Sidebar looks gorgeous, with its modern lounge, copper-accented horseshoe bar, and a view of Lake Merritt across Grand Avenue. Judging by the superpacked bar, it’s filling a niche as a more upscale neighborhood joint to grab a drink and a bite. While mostly good, the food tends to lack the guilty, fat pleasure of real comfort food, and fails to achieve the subtlety of a more gourmet menu. A three-cheese panini with pesto sauce was tasty and comforting. An Atlantic cod stew was healthy and fresh, but the broth lacked any deep seafood taste or spice. However, the two-day brined pork chops with balsamic glaze worked well. Sidebar cocktails shine: martinis and Manhattans, as well as more exotic options like a pisco sour. The bar offers each drink as a classic or a locavore (made with local products, such as Hangar One, and ingredients). Dinner Mon.–Sat., lunch Mon.–Fri.