So, what’s the big deal? Obispo is the bar the best speaks to Vogler’s ideals — specifically, that we should be drinking spirits with a sense of place, as he discusses in his 2017 book By the Smoke and the Smell. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Obispo serves a small selection of rums that meet Vogler’s philosophy and, all the while, forces customers to engage in rum’s history of colonialism and slavery. That comes through the folk art on the walls, partnerships with the Museum of the African Diaspora and Calle 24 Community Council, and the food menu spotlighting dishes from rum-producing regions, such as jerk chicken and oxtail curry.
In a sense, it’s an anti-tiki cocktail bar. Instead of using industrial spirits hiding under a bevy of sugary fruit juices, Obispo is all about the rum itself — and the decor speaks to real history as opposed to the mishmash of island cultures and fantasy that characterizes tiki. See for yourself: Obispo is open daily from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.