Jasper’s Corner Tap

After several recommendations for this trendy gastro-pub in the Tenderloin district, I decided to try out Jasper’s Corner Tap. I have to confess, I had my doubts; it’s in a pretty touristy area and looks like just another hotel effort, but it’s received several accolades so far, including Best Cocktail menu by the Chronicle.

The inside is dimly lit and minimal in decorations– wooden booths with plain leather accents, pretty standard. Their cocktail menu, however, does not shy away from excess. Acclaimed mixologist, Kevin Diedrich (formerly of PDT in New York) wows visitors with his creativity and vision where booze is concerned. This sophisticated menu features cocktails that I could never dream of — like the Bay Bridge Buck: Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Vodka, strawberries, orgeat, lime, ginger beer.

The Bay Bridge connects San Francisco and Alameda, where the Hangar One Distillery is located. This vodka is named after the Buddha’s hand lemon, which looks like a contorted hand. The zest of this special lemon is used to make this very floral flavored vodka. Bartender Kevin Diedrich uses strawberries straight from local farmers to mix a sweet and spicy ginger cocktail.

Bay Bridge Buck cocktail

The Weissen Sour features Buffalo Trace Bourbon, lemon, orange marmalade, house orange bitters, topped with white beer. Doesn’t get more manlier than bourbon and beer. Speaking of which, another portion of the drink menu is dedicated to Boilermakers, or drinks of  just plain beer mixed with liquor. Try a Buffalo Trace Bourbon with a Lauganitas IPA- mmm. The restaurant also features 18 beers on-tap and another 40 in bottles, and a decent wine menu.

Food-wise, Jasper’s does not disappoint either, though cocktails are the real star of the show. As a gastro pub, Jasper’s definitely follows the gourmet bar food trend of the moment, and even has a creative spin on fries. Their fries menu allows you to pick your potato, seasoning and poutine:

Fries Menu at Jasper's

For snacks and first bites ($4-$8), try the warm soft pretzel with smoked gouda and cheddar fondue, or  the sausage bites, or bleu cheese and pear toast- all were delicious!

Jasper's Sausage Bites and Pear and Blue Cheese Toast

For main meals, we tried the “J Burger” and pressed 1/2 chicken. The J Burger is one hell of a burger: griddled lucky dog ranch beef, english blue cheese, bacon onion marmalade, frisee salad, baguette bun, fries. Grab a beer and you’re good to go. The pressed 1/2 chicken is made by removing all the bones and pressing the chicken down while cooking to get a really crispy skin, but locking in the moisture to give it that juicy texture. It’s served with broccolini and this mushroom ragout and Anson Mills polenta that are this fantastical combination. Not bad for bar food, that’s for sure.

For the most part, I agree with the several reviews of Jasper’s featured in the Chronicle– Jasper’s accomplishes what it sets out to do: Concoct some amazing cocktails and beverages with some pretty decent bar food, too.