A "Hobson's Choice" is an old English term which means you only have one option, take it or leave it. While the Victorian-style Hobson's Choice Bar has a bevy of beverages on the menu, there's really only one option: fantastic drinks.A Hobson’s Choice is thinking you have options, when you really only have one. The term dates way back to an English stable owner who, in order to rotate the use of his horses, would offer riders the horse in the stall near the door, or nothing at all. At Victorian punch house Hobson’s Choice, in the Haight, there a ton of drink options on the menu, including a gargantuan shareable punch bowl that could quench a horse’s thirst (and get him really wasted). But even though it might seem like Hobson’s Choice is offering you a bevy of beverage options, they’ve slyly provided you with one main choice, no matter what you select, and that’s guaranteed lip-smacking, rum-based cocktails.
The sign on the window says “Victorian,” but one foot through the door and you’ll get a sense of the general theme on your own. The red chairs and small, round wooden tables (about the size of a punch bowl, you might say) give Hobson’s Choice an old timey, parlory, saloon feel, almost to the point that you expect to see a boa-wrapped lady of the evening posted up near a piano that’s cranking out some Charlie Chaplin-esque music. The cocktail list here has an undeniable tropical vibe thanks to ingredients like Cruzan coconut and banana rums, pineapple and lime juice and blue Curaçao. Drinks like the Barbados Punch, made with Bacardi spiced rum, Cruzan orange rum, lime and pineapple juice and Cruzan pineapple rum and the June Bug, Midori, Cruzan coconut and banana rums, pineapple juice and sweet and sour are a nice taste of what Hobson’s has to offer, but when else can you get a Prom-worthy punch bowl filled with your choice of three different kinds of punch? Yes, people, the punch bowls are where it’s at.
Ladies and gentlemen, your choices are: Victorian Punch – silver, coconut and pineapple rums, cranberry and pineapple juice. GoGo Punch – raspberry, citrus and silver rums, organic lemonade, pineapple juice and a splash of ginger. House Punch – silver rum, mango, orange and pineapple juice. See? Sometimes having one choice is a good thing, especially when it comes to trying to pick between scrumptious bowls of booze.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – Cruzan pineapple & vanilla rums, lime & pineapple juice, $7.50
Bahama Mama – Cruzan banana & coconut rums, Kahlua, pineapple juice, sweet & sour, $7.50
Zombie – Cruzan light rum, Brugal gold rum, Whaler’s dark rum, lemon & pineapple juice, $8
Dark & Stormy – Gosling’s black seal rum & ginger beer, $6.50
House Punch Bowl, $30
Mon. – Fri., 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Sat., noon to 2 a.m.
Sun., 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.