First Look: Cocktails at Hi Lo BBQ, San Francisco

[Photographs: Wes Rowe]

Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations. Curious about the food at Hi Lo Barbecue? Check out our post here.

At Hi Lo BBQ, don't count on drinking crappy beer to wash down your brisket. The Mission's newly opened barbecue spot, which features a menu of both Southern-style and globally influenced barbecue and a farmer's market-rich roster of starters and sides, has a drinks program to match its culinary pedigree.

Along with a sessionable beer list, the menu features eight cocktails created by Michael Lazar, co-author of Left Coast Libations, and Scott Beattie, who's known for his work behind the bar at Cyrus in Healdsburg, as well as Goose and Gander, Spoonbar, and others. The two also run the bar across the street at sister restaurant Hog & Rocks, but they came to Hi Lo with the meat-focused food in mind.


Michael Lazar

"We had two goals creating this menu," Lazar tells us while putting the finishing touches on a gin collins. "We wanted drinks that didn't necessarily compete with the flavors of the food—no intensely smoky drinks, for example. And, we wanted them to be generous, and big."

Meaning you'll get your Bajan rum punch in the pint-sized mixing glass the drink was shaken in. Lazar aimed for the generously sized drinks to be refreshing, like what you'd drink at a backyard barbecue, but still nuanced, balancing the playful nature of the restaurant with the refined style of the food.

Drawing off of the fusion-hints of Chef Ryan Ostler's food, Lazar notes that a number of the Hi Lo cocktails have Caribbean influences, with some Mexican touches as well. The majority of the drinks are specifically meant to cut through the fat of the menu. "It entices you to drink several," Lazar says.

Check out the cocktails in the slideshow above »


3416 19th Street, San Francisco CA 94110 (map) 415-874-9211;