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Drink Here Now: The Linden Room

Potent cocktails in a plush bar.

Irish Eyes, on the seasonal menu at the Linden Room.


The Linden Room isn’t a stand-alone bar: It’s attached by a corridor (and ownership) to Nightbird, the smart tasting-menu restaurant that Kim Alter opened this August. But when you step inside its plush confines, its logistics become irrelevant. It feels less like a cocktail lounge than a shelter from the world at large. With its thick carpet, black patterned wallpaper, and leather-upholstered chairs, the seven-seat bar possesses the subdued elegance of a panther; you feel a few degrees classier just for setting foot in the door.

But where its atmosphere is restrained, the Linden Room’s cocktails are exuberant: They’re potent, skillfully engineered things designed to go down with hospitable ease. Their menu is divided into “Spiritous” and “Seasonal” portions; should you opt for the latter, you’d do well to go with the Irish Eyes (pictured above), a frothy combination of chartreuse, egg whites, gin, and lemon. Garnished with a sliver of cucumber, it’s playful and precise; underestimate its strength, and risk standing too quickly at your own peril. But Alter isn’t out to hobble you; she just wants you to feel welcome in her world. And in that she succeeds wildly. 330 Gough St. (at Linden St.), 415-829-7565

Originally published in the October issue of
San Francisco 

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