Original Gin

By The Editors
October 15, 2013 9:00 am

The dive bar has what you might call a “dive bar” problem — in that they tend to sink down to the term.

Whither, then, the low-key sanctum for unpretentious imbibing that leans heavy on the bar and leaves the diving in the glass?

Lift thine eyes to Holy Water, now open in Bernal Heights.

First off, care was taken to make the place welcoming, even artful, with its wheat-paste baptismal mural and handmade, warm-light chandeliers, but none of those charms undermine the soul of a comfortable neighborhood watering hole.

The game-friendly flatscreens in the corners help to straddle that line.

Behind the bar (and on the letterhead): dues-paying bar vet John Ottman, who’s poured with the likes of Elixir, Rickhouse and Churchill, to name a few.

He’s assembled a solid roster of no-nonsense house cocktails like the Moscow Mule, Gimlet and Boulevardier, but he’s got the backbar and know-how to mix up even the geekiest of sips.

As for the beer, Ottman’s menu spans the gulf between Hamm’s and Chimay effortlessly, offering style notes like “dry, Flemish sour” or “abundant hops” regardless of pricetag.

Plus they’ve got Green Flash (a nearly perfect IPA) on tap.

So belly up and dive in.


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