It sure is a good time to be an oenophile in San Francisco. Wine bars are popping up all over town like daffodils in spring. Case in point: District, the new wine bar on Townsend at 3rd.
As you may recall, my first experience with District was less than ideal. It was a Friday night during the post-work crush and the squealing hordes were out in force. I couldn’t even get IN the bar, let alone drink anything—it was that busy.
But I tried again this Sunday during the light of day. I had friends visiting from out of town; two smart, fabulous women who know their way around a wine menu. It seemed like the right time to give the place another shot and it turned out to be a smart decision. District is a great spot for whiling away an afternoon.
The interior was every bit as lofty and spacious as I’d read: It felt downright cavernous when empty. Their by-the-glass selection is dizzying, and their flights (all nine of them) are clever. District is thinking beyond the usual “Reds of Sonoma” or “Tour of Germany” concepts. You can taste Oak vs. Stainless, in a no-holds-barred aging-style cage match. Or Primitivos to Zins. (Like so many of us, the grape moved to Cali and changed its identity.) I opted for Big Funky Reds. (Cue the P-funk, please.) There wasn’t a loser in the line-up, but funky they were. Like, serious junk in the trunk funk. The Oliver Pithon Rhone Blend was hell on the nose—sulfur pumped out of a baby’s ass, I swear—but heaven on the tongue. Big and gracious and chocolatey. And my bass-booming flight was the perfect companion to the artisinal cheese plate.
Speaking of cheese, the joint ain’t vegan-friendly: The non-meat options are all pretty heavy on the fromage. There’s Arancini di riso with fontina and sage—a kind of rice and cheese croquette—plus a goat cheese and pesto pizzetta, and a mixed green salad with blue cheese crumbles. (There are also nuts and olives on the menu, but nuts and olives don’t make a meal. At least not a very satisfying one.)
The takeaway is this: big thumbs up on the wine selection. I can’t wait to go back and explore more. Just be careful when you go. Maybe in few months, when the honeymoon is over, Friday nights will be more manageable. Until then, try it in the afternoon. (Feel free to fill in your own “afternoon delight” joke here. I’d write one for ya, but that’s just too easy.)