Trick Dog | San Francisco - Find. Eat. Drink.

Trick Dog Bar, San Francisco, CA, California, Josh Harris, Scott Baird, Bartenders, Mission District, Where to drink in San Francisco, New, Best Bars San Francisco, Oakland, East Bay, Berkley, Cocktails, Pantone Bar Menu, Colors, Benjamin Moore, Stemco, Paint colors, Color Swatches, Bar Food, Eating, Where Bartenders Drink, Shopping, Drinking, Where Chefs Eat, Chefs Feed, Bartenders Feed, Drinking in San Francisco


Mission District - San Francisco, CA


General Information

Trick Dog



3010 20th Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

T: 1.415.471.2999









Photographs courtesy of Trick Dog [credit: Allison Webbe Photography]


Cocktail Recipes27_trick_dog_recipes.html27_trick_dog_recipes.htmlshapeimage_19_link_0

Barmen Josh Harris and Scott Baird

Photographs courtesy of Trick Dog [credit: Allison Webbe Photography]

JH: Josh Harris

SB: Scott Baird

About Trick Dog

SB: Trick Dog is just a really good neighborhood bar. Hopefully, the days of the snobby bartender are past us or in total decline and we don’t have to deal with it much longer. There’s a phrase that we’ve been saying for years and it’s probably going to be our first t-shirt, ‘Trick Dog is delicious, not precious.’

I was really hoping that Trick Dog wouldn’t be an aggressive cocktail bar. I want people to enjoy all the menus, not just cocktails. I love sherry and we have a great sherry list. Our wine list is really spectacular too. We’ve got all kinds of good stuff going on here.

The Trick Dog Bank

Photograph courtesy of Trick Dog

JH: We took a lot of inspiration from the Trick Dog bank. It’s a cast iron mechanical bank with a clown in the middle, a dog on one side and a barrel on the other. You put a quarter in the dog’s mouth and hit the button and it jumps up and puts the quarter through the hoop in the barrel.

The Pantone COLOR WHEEL Menu

JH: One of the things that we were sort of hell bent on was the use of more color than people were used to seeing in bars. We felt like color was the thing that could make us stand apart from your grandpa’s den and bring a lot of whimsy.

There is sort of theatric and whimsy to the Trick Dog bank and we took a lot of inspiration from it. It’s bright and fun and theatrical which pushed us down the color path and all of a sudden there were a ton of Pantone swatches around. Scott says, ‘perfect, let’s do this for the cocktail menu.’ We wanted to put as much thought into the menu presentation as in the cocktails.

Not all of the colors in the cocktail menu are official Pantone colors, some of them are paint colors. We went through a lot of color books (Pantone, Benjamin Moore, Stemco) looking for color names that would be cool names for cocktails.

The Cocktails

Grandma’s Sweater

JH: The color Grandma’s Sweater is a light blue, but there’s nothing blue about this drink. It’s a fun name, the color is light and so is the drink.

It’s made with gin, blood orange, Amaro, bitter lemon tonic, and mint. It’s really fun and very accessible. It was created for the type of person who may be used to drinking vodka or just started drinking cocktails. They’ve realized they don’t dislike gin because someone made them a good cocktail with it and they’re okay with a little extra level experimentation. It’s one of the easier access points on the menu and it plays to that type of person, but it also appeals to me because it’s a delicious drink.

The Polar Bear

SB: I really like the Polar Bear name just because that drink comes out looking like a polar bear.

JH: It’s white with a little gray in it. It’s made with Pierde Almas Mezcal, Crème de Menthe, Dolin Blanc and an Angelica root tincture. Rather than stirring it, which is what you would normally do with a cocktail that’s all spirit, we shake it hard. When the drink is presented it’s opaque white. That’s what happens when you shake a clear spirit, all the air bubbles go into it and then after a second those air bubbles settle and the cocktail turns clear again. Plus, all of our glassware comes out of a freezer. It’s just a super mezcal, peppermint patty, earthy, delicious aperitif-y Angelica root drink.

The Trick Dog Bar

Photographs courtesy of Trick Dog [credit: Allison Webbe Photography]

The Food

JH: Chester Watson’s food is multi-cultural elevated bar food. I shy away from saying small plates and tapas, but we wanted to create food that facilitates making people’s experience in a bar interactive with each other rather than pushing them away from each other. The food is designed with the idea of sharing. We have cracklings, radishes, Pimento cheese and fries. We are not really a restaurant in that typical format, we just want you to be eating and drinking all the time because it’s fun.

There are a couple more substantial items on the menu such as the burger, called a Trick Dog, and the rice plate which is a Vietnamese-style crispy sticky rice with lemongrass marinated pork and pickled eggs. It’s delicious. They are ideal for the person who gets off work and walks in at one in the morning and wants a cocktail, a whisky and a burger with fries. Then again, with a group of six people you could have everything on the menu no problem.

Scott’s Cocktail Tips

The Negroni

SB: Truth be told, it’s an incredibly hard drink to make well. You can know the recipe and still screw it up royally. There is the combination of vermouth, which vermouth to use, which gin, and how much you dilute it. Then how you stir it, how you take care of it, and all of the things that go into it.

Dushan from Employees Only put it to words, which was great. He noted that when you make these drinks you have to actually love them and care about them. When you do that they taste better than if you just bang them out. The Negroni is a drink where you have to love it and really appreciate the harmony of the bitter and the vermouth and the gin.

The gin I use depends on my mood, whether I want the big gin or little gin. I’m a big fan of both Tanqueray and Plymouth.

