Thad Vogler

Mixologist

San Francisco

As both the owner of San Francisco’s Bar Agricole and a recognized spirits authority, Thad Vogler has taken his Ivy League education and thirst for travel to revolutionize the connection between mixology and agriculture. The Northern California native designed, opened and managed bars at several highly acclaimed Bay Area venues, including Camino and The Slanted Door. Extensive travel through Cuba and Paris influenced him to become interested in farmstead rum production, especially in the Caribbean, where rum is distilled directly from sugar cane. Vogler opened Bar Agricole in 2010, and his farm-based spirit program earned him a 2012 James Beard nomination for the first Outstanding Bar Program category.

  • On October 30, 2012
    Thad Vogler answered the question: Thad Vogler

    What are Thad Vogler’s favorite restaurants?

    The place I always go in Paris is just a lunch counter called Chez Jeannette. You get a ham sandwich and a coffee, and it has 30-foot ceilings in a 200-year-old interior. It’s where workmen go for their coffee and cigarettes or their ham sandwich. It’s a working-class type of place. I think it’s in the 10th Arrondissement. You can’t go to Paris without finding your own equivalent of that place. Americans are so obsessed with “the best.” What I love about Paris is that it’s all good, and you’re kind of free.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Thad Vogler answered the question: Thad Vogler

    What are Thad Vogler’s favorite hotels?

    I love Hotel Nacional in Havana. It’s just a beautiful example of colonial architecture. It has this courtyard that looks out over the ocean, with rows of palm trees and wicker sofas. You can sit and read a book, or even have a cigar and just look out over the ocean.
     
    I love turn-of-the-century hotels. We usually do an apartment swap now in Paris. My favorite hotel in the world, though I’ve never stayed there, is The Ritz [currently closed for renovation]. Each room is decorated independently.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Thad Vogler answered the question: Thad Vogler

    What are Thad Vogler’s favorite hotels?

    I love Hotel Nacional in Havana. It’s just a beautiful example of colonial architecture. It has this courtyard that looks out over the ocean, with rows of palm trees and wicker sofas. You can sit and read a book, or even have a cigar and just look out over the ocean.
     
    I love turn-of-the-century hotels. We usually do an apartment swap now in Paris. My favorite hotel in the world, though I’ve never stayed there, is The Ritz [currently closed for renovation]. Each room is decorated independently.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Thad Vogler answered the question: Thad Vogler

    What are Thad Vogler's favorite cities to visit?

    I go to Havana about once a year, and it’s just an amazing city. Like every great city, it’s got an unbelievable sense of place. Architecturally, it’s kind of a time warp — if you can imagine development stopping in 1959, and endless innovation and maintenance with very little resources. Everything is sort of beautifully decayed, but also perfectly representative of that period, of the late 1950s. And also, in the 19th century and early 20th century, it was a grand city, very Parisian in layout. It has the same feel as New Orleans with those avenues of row houses with balconies and three and four-story architecture along avenues.
     
    There are a few bars there that I’m really drawn to there. They are immaculate jewels that operate the way they were in the 50s and even before. The bar Floridita is my favorite bar in the world. It’s been operating continuously for 100 years in downtown Havana. They still wear the same waistcoats, and they still make drinks in very much the same way. The bar in Hotel Nacional is the same way. There’s also a place called La Bodeguita [del Medio] in Old Havana — people claim it’s where the mojito was born.
     
    I also lived in Paris for a while. Paris is just awesome on the cellular level — you just can’t walk a block without encountering something beautiful or delicious.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Thad Vogler answered the question: Thad Vogler

    What are Thad Vogler's favorite cities to visit?

    I go to Havana about once a year, and it’s just an amazing city. Like every great city, it’s got an unbelievable sense of place. Architecturally, it’s kind of a time warp — if you can imagine development stopping in 1959, and endless innovation and maintenance with very little resources. Everything is sort of beautifully decayed, but also perfectly representative of that period, of the late 1950s. And also, in the 19th century and early 20th century, it was a grand city, very Parisian in layout. It has the same feel as New Orleans with those avenues of row houses with balconies and three and four-story architecture along avenues.
     
    There are a few bars there that I’m really drawn to there. They are immaculate jewels that operate the way they were in the 50s and even before. The bar Floridita is my favorite bar in the world. It’s been operating continuously for 100 years in downtown Havana. They still wear the same waistcoats, and they still make drinks in very much the same way. The bar in Hotel Nacional is the same way. There’s also a place called La Bodeguita [del Medio] in Old Havana — people claim it’s where the mojito was born.
     
    I also lived in Paris for a while. Paris is just awesome on the cellular level — you just can’t walk a block without encountering something beautiful or delicious.