The Way I Measure a Bar

There are two types of bars I care to frequent. Both need to have friendly bartenders and a good vibe.

The first type is the beer bar, it should have good draft beer and at least a decent selection of bottles. A good example of this type of bar in San Diego is Hamilton’s Tavern.

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If a bar isn’t a beer bar, with an excellent selection, then I don’t really care about the beer at all, but they better have some decent whiskey. Most bars will have at least one or two good bourbons, so the way I measure these bars is very simple. Do they have ginger ale? I don’t always like to drink whiskey on the rocks, and no other mixer compares to real ginger ale (don’t try to give me seven-up and coke please).

Last night I finally made it to Starlite. I’d been wanting to check it out since they opened last year and I saw this picture on the cover of the Citybeat. (In fact, it was this fella that inspired me to start growing a moustache last year, which made it all the more funny when someone jokingly asked me last night if that was me in that picture).

So I knew Starlite was a good bar when I saw they had ginger beer (I’m really not sure what the difference is between ginger beer and ginger ale). They had a specialty drink, the Kentucky Colonel, which was bourbon, ginger beer, lemon and bitters. It was good, but the bourbon and ginger beer alone was good enough.

If I’m not drinking whiskey on the rocks I prefer the Whiskey Pres (short for Presbyterian apparently…). Whiskey with half ginger ale half club soda. In Santa Cruz where I was first introduced to the Whiskey Pres ($3 at the Rush Inn) they made them with Seven-Up, I never realized how wrong this was until I had one properly made.

I really wish more bars would have ginger ale for mixing drinks.

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