Bouncer Tastes the Artisanal Life at Bar Agricole

Categories: Bouncer

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From this week's Bouncer column:

I arrived at Bar Agricole on a Monday evening and hadn't thought to make a reservation on what is generally a very slow night in the nightclub trade. I was wrong. Every table was taken, and there was only one seat left at the bar. The very personable host said he would put me on the waiting list. My friends hadn't arrived yet anyway, so I sat on the remaining stool. The bartender was busy creating something very involved, so I had time to really give the place a gander.

It is expansive and open, yet warm. From what I have read, everything that has gone into the place from the napkins to the glass ceiling sculptures has been born from the bowels of an artist, and it shows. Even the cocktail shakers are singularly beautiful, curved and burnished with a faint golden hue. When they rest on the bar, upside down, they look like gilded Russian nesting dolls. Then there are the aprons worn by each staff member, which look like they were designed by OshKosh B'Gosh. Each staffer wears them differently. My bartender, Eric, wore his full-flap up, like someone manning a barbecue. Barback Dan wore his folded over around his waist.

I point out these things to show that Bar Agricole's attention to detail did not go unnoticed by someone like me, who pays attention to details. There was a certain sweetness to the whole place that was endearing. Someone has poured his or her heart and soul into it. You can't fake authenticity.

The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the herb-infused limeade, which I ordered and then waited to see how long it would take to arrive. I waited for a bit, and then Eric told me someone was taking care of it at the other bar, motioning to a long banquette behind me. "Okay, cool," I said, at least grateful that he noticed. Then a fellow came and grabbed some limes, so I figured he was the mixologist and these were to be my designated citruses: "Hello, my name is Stanley, and I will be your lime for tonight." Eventually I was presented with my drink by a third person, approximately eight minutes after I had ordered it. Less than the 15 I have waited at places like Beretta, but longer than it takes to get a PBR at the Phone Booth. The drink was tart and tasty and definitely worth the wait, and I could already feel my paradigm shifting, because if I give up my obsession with timeliness, I might actually start to enjoy myself more when I go to these kinds of places. What is the rush, anyway?

It comes down to this: If I feel like a bar is being run by douchebags who think they are better than me, then I refuse to wait forever for a $10 drink. If, however, I am in an inviting tavern created by Betty Crocker's food-forward, successful grandnephew, with cute lil' engineer aprons and ice cubes hand-chiseled by Tom Sawyer's Aunt Polly, waiting a bit for a delicious concoction is fine.

... continue reading this week's Bouncer column.

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Bar Agricole

355 11th St., San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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