It's the circle of life, and it moves us all—less than two weeks after Blueprint Tap Room shuttered suddenly in the Design District, Hardwood Bar & Smokery is celebrating its grand opening today in the same space at 680 8th St. (between Brannan and Townsend).
"We are excited to open up," owner Albert Lee said over the phone. "We’ll be featuring craft beers and Bay Area barbecue. It's not southern-style, it's our version with a Bay Area twist. The neighborhood needs [a place like this] and we are happy to be here."
Hardwood Bar & Smokery is a project by long-time friends Lee—who also owns Rocks Den (4431 Mission St.) in the Outer Mission—chef Jake Kwan-Rosenbush, formerly of Gary Danko and Naked Lunch, and beverage director Adam Brogan from Wayfare Tavern and Stock in Trade.
"All of us are born and raised in the Bay," Lee said. "Were bringing everyone's passion together and Jake is really passionate about barbecue."
Lee told us that the team is working with an "impressive smoker" on site, and in keeping with the name, all of the barbecued meats will be hardwood-smoked.
Hardwood is open for lunch and dinner, with the evening menu focusing more on "bar bites," Lee said.
Lunch is served 11:30am–2:30pm and features items like the smoked pork spare ribs plate, a spicy chicken sandwich (vinegar slaw, pickles, sriracha aioli, on a toasted bun) with sweet potato or seasoned curly fries, and the Hawaiian-style grilled chicken rice plate (marinated grilled chicken, steamed rice, macaroni salad, kimchi).
Dinner service is 4–9pm and includes dishes like brisket sliders (sliced smoked beef brisket, pickled red onion and BBQ aioli on toasted Hawaiian sweet rolls) and brisket tacos with white onion, baby cilantro, pickled red onion, and house-made salsa.
Late bites are served from 9 until closing and feature snacks like a grilled Spam musubi (furikake rice, citrus ponzu, nori), toasted almond salted caramel popcorn, and the Woody, "a not-so-slim jim" made with 100% beef that's marinated, cured, and smoked in house.
And for desert there's the mini fried apple pie with granny smith apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, akey fried pastry, and powdered sugar, or the boozy “beaver” pops like the pineapple daiquiri with Stiggins’ Plantation rum, lime, and simple syrup.
Lee said he plans to brew his own beer as well, "from lagers to IPA's," and expects them to debut in the coming months.
Hardwood Bar & Smokery is open daily 11:30am–11pm.