The perfect pre-Pride toast: Bayview vino at El Rio

Mugsy Wine Bar at El Rio: a safe space for being well-served.

It's best (they say) to treat Pride as the proverbial marathon in place of sprint -- despite the fact that there is about one thousand openings-parties-dog walks happening this year that you'll no doubt be careening between. May we recommend a darling divey wine happy hour as your own personal kick-off for this year of queer festivities? El Rio's semi-weekly Mugsy Wine Bar on Fri/15 would fit the bill nicely -- and will give you the chance to try local pours made by local queers, people of color, and families that will be perfect for your larder as you traipse ever-closer to Gay Christmas.

"El Rio is a lot more gay-friendly than cabernet-friendly," Granate Sosnoff, Mugsy's organizer, told me over the phone yesterday. Sosnoff, whose girlfriend works behind the bar at the Outer Mission dive, was sick of El Rio's wine selection being somewhat of an afterthought (let's be real, order the margarita.) But the space had potential -- you'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot for a casual glass. Picture the scene: El Rio's standard Friday afternoon batch of free oysters (deployed on the tranquil patio at 5:30pm, swoop them while they last), La Piada Randagia serving Italian piadina, or flatbread sandwiches, and of course, the well-curated wines. 

This Friday, Mugsy will feature pours from Gratta Wines, Barbara Gratta's mini-winery that the queer vintner started in her Bayview basement. Gratta's 2010 Dry Creek cabernet -- of which only a barrel was made -- will be on offer, as will the entrepreneur herself, for queries and comments on the fruits of her fermentation.  

Looking for something from farther afield? Mugsy will also be offering a pinot noir from Stomping Girl Wines, a multi-generational endeavor out of Russian River and Sonoma that first started pressing in a Berkeley basement. Not to mention wine from African American family-owned Brown Estate

"High and low is the best, right?" said Sosnoff. "Especially in these troubling times." D'accord. Cheers! 

Mugsy Wine Bar pop-up happy hour

Fri/15 5-8pm, $5-$10 per glass of wine

El Rio

3158 Mission, SF

(415) 282-3325

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