With all the COVID rules, closings and reopenings, 2020 was hard enough for San Francisco bars like Pacific Cocktail Haven. Then came a devastating fire in early 2021 that heavily damaged the Lower Nob Hill craft cocktail destination.
Yet despite such enormous challenges, PCH owner and bartender Kevin Diedrich was determined to keep going. “We did a lot of popups around SF and even drove to Fresno, Sacramento, San Jose and Vegas,” he recalls. “That kept us plenty busy and kept the PCH brand front-facing. It wasn’t easy by any feat, but we have a lot of great people around us that kept us positive.” PCH reopened in March 2022 at a new location that serves almost double its previous volume — and includes a must-visit patio! — just steps from the original one on Sutter Street.
Diedrich and his small team are close-knit, and he describes their cocktail design process as a “huge collaborative effort.” The current menu includes several longtime PCH stalwarts that show the bar’s deft talent of giving timeless libations a compelling spin, often with fresh produce or lesser-known liqueurs, herbs and spices.
Take the classic Sidecar, reinvigorated as the Kinako Sidecar. In this rendition, the cognac-based drink is centered on anko-infused cognac (anko is a sweet red bean paste), then rounded out with a coconut liqueur, lemon juice and Licor 43 (an orange liqueur from Spain with 43 spices that yield a slight vanilla flavor). The customary sugar-coated rim gets the extra jolt of kinako (soy bean flour) dust added to it. It’s a fun, unique cocktail to enjoy for a toast to PCH’s triumphant return.