Bernal Barfly Samples Cocktails at New Rock Bar

Tasty things are happening in the flatlands of Bernal’s La Lengua Autonomous Zone. Gradually, we are witnessing the birth of a dynamic Cocktail Cluster that caters to those who want to get a classy drink on. It began with the Royal Cuckoo, then came Iron and Gold, and now we’ve got Rock Bar, a new establishment on 29th at Tiffany that’s owned by the folks from the Front Porch restaurant across the street.

Special correspondent Bernal Barfly visited Rock Bar, and he shares this review:

Yet another Bernal Heights watering hole has gone through a phoenix-like ritual of a make-over and renaming.  Nestled at at the corner of 29th & Tiffany is the newly opened Rock Bar.  On the heels of Iron & Gold, The Lucky Horseshoe, and Royal Cuckoo, the options for non-dive bars is expanding for Bernal denizens.

Rock Bar’s interior features items which would seem at home in a waterhole in hills of the Sierras: Kerosene lamps, gold pans, pick axes, and hard hats set the context for the joint.  While at least a dozen patrons could be seated comfortably around the bar without bumping elbows, it could service 20+ during the high-demand, SRO times.  There is a generous selection of spirits behind the bar, including local products such as Old Potrero & St. Georges Gin.  Scattered through the joint are  tables for small groups to perch, as well as a pool table and a fireplace.  A jukebox is mounted to the rear wall, but a note explained that it was non-operational.

To set a qualifying standard, ordered a Bulleit Rye Manhattan for the first round.  The drink soon arrived and came served on a rock coaster instead of the usual cardboard or bar napkin.  A great extension of the bar’s branding/identity with that touch.  The first sip indicated correct proportions and construction for the Rye Manhattan, and the competency of the bar was established.

For the second round, we consulted the bartender for his suggestion on an appropriate follow-up.  Soon a Vieux Carre appeared (Rye, Cognac, Vermouth, Bitters, & Benedictine). Not a drink I would have initially selected, but a totally enjoyable companion to the Manhattan.  Rock Bar’s specialty menu includes Corpse Reviver #2, Sazerac, and cans of Schlitz.

A bit diminutive compared to the other watering holes along Mission St., the Rock Bar is a fine addition to the portfolio of Bernal Heights retox facilities.

PHOTOS: Bernal Barfly

16 thoughts on “Bernal Barfly Samples Cocktails at New Rock Bar

  1. That doesn’t look terrible, but if I’m gonna be drinking in that part of La Lengua it is pretty hard for me to imagine going anywhere besides the 3300.

  2. Another Manhattan type of bar in the hood. I drank there already and it was very boring. The bartender did not chit chat, the patrons were mainly on their phones and the bar has ROCK in it and I heard 80s crappy music. I’ll try it one more time though and see what happens. The only good thing about so far is that a pool table is in the back.

    • “The only good thing about so far is that a pool table is in the back.”

      And a couple of incarnations ago when the then bar owners wanted to install a pool table the “neighborhood” tried to prevent it, claiming that a pool table is a crime magnet.

    • Apparently Aquarius Records is programming their juke box, so I expect the music to greatly improve soon.

    • Yes AQUARIUS RECORDS is doing the JUKE! Not exactly rock & roll, but that fucking rocks! AND I think it is Rock like geology (mining) and not Rock as in douchebag throw your fist in the air and ROCK ROCK. Pool table a plus, and good drinks without attitude a plus! Chit Chat and Iphones rule!

  3. The Lucky Horseshoe is still a dive, but now a more welcoming one to the changing Bernal demographic. If they start getting music it should evolve some more. And FWIW, drinks are cheaper here than at the other bars mentioned.

  4. We went here for cocktails on Saturday. Overall, it’s a quality place – the drinks were quite good, the bartender certainly knew his Rye and his cocktail history, and it wasn’t insanely packed. The pressed-tin lining underneath the bar is amazing.

    They need to work on the decor a bit though. Better lighting is a must, and hanging some pictures on the wall wouldn’t hurt either. Updating the jukebox seems like it has to happen too, unless there was some level of irony in the selection that I wasn’t getting..

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  6. The “Royal Cuckoo” is one of my absolutely favorite bar names. I can just picture a guy coming out the bar, drunk on his ass about 1:45 am, wearing a big crown on his head. or maybe a tiara.

  7. This place is SO LOUD! We stopped by the other night and there were maybe ten people in the bar but it was impossible to carry on a conversation over the clamor. The acoustics are just terrible – hopefully they’ll figure out some sound insulation or something.

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