The Margarita

The first important thing with a Margarita is you need to shake the hell out of it. You have to shake it really hard, but briefly. You don’t get too much water in it, but you do you want that frothy mixed-up aeration.

A margarita is a punch of tequila, Combier and fresh lime juice. I like salt, but a lot of people say no salt, so I only put Kosher salt on half of the rim. For the tequila, I like Tequila Ocho. I worked for them, so let’s put all the cards on the table, but I also think that tequila is absolutely beautiful. Generally, I like highland tequilas more than the tequilas from the valley.

Ocho is bright and really agave-forward with lots of beautiful herb, vegetation and citrus. It’s alive in the glass. If I wanted to do a completely opposite style tequila flavor profile from Ocho, I would reach for Fortaleza. Fortaleza is one of the valley tequilas. They have beautiful undertones of earthen, warm clay and rich butter scotch rich.

The recipe I use is 2 oz of tequila, 1 oz of Combier, 3/4 oz. of lime juice. The trick is the acidulation. A hint of sweetness is one of the things that makes it a balanced drink. It starts a little sweet, crosses the palate with the acidity, maybe some bitterness from the citrus oils and you get a kind of umami that might be in the spirit and then it goes away. It leaves a dry quality and you want it again. If you don’t have that hint of sweet in the beginning you are missing the ride.

San Francisco Bay Area Recs

Cask Store

Photograph courtesy of Cask Store

Find | Liquor Stores

Cask Store

JH: I buy a lot of stuff here. It’s a really beautiful store. They have some books and some bar tools and things like that. They also have a really cool bottle engraving thing where if you buy a present, they can engrave somebody’s name on the bottle.

17 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

T: 1.415.281.6486 |

Japanese Barware at Umami Mart in Oakland

Photograph courtesy of Umami Mart | Photo Credit: Erin Gleeson

Find | Japanese Cocktail Tools & Housewares

Umami Mart

SB: It's a Japanese barware shop owned by two young ladies. I really love the experience. I love Japanese pottery and tea cups and coffee cups and the attention to detail on all things Japanese.

815 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

T: 1.510.575.9152 |

US made knives from Town Cutler

Photograph courtesy of Town Cutler

Find | Knives

Town Cutler

SB: Galen Garretson was a line cook and sous chef working in fine dining restaurants with a passion for knife craft. He finally opened a store. He sells really amazing one-of-a-kind Japanese-style knives made in the USA that are really pretty incredible. He has great knowledge and he sharpens knives better than anyone I’ve come across.

1005 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

T: 1.415.359.1519 |

Antiques at Alameda Point Antiques Faire

Photograph courtesy of Alameda Point Antiques Faire

Find | Antiques

Alameda Point Antiques Faire

JH: It’s just incredible and massive. I go at six in the morning and the people that are here at that hour are people that own antique stores who are sourcing for their stores or interior decorators. Lots of bartenders go here because there’s tons of barware, cameras, pretty much anything you want. Everything has to be over 20 years old, that’s the whole caveat with this market.

2900 Navy Way, Alameda, CA 94501

T: 1.510.522.7500 |

Cocktails at Comal

Photograph courtesy of Comal

Eat | Restaurants


JH: It’s a Pan-Mexican, large space, indoor-outdoor restaurant. The chef is Matt Gandin and he was the chef de cuisine at Delfina. It’s a killer convivial awesome place. The menu changes all the time, but his molé is awesome.

2020 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704

T: 1.510.926.6300 |

The KronnerBurger from chef Chris Kronner

Photograph courtesy of KronnerBurger


JH: Chris Kronner was the chef at Bar Tartine and he has now opened up a new place. It's basically a great burger place inside of a bar that already existed.

2379 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

T: 1.415.656.9871 |

Ramen at Ramen Shop

Photograph courtesy of Ramen Shop

Ramen Shop

SB: It was opened by a Chez Panisse ex-pat. It's fun with great design. They’ve got a full bar and a great selection of spirits. The menu is constantly changing and there’s just always something really, really fresh and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

5812 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

T: 1.510.788.6370 |

The classic neon sign at 500 Club

Photograph courtesy of 500 Club

Drink | Cocktails

500 Club

JH: It’s a cool bar. It’s got an awesome old school feel. It's also not dirty in the way that a rat could walk by. It’s got a good history and one of the best signs. Signs in San Francisco are hard because you can’t have neon and big clicking arrows unless for some reason you’ve always had it. There are just two or three that are left over and 500 Club is one of them.

500 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

T: 1.415.861.2500 |

The Hideout at Dalva

JH: Dalva is a bar that's been around for a really long time. It's a neighborhood, drinking beers in the afternoon, doing shots kind of place. In the back, there was an illegal smoking room for a really long time. They decided to open a cocktail bar in this little back room. But it's not like you need a password or there is a secret door. You can sit anywhere and they are delivering delicious cocktails without being precious.

SB: It’s kind of my speed in terms of its privacy. It's not too scene-y and it’s a great find. Music is going to be loud. It’s going to be dark and I really enjoy that sort of feeling.

3121 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

T: 1.415.252.7740

Speakeasy cocktails at Wilson & Wilson

Photograph courtesy of Wilson & Wilson

Wilson & Wilson

JH: It's within Bourbon and Branch and it's like a detective agency. It's from Future Bars Organization and they’ve done great things for drinking in San Francisco. Going to their bars are fun experiences. You just have to choose which one you want to go to and what kind of vibe you’re into that night.

505 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

T: 1.415.252.7740 |

Many More San Francisco Recs

Download the F.E.D. iPhone app and get more of Josh and Scott’s San Francisco Bay Area recommendations, as well as more recs from other bartenders, chefs, sommeliers and food artisans.