Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Co. CLOSED 2505 3rd St./22nd St., Dogpatch; (415) 864-7468. L-D daily; $$.
Hidden in a long row of converted warehouses, this combo brewpub/barbecue restaurant also operates a full bar and serves a list of whiskeys and Tequilas so extensive that bartenders need to move a ladder along the tall wall of shelves to find the bottle they need. You enter the rustic, high-ceilinged vintage warehouse that it operates in through tall doors, and land in a welcoming atmosphere of old Delta blues music. You seat yourself at a selection of communal long picnic-style wood tables with benches, at the bar on stools, or in one of the several booths. An area in the back in the garage brewery has tables improvised from wood planks across wine barrels and strings of lights, and this is where they store stacks of almond and oak wood.
I suggest reading the barbecue menu first, then getting in line at the deli-style counter in front of the unpretentious open kitchen to view the goods and order. Everything is prepared in-house and nicely smokey from open-fire cooking--no gas lines here--including tender, juicy brisket (my favorite), lean pastrami with housemade sauerkraut, huge and tender Waygu beef ribs, Thai chili-cheddar pork sausage, spicy jerk chicken wings, and lavender-rubbed duck. Meats are ordered by the half or full pound (at about $15/1/2 pound), but you can order 1/4 pound of each of several different types. Assorted salads and pickled veggies are among the sides; my favorites were the tasty potato salad (though a few of the potatoes were not cooked enough) and the pickled red onions. Spicy beef jerky strips are also available. Large plastic condiment bottles on the table hold spicy kimchee BBQ sauce, spicy vinegar, and mustard sauce; rolls of paper towels stand-in for napkins.
Once you’ve sorted out your meal, head over to the bar and select your drinks. (Or, of course, you can do this vice-versa, and I would recommend that if there is a long food line so you can imbibe while you wait.) I suggest ordering half-pints so that you can try several of the Magnolia brews. We started with a refreshing light Kalifornia Kolsch, served in a small flute glass to keep it cold. Then followed a biscuity, carmelly, malty Blue Bell Bitter, a grapefruity Jubilee Pale Ale made annually to commemorate the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair and honoring a Grateful Dead lyric “meet me at the Jubilee,” and a desserty coffee-chocolate Cole Porter. Oh yeah, and they are family-friendly, too!
The original Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery operates at 1398 Haight St./Masonic.
There’s a lot to do in Dogpatch–more restaurants, a museum, artist studios, wine tasting, two breweries, 2 chocolatiers, a butcher, a cheese shop, bouldering gym and a museum. Allow time to explore.
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers