San Francisco

Cocktail Bar 'Rusted Mule' To Debut Tonight In Polk Gulch

The Polk area has a new spot for cocktails: Rusted Mule will open its doors tonight at 1217 Sutter St. 

Owned by Kristian Cosentino (Dirty Water), Richard Vila (Poquito), Christina Mae Henderson and Chris Mansury, the sizable bar (it accommodates 140 people) will also offer beer, wine, and pub grub. It has three lounges, and a mezzanine for private parties. 

The space was formerly Sudachi Sushi, but when Cosentino and his partners tore down the walls, they found the original brick from 1908, and decided to keep it. "The look and feel just felt right," he said. 

The bar's vibe is intended to be "soft steampunk," with custom-made creations from San Francisco and Oakland artists, including a metal sculpture of a mule on the mezzanine. LED lighting abounds, and the bar itself is illuminated with amber onyx, creating a look reminiscent of melting lava. 

Dirty Water chef Glen Schwartz is also doing the food for Rusted Mule, which Cosentino said is "cheeky and fun," with some quirky items like carrot corn dogs and boozy soft serve. It'll also serve some basics, like garlic fries, guacamole, and homemade chips. For now, the bar is only serving a few snacks; the full kitchen is expected to open in two weeks.

The cocktail menu is focused on “fun and throwback drinks,” along with some crafty new concoctions. It'll also have mules (lime and ginger beer concoctions with a variety of spirits, like the vodka-based Moscow mule) on draft, along with draft spirits. 

While some of Rusted Mule's bartenders are well-known and have won awards and cocktail competitions, “our whole goal is to have fun with cocktails and not take it so seriously," Cosentino said. 

Cosentino said he’s not too concerned about the bar's off-the-beaten-path location, wedged between Van Ness and Polk on Sutter. “If you create something beautiful, people will come for it.”

Hours for Rusted Mule are 5pm-2am daily.


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