Third Rail

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Words by Simon Difford on 23-Oct-2014

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Address: 628 20th Street, (btwn 3rd & Illinois Sts), San Francisco, California, 94107, United States
Tel: +1 415 252 7966
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 3pm until 2am
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Spirits
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar nibbles
Established: 2013
Owned by: Phil West and Jeff Lyon


Opened in October 2013 by Phil West and Jeff Lyon of the regarded Range over in the Mission district, Third Rail occupies the site of the former Retox Bar. Jeff was the long term bar manager at Range and the Third Rail takes its name from a bourbon cocktail on one of Range's earliest drink menus.

Minalist gun metal grey and slate black decor with a bare wooden floor and utilitarian 70s style furnishings hardly scream 'warm and welcoming', and it's true to say this Dog Patch neighbourhood hangout can be a little cold when first encountered. But a quick glance at the back bar and cocktail menu make Third Rail a place you should become acquainted with.

The small but well curated clip board menu has a few cocktails under each of four headings: seasonal, citrus, low proof and high proof. Of the 'high proof' selection we particularly like The Diplomat with aged rum, walnut liqueur, vermouth and bitters stirred and served on the rocks. The tequila and whisk(e)y selections are particularly strong and Third Rail carries some great tap and bottled beers - particularly the Red Barn Farmhouse ale. And if you're peckish jerk jerry and spicy beef candy by the ounce.

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