N-Owl Nightlife Guide: John Colins on Natoma St.
First in a series of reviews of nightspots easily accessible via Muni
Last Friday I had dinner with a cool friend of mine at Osha Thai (previously mentioned on this site). As always it was great food at a great price, and this time we tried out the fried banana dessert. Not only did it taste good, but check out the amazing presentation on the plate. When it arrived I'd assumed it was a painted design on the plate itself!
Afterwards we went to a cocktail mixer hosted via Bay Area Linkup at a bar on Natoma @ 2nd (just a couple of blocks from the N's Montgomery St. Station) called John Colins. I'd never been there before, and although it is not my usual style of bar to hang out at on a Friday night, I was willing to give it a try, especially since it was located literally around the corner from the Thai place.
From the outside it is a very unassuming little place, but the inside of the bar is very cozy, and can get quite crowded at happy hour.
However, despite this, I didn't mind the crowds that much. The atmosphere was quite fun, wasn't nearly as pretentious as some other downtown-y bars can get, and as the meet-up time of 8:30 p.m. approached, the crowd thinned out just enough for our group to find each other just fine and have enough breathing room to socialize.
My good friend took some pictures of the decor in the bar, which had a sort of subdued tiki islander theme, as did the drink menu.
The thing that really stood out for me was how friendly, efficient and skilled the bartenders were at John Colins. Their drink menu is really interesting, and though a bit more pricey than I'd usually like, were well worth it. I ended up trying a few different ones, and as you can see in this lovely candid shot of me with a Mojito they're rather potent, as well.
All in all, if you're looking for a place downtown to meet someone after work before heading out to places in the neighborhood, or on points accessible by our trusty downtown Muni streetcars, John Colins is a good place to go. Places like this get an extra level of scrutiny if they are out of my normal bounds of nightlife, and it passes the test with flying colors. Much of the credit goes to the hardworking bartenders who know to stock more than a couple of brands of rum, and take pride in their work and maintaining a fun place to check out. And being just blocks away from Muni, you can get home safely as well!
Pictures copyright 2006 by Visual Vixen
Got a suggestion for a future review? Email me your suggestions for fun, interesting, and cool places to go that are easily accessible by our beloved Muni!