Escapism at San Francisco’s Last Rites

It’s been a minute since we were last at Last Rites but with a little planning had a really nice time on Saturday. We had a pretty nice Italian dinner at nearby restaurant The Rustic and got in line about 10 minutes before opening. The last time we opened Last Rites there weren’t that many people inside but that was far from the case this time as even before opening there built up a large crowd.

Happy Birthday Sam

We sat by one of two stone idols and had a couple round of drinks. I asked for cocktail suggestions on my Instagram stories and had the recommended Zombie Killer, a mashup of a Zombie and Painkiller featuring overproof rum, coconut, pineapple, citrus, cinnamon, falernum, and absinthe. The nutmeg garnish was quite fragrant but this was more “bitter Painkiller” than a true combo and despite the reputations of both drinks didn’t taste or feel like a ton of rum.

Mrs. Mai Tai tried a couple creamy cocktails. Kali Maa’s Doom has gin, pisco, cream, melon, sauvignon blanc, citrus, and vanilla has has a marshmallow garnish. This seemed very floral to me and pretty interesting. She also tried the non-alcoholic Golden Idol made with Turmeric milk, coconut, orange, pineapple, lemon, and nutmeg. This was far less sweeter than you’d expect and better balanced than most Painkillers that use similar ingredients.

I also tried the off-menu Mai Tai, which had a bold balance of funky rum. I didn’t love the orgeat and this felt a little flat to me overall, unfortunately. Last Rites has a very nice rum selection if you’re so inclined.

The service was quite nice and the interior remains in great working order even after being open for several years. The theme of an airplane crashing into the jungle was reinforced by an audio piece that played outside right before opening. The seats were all taken, though a few standing room spots still remained available. The haunting musical track was reminiscent of tribal drums, though a little more variety would have made this even more immersive. There are no wooden tikis here, but the large stone idols serve a similar purpose and we got an up close view of the smoke effects. Last Rites is great fun.

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