Bar Agricole sets San Francisco’s next level of bar sophistication

Thad Volgler on what he wants for Bar Agricole:

Bar Agricole San Francisco


“My biggest hope is that Bar Agricole becomes like a European café where you might come for coffee in the morning and a drink before dinner. Right now our hours are 6 pm to 1 am. But the goal is to open all day.”

Asked what kind of bar does he love the most?
“I really love the bars in Havana. I just love them. They’re just timeless and stunning. Not like what we’ll do here but they just have such a strong sense of place. I’d like to create something that has such a strong place. That’s our strength [here in SF]. We don’t have the labor pool or technique of New York, but we have a sense of place and quality of ingredient.”

A selection of rums at Bar Agricole for tasting

The cocktails at Bar Agricole are all priced at 8$. It has been less than two years since the NY Times expounded upon the newly advanced cocktail scene in America with 2 articles that praised San Francisco’s bar culture. My first great cocktail at that price was at Range, during dinner, a few years ago with my partner. We had flown up to San Francisco for the weekend. We had spent much of our travel time in New York. San Francisco enthralled us with is exceptional way of being and doing things well in the world of food and drink. After nearly being hypnotized by the astounding gorgeousness of the San Francisco Ferry Terminal Market, and again by the unique post-modern coffee dream that is Blue Bottle Cafe for coffee in the Mint district downtown, and an amazing meal at Range, we decided that we should be spending a bit more time in Northern California.

Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles


When Erik Adkins, long-time bar manager at the Slanted Door, was recently asked where he likes to drink in San Francisco, he made the most fuss about an unopened bar: “I’m looking forward to Bar AgricoleThat’s probably going to be the best bar that the city’s ever seen…They’re just obsessed. The energy that’s going into that place, and the level of commitment from the guys involved surpasses anything that’s been done.” Understandable hype considering the obsessive Bar Agricole team will create customized spirits with local distillers — like a farmhouse Curaçao and several biodynamic brandies — the bar’s atmosphere will center on a 500-square-foot biodynamic garden, which Liquor reports will be full of citrus trees and herbs for use in the cocktails, and they’ve arranged a sort of large-scale CSA with two biodynamic farms in Ukiah and Fresno to support the food and beverage programs. So they can raise and source all their own chickens, eggs, lamb and even some spirits. Oh and it might be the only bar we’ve ever known to have its own personal forager on call.”

“The wine director (and “forager”) is Mark Ellenbogen, who is no longer putting together his well-known wine list at Slanted Door (Paul Einbund has taken his place, and will be overseeing all the Slanted Door, Heaven’s Dog, and Out the Door wine programs). Ellenbogen’s wine list will feature natural wines from 15-20 estates, from California, France, Spain, Italy, and Austria. Guests will be able to taste from four to seven wines from each estate. He will also be tending the herbs and flowers in the tavern’s front garden. German-born Andreas Willausch (Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, China Moon Cafe, Masa’s, Farallon) will be managing the front of the house.”

“Introducing Bar Agricole, a massive gathering place dedicated to the majestic trio of rum, tequila and late-night fare, opening a week from today.

The Hercules of city bistros—dishing out haute pub fare, mixing an El Presidente left and right, pouring wines other wine bars wished they had—Agricole is the kind of hangout where you can go on any given night for stuffed quail and California pure cane rum and find yourself surprised by the sudden appearance of last call.

The name etched on the corrugated metal exterior and raised plant beds mark the entrance. And while the name translates to “farm bar,” it feels like the kind of sleek, urban warehouse you’d find in New York’s Meatpacking District, with walls made of whiskey barrel staves, concrete booths (which are far more comfortable than they sound) and skylights connected to luminous glass tubes that coax the light in.”

A Cuba Libres, served with a metal spoon

The Bar Agricole opening cocktail list (all $8 each)

Traditional Sour: Armagnac Blanc, lemon, egg white
Brandy Cocktail: curaçao, Italian vermouth, absinthe, and bitters
Daiquiri: white rum, lime, grapefruit, maraska, aromatic bitters
Jersey Sour: California brandy, lemon, apple, maple, aromatic bitters
Whiskey Cocktail: dry vermouth, grenadine, absinthe, orange bitters
Tequila Daisy: lemon, vermouth blanc, apricot preserve, chartreuse bitters
Petit Zinc: farmhouse vodka, oj, red vermouth, farmhouse curaçao
Whiskey Sour: lime, port, and orange bitters
Presidente: California agricole, farmhouse curaçao, grenadine, orange bitters
White Rum Swizzle: 2 vermouths, lemon, farmhouse curaçao, raspberry
Ti Punch: hibiscus bitters
Gin Cocktail: riesling and stone fruit bitters
Star Daisy: Calvados, gin, grenadine, and lemon
Capitan Cocktail: Armagnac Blanc, aromatic bitters, and chinato
Dry Pisco Punch: pineapple gum and hibiscus bitters

Bar Agricole's Waterfall

Bar Agricole's patio

“The most stringent rules regarding rhum agricole are in Martinique, which as a French territory maintains an Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) designation similar to those applying to Champagne and Cognac.”

Bar Agricole, San Francisco

What a pity!

Desire overcomes us all

Bar Agricole's Fritto Miso

Bar Agricole's Fritto Miso

“Somebody last night said the whole place feels like it’s curated,” publicist Eleanor Bertino (a longtime friend of Alice) told me this morning. Kids, if you weren’t around 20 years ago to catch the heady whiff of California Cuisine in its late prime, Bar Agricole just might be the exquisitely curated revival you didn’t even know you were waiting for. We’ll see.”


Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles. He has recently been named a 2010 United States Artists Project artist.

The USA site went live on December 7, 2010

My initial project is to fabricate a 3 foot tall doll house sized sculpture of the collapsed William Livingstone House in Detroit. The project description and a video presentation of the project are at the links provided here:
Please feel free to review the site and to contact others who would be interesting in supporting the program and my project.
thanks so much
Vincent Johnson
Los Angeles, California
cell: 818:430.1604


Dreams of Technology: Water to Land, 2010, by Vincent Johnson by Vincent Johnson. 30×40 inch photomontage/Lightjet print (2010). This work will be shown at the Kellogg museum at Cal Poly Pomona starting in November, 2010


Dreams of Technology, 2010, by Vincent Johnson by Vincent Johnson. 30×40 inch photomontage/Lightjet print (2010). This work will be shown at the Kellogg museum at Cal Poly Pomona starting in November, 2010

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