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 theicecreambarsf.com