Thursday, October 28, 2010
Olive: Swanky Oasis in the Tenderloin
October 28, 2010 @ 5 PM
The TL (Tenderloin) is a San Francisco neighborhood which is not for the easily offended. Heroin and crack cocaine abound. Homeless folks walk the streets day and night. Inebriated people are often passed out and snoring in front of businesses. Puddles of human DNA are plentiful where you tread. This the ugly face of the TL.
Do not be so quick to write off the TL as one of your food destinations. TL is also the home of Little Saigon-- San Francisco's Vietnamese community. Here, you will find plenty of unique food adventures from steaming hot bowl of pho and delicious $3 banh mi's, to newer innovative gourmet restaurants to swanky bar/lounges like Olive.
To get to Olive, you might need to endure the catcall of the inebriated man on the sidewalk. Or jump over a puddle of human DNA. You might need to look past the internally preoccupied lady in her own happy nirvana.
But you will finally arrive at Olive. In the hearf of the Tenderloin is an oasis to quench your thirst after putting in an honest day of work at Civic Center or its vicinity.
Olive's pleasant existence in the heart of crack-cocaine city is an unexpected surprise. Happy Hour is from 5 pm to 7pm where well-made cocktails are $5 each or $1 off each glass of wine.
They serve decadently fatty yet delightful bar food of pizza, fries, etc., and selections of bigger plates of pasta, fish, etc.
Olive is a swanky bar/restaurant/lounge. Contemporary decor of hanging mood lights adorn this tiny space. You either sit at high bar tables or at the bar. If you are lucky you might score seatings at the lounge area. Tealights on every table made this tiny dark bar cozier.
Olive is no dive bar. Nicely dressed 9-5 Civic Center/TL employees start walking in ready for a drink or two either solo or with their friends at around 5 PM.
As for me and my GF Rebecca, we came here with the intention to just grab a drink during Happy Hour. We ordered a drink each and a side of mixed sweet potato/regular potato fries with aioli.
The server was very nice. I requested for just drop of alcohol in my drink. He suggested a pomegranate mojito with more juice than ETOH. Still very delicious.
My GF had the regular mojito plus 3/4 of my drink. (I was too paranoid to have a drink and drive.)
Our sweet potato fries were okay. Soggy and not seasoned enough but it was still nice to munch on them along with complimentary olives.
Olive provided a nice venue for that girl-bonding moment after work.
Between the modern interior, super-nice server, yummy drinks and the coziness of Olive, I think I finally found a bar where a woman can be safe and comfortable to imbibe solo.
Olive is an oasis in the heart of the TL. Definitely not a place I will go back to if I am no longer working in the area but good to know there is a clean and safe spot in the TL. Great for pre or after show drinks or dinner at the American Music Hall.
Tab: $16 for 2 mojitos and one sweet potato fries before tip.
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: 4.5 Stars for well-made drinks, cool vibe and swanky decor.
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)