13 East Bay Bartenders to Know, Thrillist

Jenny Schwartz
Hopscotch (address and info)
Uptown Oakland
It may look like a diner, but this spot has serious street cred when it comes to its food and cocktails, earning it a recommendation from Michelin this year. GM and bar manager Jenny Schwartz is one half of the operation behind this delightful American-Japanese fusion restaurant. Find her working the room or infusing cocktails with Japanese sensibilities and flavors in creative ways.
Signature cocktail: Islay Tart, featuring Armagnac, Caol Ila 12 year, Cynar, and Carpano Antica served up in a glass half-rimmed with smoked Okinawan sea salt and seasoned with yuzu
Where she drinks when she’s not working: “Pretty exclusively one of the following: wine at very casual dinner parties at friends’ houses; Prizefighter, where my go-to drink is a Cynar Boulevardier; Nido for the great food and mezcal margaritas; and the Aloha Club on Fruitvale Ave (where I drink Negra Modelo and shots of Herradura Blanco) for Warriors-watching at its best.”
What she loves about Oakland: “I grew up in Southern California, lived in DC for many years, have worked all over SF and the Bay Area, and I have never ever loved the guests I serve as much as those here in Oakland. Diners at Hopscotch are sophisticated, adventurous, laid back, diverse, and happy. I accept the struggles that come with being in our neighborhood and embrace the positive impact that we get to be part of. Crime is down, additional tax revenue is noticeably improving schools, and local non-profits have more funding and are making greater impact. It feels good and it’s mostly sunny!”

Get to know 12 other awesome Oakland ‘tenders over at Thrillist! 

 

 

 

14 San Francisco Bartenders to Know, Thrillist

Matt Grippo

 

Really, every bartender in San Francisco is worth knowing (and tipping, generously), but if you’re gonna go full-on BFF with someone behind the stick, you might as well make it one of the city’s most creative cocktail minds.

Matt Grippo

Blackbird (address and info)
Upper Market
With an extensive, generous happy hour menu on weekdays from 5-8pm, Blackbird feels at once like a cozy neighborhood bar and a hub of cocktail innovation, where Matt Grippo tinkers with new concepts and flavors. His latest creation: a limited-edition, off-menu selection of cocktails inspired by Game of Thrones.
Specialty cocktail: The New Orleans Iced Coffee, a boozy carbonated cold brew coffee with bourbon and chicory served on draught.
Where he drinks when he’s not working: “Nopa. Hands down the place where I have consumed the most food and beverage in the six years I’ve lived here. One of my favorite cocktails in the entire city and beyond is the Eucharist at Nopa. Simple, elegant, three ingredients. Yanni (Kehagiaras) has a skill with simple cocktails I don’t see often.”
What he loves about San Francisco: “San Francisco is the cradle of creativity and abundance for food and drink. It’s one of the reasons I moved here. Cocktails, beer, wine, amazing food — it has so much to offer I couldn’t ask for a better city to live an indulgent lifestyle. We are spoiled and I love it.”

Read the rest on Thrillist!