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Hop in the DeLorean for Cognac Cocktails and Banana Split Mousse at This Dessert Bar Pop-Up

Topogato and Rye Bar are teaming up for a night of time-traveling chocolates and cocktails

Simon Brown working on chocolates in the Topogato chocolate lab
Topogato’s Simon Brown and Rye bar’s Erik Tennyson will host a dessert bar pop-up on February 27.
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Is there anything better than a top-notch chocolatier joining forces with a talented bartender? Yes, and it’s when the partnership is also Back to the Future-themed. Simon Brown, one of the partners behind high-caliber San Francisco chocolatier Topogato is teaming up with his old pal, Erik Tennyson of cocktail bar Rye, for a one-night-only dessert bar pop-up on February 27. The two met while working at Liholiho Yacht Club, so, aptly, the collaboration is dubbed Back to Leavenworth. “Everyone loves their sweets and their drinks,” Brown says. “It’s a creative playground for both of us.”

Fans of chocolate and whisky can anticipate five different pairings. Perhaps the star of the show and most luxurious choice is Biff’s Pleasure Palace. For $20, guests can slurp an eight-year-old rum-based cocktail, laden with coconut and banana, paired with a rum banana split mousse laced with a vanilla cream hazelnut sponge. The rest of the $12 options include the 1.21 Gigawatts!!!, a cocoa nib-infused whiskey drink and coffee cream canale duo, and the Flux Capacitor, a combo that consists of a roasted chestnut cognac cocktail and a chestnut cognac s’mores bar infused with speculoos cookie.

There will also be custom bon bons and standard Topogato fare on deck, but the five cocktail-chocolate pairings are the main draw. In many ways, this event is Brown and Tennyson rangefinding to see if something like New York’s Butter & Scotch could do well in San Francisco. “I’ve always enjoyed the dessert bar concept,” Brown says. “It’s something not done much out here, so it’s a fun way to dip my toes in this concept to see how it’s received.”

Brown and Tennyson worked together at Liholiho, in pastry and bartending respectively, from 2015 to 2018, and the two always got along. They’d work early in the morning, doing prep work, and Brown found lots of inspiration from Eric’s cocktails, and vice versa. The two would pass ideas back and forth, Brown says. Over time, they decided to do an event together to put their feelers out. Tennyson cut his teeth at Trick Dog before coming to Rye Bar, though he’s bartended for more than 20 years on both the East and West Coast.

Back to Leavenworth will take place at Rye at 688 Geary Street on Monday, February 27 from 8 to 11 p.m.


688 Geary Street, , CA 94102 (415) 474-4448 Visit Website

Liholiho Yacht Club

871 Sutter Street, , CA 94109 (415) 440-5446 Visit Website


701 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109