Man i've been wanting to hit this place since I heard it had opened last year. Huge fans of Mikkeller - their beer, artwork and style are second to none in my humble opinion. We finally found ourselves in SF for mine and my wife's 12 year anniversary - super hyped!
Located just off Market on Mason Street (outskirts of the Tenderloin), you would almost walk right past it if it weren't for the lit up Mikkeller sign on the side of the building. Very unassuming from the outside, but once you step inside you are greeted by a rustic yet refined look and feel to the joint. The back wall left alone in all brick, the clean and simple European minimalist design, and walls adorned with Keith Shore artwork let you know that you are definitely at a Mikkeller bar.
Their draft system is clean, efficient and gorgeous stainless steel placed perfectly within a quad bartop that is powered by the Flux Capacitor draft system that keeps each beer style at its proper serving temperature - meaning your BA Imperial Stouts aren't served as cold as your IPA's, your Wild Ales served at proper temps to bring out the ultimate amount of funk and unique characteristics, and to assure that your Pilsner is served cold and crisp to pair perfectly with a sausage sandwich and crispy double fried french fries. Genius!
Quite an eclectic crowd - my wife and I heavily tattoo'd and casually dressed seated right next to business men in suits and ties and women dressed up for a night on the town in nice dresses and heals - it all works out quite well somehow. There is open bar seating and reserved seating as well, which can be a bit tricky - where there was open seating (first come first serve) our first night in, the next night it was reserve seating. I think this is a little confusing for the guests, but we were able to get seated within our first drink both nights.
We were fortunate enough to get a full tour of the inner-workings of the bar by Cellar Master Ford, who showed us the renowned Flux Capacitor system, where they cellar the kegs on deck, their cask system, and answered any questions we had with enthusiasm and a smile on his face. I tried my best not to geek out too hard! We also had tremendous service from our beer server Natalia, who not only had knowledge of all the beers being served, but knew about the cheeses we paired with our beers as well (names, origins, and types of cheeses) - as most know, you often get a blank stare when asking your server what cheese are in front of you when they are brought to the table.
Mikkel was in town for a dinner/beer pairing in the Tivoli Sour Room (reserved for special events - located downstairs) so to honor his visit, the bar had 42 taps of all Mikkeller beer on tap. It was beyond amazing. Beers I never thought I would try on tap were literally at my fingertips. 7 Spontan varieties, 5 Beer Geek varieties, Black Tokyo Horizon, just to name a few. I was blown away!
Overall we had extremely high hopes and left the bar far from disappointed. In fact we had a better experience than we could have imagined. Special thanks to Cellar Master Ford, and one of the finest beer servers in the business (and i've been in this industry for nearly 20 years) Natalia. The two of you along with the rest of the staff are top notch and have a true passion for good beer and proper hospitality. We can't wait to visit again.
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