10. Tommy’s – San Francisco, USA

Cocktail – Tommy’s Margarita
Tequila, agave nectar, lime

Dates visited – Aug 2008 & Nov 2015

Part 1:

Another legend now, this time the cocktail, on many a menu since have I seen the “Tommy’s Margarita”, but at this point in time I don’t know whether I’m meant to be going to Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant or Tommy’s Diner. I guess the clue is in the name, and the cocktail! It’s quite a trip out of the city centre, in the Richmond area, so much so that when I get off the bus/tram I look and think, “This can’t be it”, yet only two seconds through the door that changes to, “This is definitely it”! The place is heaving with people waiting for their table, I can barely get to the bar and the barmen are carting out cardboard boxes of limes! They’re all drinking margaritas so it’s an easy order over all of the heads. A very simple drink, nothing fancy in the serve, and very strong!

Gradually the crowds disperse and I manage to get my favoured bar stool, the bartender, Julio, ushers me to his end of the bar so he can chat to me. Then starts plying me with different tequilas to try! He’s heard of the book, apparently the recipe is wrong (tut tut Allan), however the book does actually mention that it’s a variation. He also introduces me to the two barmen sat beside me at the bar, in town from LA and Dallas, cos which barman worth his tequila salt wouldn’t make a trip to Tommy’s when in San Francisco! Then an idea strikes me, one of these many barmen might be able to assist me with my top secret, reservations only New York Speakeasy quest! The bar is so secret that neither its phone number nor location is advertised, and sure enough Mr Dallas has the number stored in his cell. So I leave fully equipped, regretting that I couldn’t have stayed longer, and wishing I’d taken some photos!

Tommy’s it was certainly a pleasure, you are fully deserving of the fame, but I have a date waiting for me – Drew the caracaturist who painted my portrait at Fisherman’s Wharf two weeks prior!

Part 2:

Seven years later I return, with a much better appreciation of its fame, and with four locals in tow! I hoped I’d be fortunate enough to meet owner and bartender Julio Bermejo again (now I actually know who he is) and on a slightly quieter Monday night he walked through the door about 30 minutes after our arrival! Julio is definitely the most hospitable bartender you’ll meet in San Francisco, if not the US! He certainly knows his Tequila, 100% Agave shots were delivered to our table and he even pulled up a chair to help plan my upcoming visit to the town of Tequila in Jalisco.

Tommy’s celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015 so it was a good year for me to visit, we all left with a souvenir shot glass, and I also got an oven mitt! That’ll come in handy for Thanksgiving dinner! I made much more of my visit this time, staying for dinner and taking plenty of photos, so no regrets, apart from leaving my less knowledgeable friends to order the Margarita – with salt!!

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