When lifelong Ingleside resident Miles Escobedo, 27, began thinking about opening his own business two years ago, he never considered any other neighborhood.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Escobedo said. “It’s always frustrated me that people in the Ingleside had to go elsewhere for dining and night life, and that The Ave and Randy’s Place were the only places open after 10 p.m.”
After two years working long hours as manager of Chomp N’ Swig, a Clement Street bar and restaurant, Miles’ father Johnny Escobedo, suggested that maybe now was the time to fulfill his dream.
“If you’re going to work that hard, you might as well work for yourself,” Johnny Escobedo said.
Now, Escobedo and partners Daniel Silberman and Eric Almazan have opened Ocean Ale House, a bar and restaurant they believe will help transform the Ocean Avenue commercial corridor into a destination for local dining and entertainment.
Ocean Ale House fits the classic definition of a family business. Unable to secure bank loans, Escobedo, Silberman and Almanzan convinced their parents become investors. The families and the partners provided all of the extensive labor and materials needed to transform the chaotic space they inherited into an attractive and welcoming environment for their patrons.
Miles and his fiancée’s father built the bar top, while Daniel’s father, Lou Silberman, and Johnny Escobedo built the stage that is about one-foot high and occupies an area of 64-square feet. Miles’ mother, Leigh Escobedo, did the upholstery and worked on the kitchen.
Daniel and Miles have been close friends since their days as students at School of the Arts High School in San Francisco. Miles was a drummer and has performed in several heavy metal and rock bands. His father, the guitarist and lead singer for El Guajiro, a local Cuban band, passed his musical knowledge to his son.
Silberman grew up in Montara in San Mateo County and played the euphonium, a tuba-like instrument in high school. He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in ethnomusicology. For two years he worked with Almanzan as a barbecue chef at the Magnolia Smokestack restaurant in the Dogpatch neighborhood.
Miles, a City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State alumnus, taught at four different charter schools in the city and worked briefly in sales before his two-year stint at Chomp N’ Swig. He and Daniel brewed their own beer. Miles is the designated beer and wine expert, while Daniel is in charge of the kitchen. They describe the current menu as “traditional pub food with a twist, and our food and drink menu will be continuously evolving.”
Almanzan, born and raised in Sacramento, has a degree in marketing from San Francisco State. He has been involved in the marketing aspect of the business and has assisted in the kitchen. The spicy chicken adobo wings was his contribution to the menu. He credits his Filipino grandmother as the inspiration for his love of cooking. He now works for a tech company that recently transferred him to the Philippines.
Miles, Daniel and Eric take great pride in the fact that all of their ingredients are fresh.
“We don’t freeze any of our food and all the meat is ground the same day we serve it,” Escobedo said. “Our vegetables are locally grown, and we get our order of fresh bread delivered daily.”
If Ocean Ale House has a signature dish at this early stage, it would the “hangover cure,” a house-ground breakfast sausage blended with pork shoulder and smoked bacon. Other ingredients include homemade American cheese, caramelized red onions and arugula on a sliced brioche. This item is available only on weekend brunches.
Escobedo also made sure that their craft beers receive tender loving care to ensure the best quality. “We customized and modified our refrigerators for just the right temperature and pressure levels,” he emphasizes. The bar displays an impressive array of various glasses that are matched with specific beers. Although the wines are currently served only by the glass, bottles of wine will soon be available.
Miles acknowledges that opening the business was initially very stressful. “I had to do a lot of community outreach and attended a lot of meetings with local merchants and other neighborhood groups to address any concerns they might have about what we were trying to do. For the most part, we got a lot of support,” he reports.
The decor of Ocean Ale House has a strong marine motif. Local artist Eli Lippert created a stunning seascape mural that extends the entire length of the physical space and goes from the floor to within a few feet of the ceiling. A surfboard that lists the names of every beer on tap hangs on one of the walls.
Miles is gratified that the Ale House is being so warmly received by their patrons. “I really believe that we’re offering something that Ingleside residents haven’t had before: a place for late night dining, drinking, and entertainment close to home,” Miles says.
If the large, enthusiastic crowd at the official opening on May 19 is a sign of things to come, then the future looks bright for Ocean Ale House.
Ocean Ale House is located at 1314 Ocean Ave.