Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen opened its doors last summer, replacing Ponzu at the Serrano Hotel in Union Square. Not only has the menu and style of the restaurant gotten a complete facelift, but the cocktail program has as well led by bar manager Kevin Diedrich.
Diedrich is an experienced vet when it comes to the cocktail scene in San Francisco, having worked at the Burritt Room, Michael Mina’s Clock Bar and Cask along with the renowned PDT and Clover Club in New York City. He has a fun menu that focuses heavily on the seasons. “Right now as we’re heading into the heart of spring and summer, I want to have lighter cocktails that are more refreshing. So I take out a lot of the heavier spirits that I had been using in the fall and winter,” Diedrich said. “Some of the mainstays and favorites are hard to take off because they have gotten such a following. But I usually change about five cocktails every three months.”
Because Jasper’s is also well-known for a wide selection of local brews on tap and by the bottle, Diedrich makes sure to have at least 3-4 beer-based cocktails on the menu at all times.
“Beers are so wonderful and flavorful nowadays that it really isn’t too hard to pair them with other spirits and flavors. I work around those flavors and mix and match as I see fit with whatever beers we have on our list at the time,” he said.
Jasper’s is not only a bar but also serves some pretty amazing food as well with executive chef Adam Carpenter manning the kitchen. Diedrich doesn’t necessarily pair cocktails to items that might be found on the menu but throughout the year, he hosts pairing dinners, mainly with beers (although he does have a bourbon-pairing dinner coming up later this month).
The spot is ideal for regulars who come for Diedrich’s great drinks, but also a hot spot for tourists because of it’s central location. “Business has grown since we’ve been open. Just last week was the first time I’ve actually seen a line of people behind those seated at the bar,” he said. “It definitely keeps us on our toes and busy.”
Along with a creative and colorful cocktail list, Diedrich has dived into a couple of recent trends in the industry. “We now have bottled and carbonated cocktails which are available. We usually like to change those up depending on the season and what drinks might fit the occasion,” he said. “We also are the first bar in San Francisco to have cocktails on tap. Right now, we offer a negroni and a hanky panky on draught, both served on the rocks. It’s a pretty unique and cool concept.”
Diedrich definitely fits in the citrus category when it comes to cocktails. “I don’t want to get someone stinking drunk. I want people to be able to enjoy more than one of my cocktails when they go out. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.”
A place to hang out, get some great drinks and have a good time: really what any great bar should offer.
Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen is located at 401 Taylor Street. Bar hours are Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight and Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m.