Thematic cocktail menus worth traveling for

Please send airfare. I’m firing up Kayak.com right now to balance the cost of a San Fransisco/D.C./Twin Cities jaunt against my burning need to experience these menus.

San Francisco: Drink your art with Trick Dog’s mural project

Trick Dog‘s blisteringly creative menus are among the very best the industry has to offer (a curious juxtaposition with its aesthetically cold echo chamber of a space, surely one of the least comfortable the industry has to offer).

Their current menu debuted January 8. Drinks are based on Bay Area local artists, each of whom created a mural in San Francisco for the project. The hard-copy menu at Trick Dog seems to be a printed book of photos, the sale of which benefits non-profits, so you can have your art and drink it, too.

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Sirron Norris mural photo by Sonya Yu via SFGate

The above mural by Sirron Norris (a friend of a friend of Coupe Tales, though we’ve never met) accompanies his namesake cocktail: Calle 23 blanco tequila, Cardamaro, fig, chamomile, cinnamon, and lime.

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Come drink with us forever and ever and ever

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Left: Hedge Maze. Right: Overlook.

At any given moment The Shining is in my top three favorite movies (and jostling for first place). VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, 35mm (both whole and also slashed to hell from decades of projectionists slicing frames out of iconic scenes for their collection or enrichment), forwards and backwards, de/reconstructed in Room 237, aped in countless examples of pop culture: I have watched it whenever, wherever, and however possible.

When this great cinematic love meets my love of imbibing, I’m as happy as a guest at an Overlook Hotel party.

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“Great party, isn’t it?”

As San Francisco celebrates hosting the Kubrick Exhibition, I’ve tracked down a few places offering Shining-themed cocktails.

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Themed cocktails at the Rickshaw Stop

Creativity isn’t limited to the contents of a glass.The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco ennobles its relatively basic bar with thematic cocktail specials at its events.

For instance, Reeve Carney’s solo show boasted a Dorian Grey cocktail.

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Grey Goose vodka, orange juice, 7-Up, and cranberry juice is not my usual tipple but the Rickhouse had keenly intuited which of Carney’s roles brought me there that evening. It’s clever bar marketing that acknowledges the artist, gives in-the-know audience members a little wink, and highlights available drinks beyond your average venue choices.

Themed cocktails are everything.

We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn’t we?

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We here at Coupe Tales will acknowledge a certain cocktail snobbery, yes, but let it never be said that our eyes didn’t transform into little anime heart shapes when we got a glimpse of a good theme menu.

Like this heaven-sent glory at the Kurt Russell Deep Cuts art show at Public Works SF.

Look at that! Four Kurt Russell-themed drinks at a reasonable (for San Francisco) $10 each. Pictured is my Escape the Snake cocktail with Espolon Reposado tequila, ginger beer, and lime, which I thoroughly enjoyed while basking in the artistic interpretations of John Carpenter movies around me.

A good theme ennobles a drink, no matter what its ingredients may be.