Along the first block of Mason Street, just off Market Street, there's an interesting assortment of dining establishments sitting on the dividing line between the upscale Union Square district and the neighboring slum of the Tenderloin. Among the majority of them which are clearly appealing to clientele of the former, is Mikkeller, one of an international chain of bars acting as outlets for an acclaimed microbrewery with an equally far-flung and loyal following.
The San Francisco location was the first in the U. S. and is popular with both locals and tourists. Visitors from Copenhagen will feel particularly at home, coming as they do from the chain's point of origin. The bar's Scandinavian origins are evident in its sleek, minimalist design with elegant, understated decor and a subdued color palette. The austerity of the wooden benches, while practical and attractive, may lack the comfort of the booths that are strictly reserved for larger parties. The space can feel a little cavernous, too, and customers sitting at the immediate front of the bar may find themselves seated on the periphery of service.
With forty-two different brews on tap, as well as an extensive bottle list, and state of the art equipment and methodology in pouring, the bar endeavors to please the true beer connoisseur. So too, the kitchen serves typical bar food but with a nod towards the gourmand, including a highly-praised charcuterie as well as select vegetarian options.
In its devotion to the young, beautiful and discriminating drinker, Mikkeller sponsors a monthly running club, which doubles as a drinking club.
Writer and bon vivant J. Eric Miller lives, loves, and laughs in San Francisco and its environs. Follow his further adventures at: theupsanddownsofsanfrancisco.tumblr.com.