The Ice Cream Bar opens Saturday, January 21 in San Francisco. I popped in last night for a preview.
The beverage program is run by Russell Davis, formerly of Bourbon & Branch, and the program is based around Fix the Pumps, the recent book on soda fountains by Darcy O'Neil.
The menu is split into Frappes & Floats, Crushes, Malts & Milkshakes, Phosphates, Panacea (a tonic), Lactarts, and Classics. There is also a list of fountain syrups and house-made extracts to flavor sodas.
The physical soda fountain is from the 1930s and Davis says he had to tune it to get it working right. The soda water dispenser releases cooled soda water at a specific temperature, and has two settings for fine or course streams. The fine stream is used to froth the soda at the end of the pour.
The glasses for the sodas have to be cold, as otherwise it kills the bubbles. Thus they won't be able to serve these drinks to go. (I forsee long lines here.) They serve drinks without straws for the most part, as these affect the flavor of the drink.
I started with a root beer soda that was heavenly. It's made with real sassafras tincture.
Then I had a chocolate phosphate, which tastes like carbonated chocolate milk.
Then I had the best Root Beer Float evarrr.
Other diners had the Pistachio Milkshake. Milkshakes and Malts here are hand-shaken in a cocktail shaker with milk, eggs, and hand-carved ice.
And they'll be serving ice cream, and hot dogs and such from another counter.
There are plans in the future (if/when they get their beer/wine licensce) to serve Angostura Phosphates, plus custom mineral waters.
This place is awesome. Join their Facebook group here.