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With its heavy Asian population, it’s no surprise that San Francisco finds itself at the center of the current sake revival. But even the Italians are getting in on the action at the futuristic Sake Lab (415-837-0228, www.sakelab.com), a bar and restaurant completely devoted to the Japanese rice wine that is drawing crowds in the traditionally Italian neighborhood of North Beach. Completely decked out in chrome everything, this futuristic destination goes to great lengths to educate hip patrons on the subtle nuances of some 40 Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo, and Nigori varieties available by the bottle. Along with the opening of True Sake in Hayes Valley (415-355-9555, www.truesake.com), America’s first sake store, San Franciscans have caught the sake buzz big-time.
— Kevin Raub