It’s that time of year again: time to stuff and roast the turkey and to candy the yams. Time to give thanks for a time-honored gathering of family members from near and far. Time to indulge in a post-dinner slice (or two) of pumpkin pie. And when the Thanksgiving dinner table discussions with relatives begin to run on a bit long, it may be time to take the dog for a walk or to take a load off while your family window-shops — and to patronize your favorite neighborhood bar for a bit.
In San Francisco, one of our favorites is Isa Restaurant (or Isa’s, as it’s known by locals), located in the heart of the Marina District. With dark wood decor, lamp-shaded and dim lights on the bar, and an impressive collection of craft beers on draft, Isa’s promises a welcome refuge from the holiday hubbub. Executive Founder Chef Luke Sung delivers up some award-winning Cal fresh small plate dishes, to be sure. But the folks behind the bar are quick to dole out local samples of varying hoppiness — sure to take your mind off any long-winded or tension-filled family conversations. Given its central location right off Chestnut Street, Isa’s offers a convenient respite while your family members take advantage of those Black Friday bargains. Or on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Or on Tuesday, for that matter.
In Chicago, consider popping in to Old Crow Smokehouse, with locations in Wrigleyville and River North, among others. Described as “the ultimate blend of home cookin' and a lively saloon,” the Old Crow might be the perfect antidote to the giblets and stuffing biding time in your refrigerator at home. “Master Chef” television show finalist Tony Scruggs may not be available to commiserate with you about the holiday, but hanging out in the lively saloon could be the perfect Thanksgiving break you need.
In Seattle, while your out-of-towners take in the Pike Place Market, treat yourself to a seat at The Pike Pub. Your friendly server will conjure up recommendations from a diverse lineup of Pike beers, while you take in the view of Pike’s working brew kettle or gander at one of the world’s most extensive collections of beer memorabilia. If your Tryptophan-induced stupor gets in the way of making decisions, try the “Pike Sampler” – a flight of six 4-ounce tastes with a descriptor of each.
Yep, Thanksgiving time is here again. But while soaking in time with the family, don’t forget to take a little time out for yourself. These neighborhood favorites are just a stroll away.