I was amused by a story in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle about Local Edition, a new “speakeasy-style bar” that opened last week in the basement of San Francisco’s Hearst Building. That basement once housed the San Francisco Examiner’s printing presses; publisher William Randolph Hearst himself lived in the 12th-floor penthouse when he wasn’t entertaining movie stars at his mansion in San Simeon.
Hearst Building, 3rd and Market streets. The 1909 façade was redesigned in 1937 by Julia Morgan. Photo source.
There are ironies aplenty in the Local Edition story, starting with the fact that W.R.—The Chief—was no fan of Demon Rum. Here’s a snippet from a Snopes article:
Hearst was not a drinking man. He tolerated the activity in others, but even then—only so far. Weekend visitors to his fabled castle in San Simeon quickly learned that they were allowed maybe all of two pre-dinner drinks, and that one of the fastest ways to get dumped back at the train station was to be caught boozing in the mansion, on the grounds, or even in the privacy of the individual guest houses.
Nevertheless, Hearst’s great-grandson, Steve Hearst, is an enthusiastic participant in the new venture, according to the Chronicle account:
Captivated by a concept near and dear to his heart, Steve Hearst gladly loaned artifacts from his family archives, including a 1920s projector presented by Louis B. Mayer to W.R. Hearst, who developed the world's first newsreels.
But the real rolling-in-his-grave item concerns one of the $9 cocktails on the menu. According to Serious Eats, it’s made with “reposado tequila, fresh lemon, Cocchi Americano, vanilla syrup, black pepper, and sea salt tinctures, and is shaken with a basil leaf.”
It’s called the Rosebud.