- Anna Latino/Special to the S.F. Examiner
- Greg Stone’s secret weapon is his bourbon sour. “It only has three ingredients so it’s easy to make when it’s mobbed. I wanted a fast cocktail without sacrificing quality.”
Public House As the Giants begin playing at AT&T Park today, if you can’t score tickets then the next best place to watch a game is with the throngs of fans at the Public House in Willie Mays Plaza. The huge, open bar serves 24 kinds of beer, in addition to cocktails, and faces the 24 palm trees surrounding the Say Hey Kid’s statue. (Mays’ number was 24.) It boasts good bar food and shares the space with the Mexican eatery Mijita, with both kitchens run by self-proclaimed huge Giants fan and celebrity chef Traci Des Jardins. Longtime beverage manager Greg Stone notes that one of the little-known perks of stopping at the bar is that fans can get their drinks in plastic cups, which may be brought into the ballpark. It’s a big deal since fans can’t bring alcohol into the park, and buying booze there is pricey.
BAR info: 24 Willie Mays Plaza • (415) 644-0240 • www.publichousesf.com
What was it like here during the World Series?
It was an awesome month. We were packed to the gills; the walls started breathing. There was so much emotion. Every pitch emitted gasps from the crowd. It was absolutely insane when they clinched — I still get the chills talking about it. The energy was so positive. The whole town was on fire; it was just electric. Between the Giants last year and the 49ers being in the Super Bowl, it’s been a tremendous year for San Francisco sports.
How much beer did you sell?
A massive amount of beer. In one week, during the playoffs and World Series, we sold more than $97,000 worth of beer. We went through 11 kegs of Blind Pig IPA at $7 a pint. It was mind-numbing.
What famous people have you served?
Willie Mays has come in. A lot of the players live in the neighborhood. Kiefer Sutherland came in for a Giants night game. Les Claypool, the bass player for Primus — he was a super nice guy.
What do you like about bartending?
When something you created yourself provides a really good experience. When the customer walks away happy, I feel good — especially if it’s a cocktail they enjoyed. One of my biggest peeves is a lot of people out there have big egos. If a customer isn’t interested in cask ales or some of our incredible craft beers, if you want a Bud Light, fine.
What’s the crowd like in the offseason?
The neighborhood is still blooming, but we are a destination and business is growing every year. We’re succeeding because we serve good food and booze in a comfortable environment.
What bars do you like?
Mr. Bing’s in Chinatown, Comstock, Tacolicious in the Marina, Mosto, the Corner Store.
What do you drink?
Really good beer, like Blind Pig IPA or the Allagash Brewery’s Coolship series. Shots of tequila, like Siete Leguas Blanco.
What’s one of your most memorable experiences?
One of the 24 beers we serve is called Kaz’s First Pitch. It’s made by the brewer for the Iron Springs brew pub in Fairfax, Christian Kazadoff. He named the beer after his dad, who’s a huge Giants fan. Christian came in with his dad for a game, and he was thrilled to be drinking his beer with his dad watching the Giants. It was very special.
Blackberry Bourbon Sour
- 2 oz. Jim Beam bourbon
- Juice of half a lemon
- ¾ oz. Martinique cane sugar syrup
- 1 basket blackberries soaked in bourbon for 2 days, then strained
- Shake ingredients together in cocktail shaker with ice. Strain over ice in tall glass. Garnish with lemon slice.