Among local drinkers, the short-lived, ultra-tiny, always delicious Tenderloin bar Big remains a minorly mythic thing in our memories ephemeral as a pop-up, gushed over, and gone before its time. Well, it's seen some reincarnations since its 2013 shutter, most notably in the form of SRO, the small bar-within-a-bar at SoMa's Oddjob, which is owned by the same former owners of Big who are also planning on reviving the name and style of Big in the ultra-divey current location of the 21 Club at Turk and Taylor, but more on that later. And now, as Eater shows us, another reincarnation comes from the two bartenders who actually made Big what it was, Brian Felley and Mo Hodges. The two have opened up a similarly small, tucked-away cocktail den called Benjamin Cooper (398 Geary Street, 2nd floor), where they will continue to delight cocktail nerds with their bespoke creations from here on out.
The place only has 14 barstools and another dozen or so seats, and it's up some stairs past the reception desk inside the Hotel G. Unlike Big, Benjamin Cooper does have a menu, but no doubt Felley and Hodges will be happy to go off-menu to fit your desires if you like. The menu includes some seriously out-of-the-box stuff like a bottled spin on "Zima" (gin, clarified lime cordial, genepy, lime zest), and a shot of tequila with a "sangrita" of raw oyster, dehydrated tomato powder, espelette pepper, sugar, citric acid, and magnesium powder. There's also a daily oyster selection that can be ordered at the bar, and plenty of nice liquors to choose from, as well as beer, wine, and champagne.
They're open every day except Sunday, starting at 5 p.m. on weekdays, and 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
And the name, by the way, is just a combination of two family names from Hodges' and Felley, and they've used it to create a fictional character whom you can see sketched on Instagram, who serves as a kind of mascot.
Benjamin Cooper - 398 Geary, inside the Hotel G - Open Monday to Friday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.