Breaking the Ice

By Michael BenningerPhoto by Paul Body

On July 30, after 18 months in the works, Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen cracked open its doors on the corner of Sixth and Market in the Gaslamp (across the street from Side Bar). Sporting simple décor, modern fixtures and an airy atmosphere, this raw bar and oyster lounge has a spacious dining room and topflight kitchen that serves up Asian-American cuisine. But the mouth-watering menu is just the tip of the iceberg.

At the heart of Blush is the bar’s namesake drink, which spawned the restaurant’s sister (and original) location in San Jose. Blush Cocktails, aka Blushies, are refreshing, fruit-forward libations featuring a flurry of blended ice floating above seriously spirited sips.

“Blush cocktails are built just like any other handcrafted cocktails - plus frosted ice,” says Taylor Kim, the inventor of the icy intoxicant and a co-owner of both Blush locations. “The frosted ice itself contains no alcohol, however we’re generous in our pour, and our fans enjoy that.”

The bar offers 14 signature Blush cocktails, including glacial takes on many traditional drinks - like the BGT, a Blush Gin and Tonic. “On top of that, our Build-Your-Own-Blush menu allows visitors to get interactive and create their own concoctions,” says Kim. “The combinations are endless.”

While the scorching September sun radiates from the concrete jungle, this wintry treat will help downtown denizens keep their cool, especially during Blush’s happy hours (weekdays from 3 - 6 p.m.), when oysters are only a buck a shuck; the two-dozen beers on tap are all half-price; and the frigid, fruit-laden drinks are just $5 apiece. Looking to cool down during the weekends? Brunch at Blush and chill out to rhythmic reggae beats or live, local musicians. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

555 Market St., Gaslamp