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San Francisco Bar Dumps Russian Liquor and Products in ‘Peaceful Protest’ of Ukraine War

Madrone Art Bar and Bond Bar joined a number of bars and restaurants nationwide in responding to the Russian-Ukraine conflict

Madrone Art Bar on Divisadero Street
Madrone Art Bar on Divisadero Street
Madrone Art Bar

At least two San Francisco bars are joining the droves of Bay Area citizens protesting Russia’s invasion of neighboring country Ukraine. Madrone Art Bar on Divisadero Street in NoPa dumped Russian products and drinks from its menu on February 27, according to a post on the popular bar’s Instagram. “We are against the Russian government, not the Russian people. This is just a peaceful protest and a small gesture of solidarity for the people of Ukraine,” Michael “Spike” Krause, owner of Madrone Art Bar, told Eater SF via direct message on Monday morning.

Krause says he is figuring out if Russian Standard is owned by a Russian oligarch or not, but in any case he’ll be purchasing a Ukrainian vodka this week to put in all the “Moscow” Mules. Krause says he removed the Stoli and Russian Standard Vodka from the shelves, while researching who owns what; Stoli is back on the shelves after realizing the company is Latvian-owned and produced by a Russian exile.

In a similar spirit of protest, KTVU reports Bond Bar in the Mission is renaming the Moscow Mule cocktail to a Kyiv Mule on the bar’s menu. Owner Andrea Minoo opted to exclude Russian language and products from her bar’s drinks. “You know, it’s a nice gesture on our part. It’s small but it’s you know it’s about raising awareness,” she told the news station.

Both changes come as restaurants and bars across the country are taking stances in ways big and small to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine. In Austin, a restaurant permanently shortened its name from “Russian House” to “House” on Sunday – dropping the reference to the country “in honor of the Russians who are against the war and for Austinites,” owner Varda Monamour told KXAN. Meanwhile a kitschy Soviet-themed bar in New York City has stopped selling any Russian-branded liquor. KGB Bar in the East Village replaced cases of Russian vodka with Ukrainian brands like Khor, Shevkoff, and Ukrainian Heritage, per a local blog.

Several state governors including those in Utah, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are also calling on state-run liquor stores to stop stocking Russian-made vodka and distilled spirits – though a boycott would not likely have much impact on the country, which is facing increasingly intense financial sanctions from Western countries including the U.S. Reuters reports only 1.2 percent of U.S. vodka imports came from Russia in the first half of 2021, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

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