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Sugar Magnolia, Burgers Blooming...

Are you fan of any of the following: microbrewed beer, fresh ground hamburgers or the Grateful Dead? If the answer is yes, get in your VW van and chug over to the Magnolia Pub (which it proclaims is the Haight-Ashbury's Only Brew Pub) at 1398 Haight Street, on the corner of Masonic Ave.

Choose a high-backed booth for privacy, a table facing Haight Street's human carnival, or seat yourself at the bar and select one of the many fine, house brewed beers the pub has to offer. You may feel a little silly ordering a Willie's Brown or a Cole Porter, but the brews themselves don't disappoint -- from the rich, chocolatey Stout of Cicumstance to the sharp, clean Sarah's Ruby mild (my personal favorite). Magnolia brews its beers on-site, in vats you can see through the grate in the floor at the back of the pub.

Aren't most hippies vegetarians? Then how is it that Magnolia has some of the best burgers I've ever had? For $7.50, you get a lovely Bradley Ranch ground chuck hamgburger with gorgonzola or cheddar (go for gorgonzola, trust me), and a slew of amazing house cut french fries with crackling skins dusted with black pepper, or a side of crunchy house slaw. Other fine sandwich choices are the sliced chicken breast sandwich with blue cheese, bacon and granny smith apples ($7.95). Both meatless sandwiches on the menu (a veggie sandwich with roasted peppers, onion, feta, pesto and other goodies for $6.75 and a mozzarella and olive tapenade baguette for $7.25) were delicious enough for any discriminating herbivore. If you're in the mood for something lighter, the homemade soups are nearly always a revelation (especially the vegetarian black bean), as are the mussels steamed in IPA with andouille sausage in a rich, red, creamy broth.

And if you have room for dessert, order some. Anything. The desserts at Magnolia can be outstanding, and when they're not outstanding, they're still worth saving room for. They'll set you back about five bucks each, and riff off of your typical American post-dinner se\weet things: chocolate peanut butter pie, vanilla creme brulee, banana bread pudding. If the pear-almond torte happens to be on the menu the day you happen to stop by, get it. S.ple as that.

Top-notch beers, food that is way above par for a brewpub at moderate prices, and fairly attentive (but always, always friendly) service all add up to an A in my book. The only gripe I have with Magnolia is the Grateful Dead mural running along the ceiling. The hand of God rolling a pair of dice into the ocean as Casey Jones chugs by in a locomotive and sea nymphs glow above galloping horses? But whatever. It's in the Haight, after all. And now tourists and locals alike have yet another reason to make the trip.