An Irreverent Cocktail at Swell

An Irreverent Cocktail at Swell


Swell Bar’s signature drink is the Shaver.

The Shaver is a kamikaze-like creation with origins to dis the queen.

Ready to do something naughty? Consider Swell Bar, a neighborhood hangout with a randy sense of humor and a lot of charm. If you aren’t a regular, you’re still welcome, but join the ranks as soon as you can. Buy a drink for a friend you know will show up later. Do this by adding his name to the chalkboard. Get to know Mark Berkley, the bar manager, who will remember your name and your favorite spirit. Then keep showing up, because this is the best place to catch the game, shoot darts, sit in the sun, or sip The Shaver.

This kamikaze-like creation is dangerously easy to finish in a single swallow. It’s almost white, but closer to transparent and topped with a sheen of foam. Some people take it on the rocks, but most folks down this doozy all at once. With a citrusy start and sweet-sour finish, The Shaver is altogether delicious and a generous pour. There aren’t true measurements set for this original concoction, which was perfected three owners ago with the help of a longtime patron known as Customer No. 1. Today it’s Swell Bar’s signature drink and available for $5 every day.

Sure, it’s available all year long, but don’t miss it this month. Berkley explains, “It’s nice in September for a couple reasons. One, it starts with an S, and two, it’s essentially a clear liquor drink. So when people think of summertime drinks, this fits. And our summers are September through October.”

A gilded mermaid hangs above the bar, half of a fishing boat doubles as a table, lending a sure-fire nautical theme. The Shaver resonates England and a naughtiness known to British humor that Austin Powers and the cast of Ab Fab would appreciate. “The bar owner was a Brit,” Berkley said, explaining the origins. “With his typical bar humor, he wanted something that was kind of rude.” So, in truth, The Shaver is actually a shortened version of the real name, God Shave the Queen.

When you gulp it back, pretend you’re in a London pub. Maybe order a pint on the side. If you want to enjoy this irreverently tasty cocktail at home, grab your shaker and close your eyes. This one is all about flavor and fun and should go into the books as a staple. See you at Swell Bar. May God serve us all.

Swell Bar, 1539 Lincoln Ave., Alameda, 510-522-6263.


The Shaver

1 1/2 ounces Gin
1/4 ounce Triple Sec
1/4 ounce Sour Peach Pucker
1/4 ounce Sour Apple Pucker
Splash Rose’s Sweet & Sour Mix
Splash Rose’s Lime Juice


Shake and strain into a shot glass. Repeat until you feel like one of the Rolling Stones.

Published online on Sept. 29, 2016 at 8 a.m.