Two weeks ago, I visited Trick Dog, a bar in the Mission District in San Francisco. Although it wasn’t my neck of the woods, my friend informed me of their new menu and theme and I was automatically stoked.
The special thing about Trick Dog is that they change their menu every 6 months. “We like our menus to look like just about anything other than a cocktail menu,” Trick Dog founders Josh Harris and Morgan Schick told us over their newest menu. They’ve gone from books of paint swatches to dog calendars to Chinese restaurant menus to a cookbook. So to ring in their 13th menu, I couldn’t imagine anything more fitting than to have a flash tattoo theme. Considering my friend and I are tattoo enthusiasts/collectors/walking human canvases, we quickly went over to see what was all the hullaballoo. And hullaballoo, it was! The place was packed, but nothing we were caught off-guard by. A night of consistently great drinks, great food, and great conversations? Why wouldn’t it be packed?
We were both given their newly designed menu and I felt like I was catapulted back to when I was just an 18 years old, looking at framed collections of flashes on the wall and being overwhelmed by the plethora of American traditional tattoos. The menu consists of 13 cocktails that came with their own respective piece of traditional tattoo art, which were made in collaboration with the talented artists of Idle Hand, a tattoo shop located in the Lower Haight that’s been around since 2004. I looked at the designs and couldn’t help but imagine how each piece would look if I were to ever get it tattooed on me. Do I get the topless lady enjoying her cigarette on top of a martini glass? Do I get the ferocious panther? Or maybe the grimacing reaper casually taking a puff from his pipe? I had to bring myself back to reality when I remembered that I was here for drinks, not a tattoo appointment.
Now, I’m no cocktail connoisseur but we’ve all had our fair share of drinks that tasted like the kiss of death. Thankfully there was none of that at Trick Dog. Carefully concocted, I watched the bartender make our drinks with finesse, and it tasted like they got their flavors down to a science. To no one’s surprise, I helped myself to another drink soon after.
Perhaps the most resonating part of my experience is seeing how something as counter-culture as tattoos is being so widely accepted now, and seeing the beauty of that culture seeping into different forms of creativity. The theme for the menu alone is a good demonstration of that, and I appreciate Trick Dog for wanting to think outside the box every time. But what I believe to be so great about Trick Dog and their collaboration with Idle Hand is that they are also working towards a good cause.
I wanted to close this out (Get it? Kind of like closing out a tab at the bar? No? Okay) by answering a question that may be on your mind: Yes! The menus are definitely for sale, and here’s the kicker: All the proceeds go to Rock Project SF, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of music and more to the youth of San Francisco. You can either purchase a service copy, or you can purchase a special signed and numbered copy, screen-printed by famed rock poster artist, Lil Tuffy.
// To learn more about Trick Dog, Idle Hand, or Rock Project SF, visit the links below; trickdogbar.com, @trickdogbar, 3010 20th St, idlehandsf.com, @idlehandsf, 575 Haight St, rockprojectsf.org/welcome, @rockprojectsf, 450 Harrison St. Also, drink responsibly. Photography by Anthony Rogers.