Chug Pub brings regional Mexican food to the Sunset

The Chug Pub, located at the intersection of 20th Avenue and Lincoln Way, serves tacos on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 (Aaron Levy-Wolins/Xpress)

Yuca Tacos is a one-man operation that runs out of the small kitchen in Chug Pub, a Sunset neighborhood bar popular for their Chug Tower.  

Located across the street from Golden Gate Park on the corner of 20th Avenue and Lincoln Way, Chug Pub offers the Chug Tower, a 3-foot-tall tube filled with 3 liters of beer, fixed with a stand and a pouring spout. The tower is served with house-made tortilla chips and salsa made fresh daily.

Aaron Levy-Wolins / Xpress

Ben Thompson, 42, Chug Pub’s Monday night bartender from San Francisco, poses for a portrait on Monday, Feb. 12, 2017

“It’s a novelty and looks fun to have a 3-foot tower at the table,” said Terence Pon, Chug Pub’s manager. “Whenever people see it, they want one too.”  

From the Yuca Tacos kitchen, Jose Valencia — sole cook and kitchen manager — turns out Mexican food from the Yucatan region where he grew up. Valencia serves standard Mexican fare including carne asada tacos and tostadas, as well as salbutes and panuchos, regional bar food from Yucatan.

The salbutes, $4 each, are puffed deep fried tortillas topped with pickled red onion, cabbage and tomato. Panuchos, $5 each, are crispy and chewy refried tortillas topped with refried beans, pickled red onion, cabbage and tomato. Both are served with tortilla chips.

Before Yuca Tacos took over, a number of different restaurants occupied the Chug Pub kitchen. When the last restraunter moved to the Pacific Northwest, Chug Pub owner, Tim Choy presented the idea for Mexican food to his bar staff. Valencia took him up on it.

“I was the bar back and Tim asked me to cook, now I’m here every day but Sunday.  Then Tim is back there cooking,” Valencia said.

“Tim is always open to new ideas,” Pon said. “We try to switch it up every few years to become a destination for food. We rent out the kitchen to different cooks, but we still have the main bar food that’s the most popular.”  

The menu also offers chicken wings for $8, garlic cheese bread affordably priced at $4 and garlic fries for $7.

Chug Pub also has a variety of arcade games, a giant Jenga set, multiple televisions  tuned to different sporting events, free pool on Sundays and a weekday happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. with $3 beers and $3 well drinks.

“I’m pretty sure it’s the best happy hour around here,” said Ben Thompson, a bartender at Chug Pub, Tiki Haven and Neck of the Woods.

 

Chug Pub serves tacos, salbutues (puffed deep fried tortillas topped with pickled red onion, cabbage and tomato), garlic cheese bread, and beer at Chug Pub on Monday, February 13, 2017 (Aaron Levy-Wolins/Xpress).

Ben Thompson, 42, mixes a drink for a customer at Chug Pub on Monday, February 13, 2017 (Aaron Levy-Wolins/Xpress).