San Francisco: The European
Why it's hot: The European is a gorgeous new metropolitan-style bar, opened on June 6th in The Warwick hotel. Right in the midst of all the Union Square galleries and theaters, Adam Wilson oversees an elegant, relaxed bar inspired by Paris during Prohibition through today, heavy on low-proof apéritifs and champagne cocktails.
Must-drink: Violet Fizz is like a glorified egg cream or a Ramos Gin Fizz, combining gin with cream and seltzer. House black currant and crème de violette purée is dramatically poured into the beverage right before your eyes. Creamy-white and marked by shocks of violet with an edible flower garnish, it's almost too pretty to drink. But then you stir it all together into a soft purple hue and it goes down all too easy.
Insider tip: Wilson is working with Betsy Ross, the sommelier at the hotel's restaurant, Aveline, to develop an extensive sparkling wine and champagne program with plenty of half-bottles on offer.
490 Geary St.; 415-292-6430