With a legendary reputation as one of San Francisco’s original gastropubs, Magnolia Brewing Company has withstood the test of time. Owner Dave McLean opened his brewery/eatery more than 15 years ago when IPAs and Imperial Stouts were foreign to the casual beer drinker. My, how things have changed. Yet Magnolia keeps riding the wave, it just opened an expanded production facility and restaurant, Smokestack, in the rapidly-developing Dogpatch neighborhood of southeastern SF.
The newly minted Smokestack is hardly just more of the same. It offers whiskey and cocktail menus alongside 20 beers on tap, brewed on-site.
Oh, and there’s BBQ. A whole lotta, house-smoked, full-flavored meats and sides, all served cafeteria style. Diners line up at a counter opposite the copper-adorned bar and choose from a half dozen mains—including beef short ribs, Texas-style brisket, beer sausage, and savory pastrami—served by the half pound. The decision involves careful deliberation as the succulent hunks of flesh and fragrant, pickled veggies beckon from behind the large display case. Meats are priced per half pound, ranging from $10.50-$17, depending on the cut.
The beer-savvy staff is willing and able to provide pairing suggestions; for the spicier dishes, veer towards the bitter, like the brewery’s classic Proving Ground IPA or Possum Pale Ale. Both work wonders against a spice-rubbed slab of spare ribs. When delving into sweeter, darker flavors, the Smokestack Lightning stout offers enough roasted depth to dance with the brown sugar ham.
Their list of eight advanced cocktails, priced at $12 a pop, contains a satisfying cross-section of flavors. Most unique is the Dutchman’s Flat—with toasted nori, beef bouillon, and a 100 proof Rittenhouse rye—and their Mission in the Rain—a curious composite of mescal, apricot liqueur, and bay leaf cordial.
2505 3rd Street, San Francisco
Bar until 2AM Thursday – Sunday