Bar 821 is the kind of place that you would like, and by you I mean everyone. It is one of those universal good things like hummingbirds, chocolate chip cookie dough, and clear blue water, that if you say you don’t like everyone automatically thinks that you are probably too contrarian for your own good.
821 is on Divisadero, which for a slightly gritty street actually boasts two of these universal good things, the other of course being Nopa, a restaurant so widely adored by San Franciscans that if you are planning to say anything more derogatory about it than that you haven’t been there, you had better be packing heat.
Besides being about as wretchedly cute as a Miata, Bar 821 boasts one of the most economical and tasty happy hours in the city. In other words, all cocktails are $3. Since they don’t serve “hard A” as the high schoolers are wont to call it, you probably won’t get drunk, but after three drinks you just might be halfway there, which is usually better than the alternative if it’s a Tuesday.
That said the Lemon Spark, a mixture of champagne, lemon juice, and Triple Sec, is probably one of the best drinks I have ever had. The Michelada, a twist on the Bloody that uses beer instead of vodka, and the Western Fruition, which pairs shochu with plum sake and lime, aren’t bad either.
Some bars are good to go to when you’re feeling insane and diabolical, and some are good to go to after seeing (500) Days of Summer when life just seems like an M. Ward song, and some bars are good to go to when you’re feeling pleasant, dreamy, and possibly Latin. 821 is one these last kinds or bars.
I don’t know why this is, but you kind of start to feel like a supermodel when you’re at 821. It might be the South American bartender, low lights, and discreet entrance, or it might be that you’ve always looked like Gisele, but were just too modest to admit it, but either way it’s not at all a bad way to feel after another gray summer day in San Francisco.
Photo: The Yum Diary