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Best of the Bay: Socializing

Bar Game

A packed house glued to a game that involves a Ping-Pong ball—sounds like a frat party, but it’s the newest Friday-night craze: Berlin-Style Ping-Pong. Brought to the city by Mission Mission founder Allan Hough, the game is the love child of traditional Ping-Pong and musical chairs. Hough’s organization, American Tripps, draws crowds of up to 600 to a revolving list of venues, such as Rickshaw Stop and Z Space, where you squeeze around a pong table with 20-plus other players. The ball gets passed between opposite ends of the table as everyone continually moves clockwise after serving. Miss a serve and you’re out, and the last two standing play to three points, but everyone drinks along the way. Prior pong practice is highly recommended. americantripps.com —Cassandra Feliciano

Booze Cruise

Bet you never did this on your way to first grade. In the Brewtruc, a school bus converted into an upscale mobile taproom, you can enjoy a variety of obscure microbrews while being chauffeured around town with 20 or so friends—and it’s completely legal. Owner Hugh Shick (formerly of Le Truc) found every loophole in the city’s permit system to ensure that you can sip your Primitiv Belgium sour while cruising the Embarcadero or up to Twin Peaks. Tours run between three and four hours, and pours stop after beer number four. Think of it as a party bus for grown-ups. $30–40 per person, 415-296-5060, brewtrucsf.com —Annie Tittiger

Unpretentious Art Class

In the never-ending quest to package a night at the bar with something a bit more substantial, Art Uncorked is bringing together palate and palette. The company organizes weekly events at different bars, where each patron gets painting supplies and instructions from prominent local artists on how to imitate a famous painting like Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The flowing wine may or may not yield master brushstrokes, and you could choose to ignore the instructions altogether. Either way, the canvas you take home is your personal masterpiece, even if it’s just a picture of your dog. 415-317-1273, art-uncorked.com —Michelle Bergmann

Rowdy Wrestling

It’s not often that you get to watch 10 burly, costumed divas go têteà- tête in an all-out arm-wrestling smackdown. Lucky for us, Bay Area Arm Wrestling Ladies has filled the gap in the market. Come with cash to trade in for “bucky bills” at the door so you can bet on wrestlers and buy off referees. Expect skull-and-crossbones tattoos, lots of haggling and heckling, and really strong women. baawl.com —Tay Wiles

Cheap Drink

With cocktails going for 12 bucks a pop these days, grabbing a drink with friends is often just that: one drink. Which is why it’s so great that Original Joe’s is serving up classic, strong cocktails—from gimlets to whiskey sours, sidecars to French 75s—for only $6. Order a martini, take a seat in the lounge by the fireplace, and people-watch. 601 Union St., 415-775-4877, originaljoessf.com —Sara Deseran

Fountain of Youth

If there’s ever been a place where grown-ups and kids can both hang, it’s the new, beyond adorable art deco joint Ice Cream Bar. Classic banana splits and sundaes are on off er at this true soda fountain, but adults can also get old-timey drinks, with a twist, like a phosphate made with candy cap mushrooms or the Breakfast Soda, a crush afl oat with orange pulp and perfumed with thyme extract. For a straightforward scoop, the banana pudding ice cream in a housemade waffl e cone is perfect for any age. 815 Cole St., 415-742-4932, theicecreambarsf.com —S.D.

Noncommittal Book Club

If your attempt at literary togetherness is feeling a little stale, check out Two Sisters Bar and Books. at its monthly event, Books and Booze, you’ll meet a new cast of characters and spice up your literary conversation with cocktails created by the in-house bartender to echo the month’s read. Check Two Sisters’ blog to see what’s up next, from 17th-century german thrillers to June’s pick, the memoir of a Rainbow grocery cheesemonger. kicks stuffy living rooms and rehashing The great gatsby right out of the water. 579 Hayes St., 415-863-3655, 2sistersbarandbooks.com —Gretchen Schrafft

Best in Theory

The bro barometer The SceneTap app will appeal to anyone who wants to hedge their bets before ponying up cab fare to a bar, since it tells you which ones on its list are empty and which are packed. But it wears its meathead mentality on its sleeve since it also alerts you to the percentage of patrons at any given time who are female. At least women should have equal-opportunity access to this creepy leg up. scenetap.com/san-francisco —A.T.

 

 

 

READERS’ POLL: THE CLASSICS

Dive Bar - Hi Dive
Cocktail Haunt - Bourbon & Branch
Family Dining - Park Chow
Dining With a Group - Foreign Cinema
Happy Hour - District
Wine Bar - Noeteca
Sports Bar - Mad Dog in the Fog
Bartender - Allen Brown
Place to Dance - DNA Lounge
Nightclub - 1015
Cab Service - Luxor