The block of O’Farrell St. between Jones and Leavenworth in San Francisco looks just like any other block in the upper area of the Tenderloin. The streets are a bit dirty, the buildings are a mix of brick and concrete, and strange people can be found congregating in various spots. Near the end on this block sits a gray mesh fence-like wall next to a gray slab of concrete. This space looks completely inconspicuous and most people would pass it by without a second glance. But inside this nondescript building sits a unique bar.
Rye could easily be mistaken for any other bar in the Tenderloin, but it offers much more. All the cocktails at the bar are made with only fresh ingredients. From the basil to the limes, all the produce used is fresh and sustainably sourced.
“It’s awesome because all the stuff they use in their drinks it completely fresh,” said 24-year-old Marcus Wright. “I don’t have to feel too guilty about getting tanked because its fresh.”
While the excellently made drinks are a major part of Rye’s allure, its atmosphere is also another great reason to pay this place a visit. The dim lights and inviting pool table give the bar an at-ease feeling not found in any other bars in the neighborhood, according to several patrons.
“It’s a different vibe in here than other bars in the T.L.,” said 26-year-old Jordan Durrett. “It’s not like a dive here. The place is more relaxed. I can come in and have a drink without having to worry about someone trying to either hit on my or steal my bag.”
“I totally agree,” said her friend Allison Fancis, 28. “People don’t realize the value of just being able to sit down and have a drink in peace in this neighborhood. I can’t say how invaluable it is to be able to do that and smoke without having to be hassled at one bar.”
Rye also offers an outdoor patio where smokers can go and take their drinks without having to stand outside the bar.
“It’s so nice not to have to deal with anyone when I want to have a cigarette,” says Marcus as he smokes on the patio. “I don’t have to leave my drink or anything. That’s why this place is one of my favorites.”
Between the drinks, the atmosphere and the incognito location, Rye has much to offer the bar-goers of the Tenderloin.
“I don’t understand why people would go anywhere else in the Tenderloin,” Jordan said. “This place kicks major ass and the drinks are out of this world. Enough said.”