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Mar 28, 2011 08:25 AM

Chowdown: Craft Cocktail Happy Hour tonight (3/28) at 15 Romolo in San Francisco

Melanie Wong and I decided to start a new series of "chowdown" happy hours at San Francisco's excellent craft cocktail bars. The series will kick off Monday, March 28 at 15 Romolo, a North Beach bar located in an alley that's just a quick jaunt from San Francisco's Financial District.

A bar snacks menu is served starting at 6. Happy hour lasts from 5 - 7:30. Please bring cash, if you can, for ease of payment.

Link to bar website with menus:
Link to Yelp page with a map:

No need to RSVP, but if you join us, please report back on what you tried and liked (or didn't) in the round-up thread.

15 Romolo
15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. A great choice to kick off the happy hour series! A very enjoyable gathering and my first time to 15 Romolo, thanks for making it happen.

    As suggested by “pane”, I let the barkeep select a drink for me. My criteria: refreshing, not too much bitterness, tangy acidity, and a good match for the tempura avocado appetizer, $5. The solution: Pimm’s Cup with a little extra homemade ginger syrup. Turns out this is one of the bar’s specialties and it’s only $7 during happy hour. Extra refreshing infused with cucumber and mint, and the club soda and ginger cut through and complemented the rich, oily avocado and dipping sauce made of Kewpie mayo and togarashi pepper.

    When my friend Ted arrived after being in court all day, he asked for, “Whisky, give me whisky.” His drink was “Lambo”, as in Lamborghini, one of the house cocktails, $10. Made with 12 year-old bourbon, Carpano Antica, Campari, orange, and lemon, the drink was very complex, woodsy in flavor, and citrusy in aroma. Strong flavors and sure to wipe the day’s cares away fast.

    The chicken wings “boricuas”, deep-fried and napped with a luscious, chili-spiked coconut cream sauce were terrific. Salty, spicy, greasy, and an exotic flavor twist on bar wings, these were everything you could ask for in drinking eats.

    15 Romolo
    15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

    7 Replies
      1. re: osho

        Tuesday, April 12, 5:30, in San Francisco--I'll send out the location to the SF chowdown list when it is finalized.

        At 15 Romolo, I told the bartender that my current favorite cocktails are a classic whiskey sour (with rye and egg white) and the Corpse Reviver #2, and asked him to recommend or create something akin to one of those.

        He made me a "Rattlesnake," which looks like it was invented at Beretta ( but his version included a brief wash in absinthe--a hat tip to the Corpse Reviver that feels like the spirit haunts, but doesn't own, the glass.

        Like Melanie, I thought that the bar snacks menu was great, and reflected the level of care and specificity they put into their libations menu.

        15 Romolo
        15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. re: pane

          Very enjoyable chowdown - nice to hang out with Melanie and "pane." Unfortunately, I had to leave before they started serving food, so did not get to try the bar snacks.

          Well off the beaten path, the bar is dark and relatively quiet at the early hour of 5:30.
          Perusing the cocktail menu, there were a lot of tasty-looking choices. I settled on the Wilson's Smash. I can't remember what all the ingredients are, but it may be on the menu at 15 Romolo's website.

          At first, the drink was nice and refreshing, but got more sour (for my taste) as it went down. (Note: when I order lemonade in a restaurant, 99% of the time I'll want to either add sugar or water down my drink, so I'm not an average gauge of how sour a drink should be).

          The barkeep, after several solo minutes manfully filling orders and chatting with customers, came back to inquire how I liked it. I said it was good but a bit sour for my taste, adding that it was a personal thing and not related to how he made the drink. He then filled a shot glass with ginger syrup (one of the components of the drink) and gave it to me with instructions that I should sweeten to taste. I gradually poured almost the entire contents into the rest of the drink which brought the sourness down to where it was not drowning out the rest of the drink's components.

          Overall, the atmosphere, service, and drinks make this a watering hole I'd be happy to stop into anytime I'm in the neighborhood.

          15 Romolo
          15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. re: sumimao

            Good to see you, and thanks for reporting in. Ah, that was ginger syrup and not simple syrup as extra sweetner. Definitely go back for the bar snacks, much to explore.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              If you go again, I'd highly recommend the pork sliders. Was at Romolo 10 days prior to the Chowdown with a large group of buddies, and we had many repeat orders of the sliders once everyone tasted how good they were. Porky and savory with just the right amount of acid to offset the sweet unctuousness (I'm guessing apple cider vinegar).

              1. re: Eugene Park

                If you're talking about the pork belly sliders, I had those last night at a party that 15 Romolo catered, and they were fantastic. I'll have to ask about the buns--they were like a thicker version of the buns used for Peking Duck, but browned in butter. Their thin but solid texture was perfect to encase the mini sliders, because they didn't squeeze too much when you took a bite and the whole thing stayed together.

                15 Romolo
                15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

          2. re: pane

            Count me in. Look forward to the invite via the list.