When America's Cup takes to the white-capped waves this summer, the Bay will be aflutter with sails (actually, not "aflutter" so much as "tautly stretched atop a heeling racing machine"). No matter, once the races start July 4, there's little doubt the San Francisco waterfront will be quite the scene.
If you're wondering where to watch the competition, which runs through Sept. 21, San Francisco's America's Cup Village at the Marina Green and America's Cup Park at Piers 27/29 are the obvious choices.
But if you were hoping to enjoy the action with a cocktail in one hand -- and perhaps a lovely nosh in the other -- here are a few more possibilities.
The America's Cup Sports Bar pop-up
The planet's biggest pop-up bar will be popping up for the summer on Pier 27, with Eric Rubin, of Hog & Rocks and Tres Agaves fame, and Karl Hasz (Cyrus, Farina and Tres Agaves) at the helm. If all goes according to plan, the 12,000-square-foot sports bar will open on the Fourth of July -- serving cocktails designed by mixology maven Scott Beattie -- and remain open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through the summer, with brunch service on the weekends. Details: www.americascup.com/sportsbar.
Waiheke Island Yacht Club pop-up
New Zealand restaurateur Tony Stewart is launching a pop-up, the Waiheke Island Yacht Club, on Pier 29, right near the America's Cup Village concert stage. According to Tablehopper blogger Marcia Gagliardi, who got the scoop directly from Stewart when she was in New Zealand in April, the pop-up will start serving prix fixe lunches and dinners on July 4, add brunch service in August and remain open until New Year's Eve, long after the last sails are furled. Find more details at www.tablehopper.com/chatterbox in Gagliardi's June 11 post, and catch a peek at www.facebook.com/WaihekeIslandYachtClub.
New Zealand's farms and wineries are collaborating with Waterbar executive chef Parke Ulrich and beverage director Steven Izzo on an America's Cup-inspired menu that showcases New Zealand's seafood, venison, lamb, grass-fed beef and libations. The menu, which launches July 4, includes Cloudy Bay clams -- Diamond Shell, Storm Clam, Tua Tua and the Moon Shell -- as well as Scorpion Fish, Blue Cod, Frost Fish and Red Gurnard, which will be flown in fresh each day in a trip that takes 36 hours from New Zealand boats to San Francisco's waterfront on the Embarcadero. Details at www.waterbarsf.com.
With a prime waterside view of the action, San Francisco's The Piers restaurants on Piers 1 ½, 3 and 5 are doing special America's Cup menus beginning in July. Watch the boats, then duck into Charles Phan's atmospheric whiskey lounge, Hard Water (www.hardwaterbar.com), on Pier 3 for an America's Cup cocktail ($10), made with whiskey, American vermouths and amari.
At Coqueta (www.coquetasf.com), Michael Chiarello's new Spanish tapas restaurant on Pier 5, it's all about the squid-ink tinged Podium Paella ($40, serves four) and the shamelessly titled Oracle cocktail ($13), made with 209 gin, house-made anise tonic, elderflower, lemon, hibiscus sea "air" and San Francisco fog.
The Plant Cafe Organic (www.theplantcafe.com) on Pier 3 will be offering Catamaran Crab Cakes ($12) with avocado salsa, Oysters Overboard ($17 for half a dozen), and several cocktails ($11), including a Fog Horn (a gin-based riff on a Dark and Stormy), a Champagne-based Tomorrow We Sail and a Red Horizon Martini that combines vodka, vermouth, orange bitters and muddled berry. (And for those of you who want a Fog Horn at home, the chefs and mixologists at the Plant Cafe Organic have been kind enough to share some recipes.)
On Pier 1 ½, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (www.lamarcebicheria.com/san-francisco) will be offering a Peruvian Regatta feast ($19.95), with seafood and vegetarian prix fixe menu options.
Presidio Social Club
The Presidio Social Club is rolling out a menu of suitable nautical libations ($12) and bar bites in honor of the America's Cup. Think PSC Grog (Zaya rum, lime, bitters and beer over ice), a Sail Reefer (Mount Gay rum and Red Stripe beer) and a Zaya Dark and Stormy, although we're hoping the weather will remain sunny and fine. Built in a 1903 military barracks in San Francisco's Presidio National Park, the Social Club may not boast great Cup views, but it's close enough to the water to have become a popular post-sailing hangout. Details: www.presidiosocialclub.com.
Luella in a Bag
A number of other San Francisco restaurants are getting in on America's Cup fever by offering specialty cocktails, even if they're nowhere near the sea-spray action. For example, if you're looking for picnic fare to take to the races, Luella is doing America's Cup grab-and-go picnics. Pick up a reserved-in-advance, Luella-in-a-bag -- fried chicken, asparagus, spicy slaw, watermelon-feta salad and strawberry shortcake; $48 for two people -- curbside in Russian Hill, then head for the water. Details: www.luellasf.com.
After 88 years on Fisherman's Wharf, of course Alioto's is celebrating this summer with an America's Cup prix fixe dinner ($88 for two) that includes clam chowder, cioppino and tiramisu. And if you happen to be crewing aboard one of the race boats, Alioto's is doing crew discounts.