The Ice Cream Bar

By Anne Zimmerman

There are two trends in frozen desserts these days: the nostalgic and the wacky. At the Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley you’ll find both swirled together. Here’s the scoop: yes, you can line up for a waffle cone stuffed with banana pudding ice cream, but the real action is at the soda fountain, where trained mixologists concoct sodas made from ingredients so old they’re fashionably new again. Our suggestion: Go for the Russell’s Sassafras Root Beer, but turn it into a float—it will arrive with a house-made sassafras marshmallow toasted on top. For those who prefer a concoction with a kick, try one of the “Remedies” from their new cocktail menu, such as the port eggnog with Graham’s 10-year old Tawny Port, eggs, cream, turbinado syrup, and fresh nutmeg. New to the mix is a food menu, featuring soups and savory items. Go for the pulled pork sandwich with house barbecue sauce and kohlrabi slaw on a brioche bun. If you’re still hungry (though highly unlikely), finish it all off with a cup of the hot butterscotch- it’s like hot chocolate, but with house-made butterscotch instead.

the crowd

All types are gathering here: Dads with kids, elderly men and single ladies curled around the counter, dread-heads fresh from the park. Ice cream, it’s a unifier.

... on the side

oh soda jerk
The soda jerks here are professionals with backgrounds in bartending and mixology. This means that if you visit and don’t know exactly what you want, you can talk it through with a soda jerk just like you do at the bar.

the inside scoop
The soda jerk also told us that the busiest time isn’t the after school rush, it’s the evening, when grownups belly up to the vintage bar for a classic root beer float (with house made root beer, no less), to give them sweet dreams.



12PM-10PM daily

price range

$2.95 (junior scoop) to $16 (the world’s best pistachio milkshake, made for two to share)