Martinis are on my mind, considering the fact there are numerous fine establishments in San Francisco at which to get a decent one. A well-established martini bar was recommended to me a few days ago, so I decided to pay it a visit and check out the scene.
Martuni’s is the name. I entered a dark and windowless front bar room, with limited seating. Fortunately I found a single stool at the bar with my name on it. I glanced over the printed martini menu, eyeballed the selections on the shelf, and placed my order. The snappy female bartender was all business and not having my mild inquisition. I ordered a “martuni” and not a “vodka martuni,” as both were printed on the rather amateurish, tacky fold over. Still, Ms. Grouchy asked me if I wanted gin or vodka. With some apparent exasperation at my pointing out her redundancy, she gave me my “martuni” with the unspoken message to shut up and drink it. This was obviously going well so far.
The recorded music that was playing in the background did not fit the ambiance of what I consider a martini bar to be. There definitely needed to be less rock-n-roll and more lounge. There also needed to be less bickering between the bartender and the server over the ingredients of one of the menu drinks. I listened to them go at it nonetheless, exchanging eyebrows with another patron over the not-so-subtle scene. Then I picked up the aforementioned Ramada-Inn-like print out and examined the listed contents of the drink in question. The server stood correct. The bartender was most certainly having a bad day.
My negroni to follow my “martuni” was very pleasing, as was the pour level. Gal Smiley was redeeming herself! I could see that the pour level of Martuni’s martinis appears to be acceptable across the board, just about reaching the rim in every drink I saw made. This is key, as nothing irks me more than a low pour in a large martini glass. Places guilty of this crime are not deserving of a repeat visit. Martuni’s, all things considered, will see me again. And I think Martuni’s should see you too! We just need to go a little later in the evening next time, to check out the back bar and the live entertainment that was warming up as I made my early exit. Perhaps my new 82-year-old acquaintance will be there again next time as well.