% blackberries and pears with not an apple in sight.

The problem with a cider bar made itself apparent halfway through the first bottle. They were both great ciders, but fairly intense, and though not saccharine were sweeter than your average beer or wine. We didn't really want another one right then, and certainly couldn't have kept pounding them back all night. The menu also offered local beers, but the room was almost empty, and the short, fusion-ish menu didn't offer many appealing bar snacks (we passed on something called "buffalo fries"), so we departed in search of dinner, all cider-ed out for the time being.

Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Follow me at @annaroth.

Location Info




1160 Polk St., San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest

Fox Barrel is made from pear juice concentrate and not real cider.  FYI.

lyrasmith like.author.displayName 1 Like

I will agree with two other reviewers. Out of too many options at Upcider you chose only two cider-like drinks. Then you are judging all ciders and the menu that consists of 70 different options depending on those two?? Also tap ciders are not as good as tap beers (you may think), as many of them are bottle conditioned and have different fermentation methods, which are required to be bottled (like champagne method). So you should be happy that they are serving you REAL bottle conditioned ciders.

Their food menu doesn't look fusion at all. It is very straightforward gastropub food which is well made and is a perfect match with ciders.


Anna, maybe you should try it one more time after making a better research about what a real cider is.

xlyon like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The  American craft cider "Renaissance" these days is a Renaissance not because cider was previously non-existent in America, but because there is a growing choice of traditional, artisanal, quality choices that aren't like the previously available "alco-pop" choices.   I was recently at UpCider and had 2 nice choices - one from Wandering Aengus in Oregon (Oaked Dry), and one from Tieton Ciderworks (Wild Washington) in Washington.   Varieties from Spain, England, and France were also available for anyone interested in learning about different styles and traditions.      UpCider perhaps should just remove the old mass-market sickly sweet choices from their menu to avoid such confusion in the future?

emmett.thesane like.author.displayName 1 Like

Uhh... you went in and got two extremely fru-fru cider coolers (well one wasn't actually cider in any respect) and then "got tired of cider"? That's a bit akin to strolling into a wine bar which happens to carry Bartles & Jaymes blackberry wine coolers, drinking that, and saying a wine bar doesn't work because you didn't want another B&J.

You did not drink *any* cider that night. Try again from the walking-in-the-door bit, and this time refuse anything containing other than bitter cider apples, and preferably anything that's been carbonated or pasteurised.Review for Anna Roth: zero stars

Now Trending

From the Vault


©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.