The Ice Cream Bar & Soda Foundation | San Francisco

At Ice Cream Bar, lactarts get a new lease on life

Getting to the soda fountain in the back of Ice Cream Bar will take a little bit of self-control.

The freezer full of house-made ice cream at the entrance exerts a strong pull.

But Ice Cream Bar is special not for its ice cream–though it is good–but the menu of old-timey beverages developed by Rickhouse bartender Russell Davis.

Each is assembled using made-from-scratch syrups, tinctures and extracts, and built on a beautifully restored 1930s soda-fountain bar.

Ask the soda jerks for a Wild Cherry Phosphate ($7), with wild-cherry syrup, cherry bark tincture, acid phosphate, gum syrup and soda water, or the Ode to Mr. O'Neil ($8), with Scharffen Berger chocolate syrup, lactart and soda water. Acid phosphate gives the Cherry Phosphate its bright tartness, and lactart, which is based on lactic acid, is a mild acidulant that adds a tart note to dairy-based beverages.

The Ode to Mr. O'Neil is an homage to chemist and bartender Darcy O'Neil, author of Fix the Pumps, a book containing 450 pre-Prohibition soda recipes (click here to download). O'Neil has reintroduced acid phosphate and lactart, and sells both on his website.

With book and ingredients in hand, jerks are having a field day–and you get to drink the results.

The Ice Cream Bar & Soda Fountain, 815 Cole St. (at Frederick St.); 415-742-4932 or