There has been a bit of buzz around Mr Lew’s Win-Win Bar & Grand Sazerac Emporium, the newest venture of Destination Bars (a new company from the gang behind Bourbon & Branch, Swig, Rickhouse, and The Wilson). Opened about two weeks ago, it’s on Jones at O’Farrell where the divey Club 441 used to be. Some folks (who shall not be named as they should know better) have gotten this news a bit off, confusing it with The Wilson which is opening up this week just up the street, right next door to Bourbon & Branch.
As it currently sits, Mr Lew’s is an awesomely-named bar with a divey feel serving modern, classic cocktails and a few bottled beers. Also, it isn’t really fully finished, this being more of a soft-opening until they define their concept. In the meantime it’s just going to marinate for a few weeks or months in its current incarnation, at which point, the owners will close it down, remodel and probably give us something more polished and similar to the Bourbon & Branch or Wilson model, although who knows as this stage wasn’t really planned apparently (even the name was improvised, as explained here).
All this being what it may, we decided to head down for a drink and see how 441 has been reborn. Overall, its kinda cool how it is. It has that comfortable, unpretentious feeling of neighborhood bars with more than just crap well drinks and low-end beers. Yeah, I know, purists will decry this a travesty against all that is holy and wonderful about a “true” dive bar. Whatever, when I drink liquor, I want a well-made drink. Call me a pansy if you want, but that’s how I roll.
The cocktail list is solid, and apparently it’s going to keep changing. Currently they have: Sazerac, Bobby Burns, Gold Rush, Martinez, Old Fashioned, Classic Daiquiri, Bitter Buck. We had a Sazerac (of course!) and a Martinez (Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino, Orange bitters –pictured above), and quite enjoyed both. Currently all the cocktails are $7 and for that price of admission you get to view campy paintings on the wall and like I said, have your laid-back “dive bar experience” but with better drinks.
A large part of me doesn’t really want to see it get remodeled as it’s pretty stellar right now. That and at the moment, it’s quite chill, so we enjoyed long conversations with the friendly bartenders and a couple other patrons. Naturally, none of the old 441 regulars go there anymore and I can’t blame them as their bar is gone, but at the same time, it is not awash in striped-shirts spouting all things douche-tastic.
In other words, give it a try and see what you think. If you want to keep with the Lew News, they do indeed have a Facebook page.