Pub naming is an exercise in obscurity. Combine two usually unrelated, but whimsical words—The Rugged Beaver, Bog N’ Porridge, The Goat’s Goggles—and you have a memorable christening fit for a quaint neighborhood hangout. But this inventiveness in nomenclature rings phony when it’s not rooted in history.

Enter the nascent pub Timber and Salt. The name comes from the pre-tech era, when Redwood City established itself as a busy port for the lumber and salt industries. The raw wood accents, plaid shirts of the waitstaff and dim, vintage light fixtures suggest an old-timey mountain watering hole, but the clean lines, ambient beats and absence of spittoons gives the bar a globalized take on nifty cocktails and comfort food.

I ordered the Jalisco Collins ($10), a lime/tequila take on Tom’s version of the drink. The agave and citrus slid naturally into each other over the cool fizzes of club soda and the herby strength of Becherovka. Other whistle-whetters included the combo of vodka, aperol and pineapple gomme in the Rio Star ($10) and the benedictine, bonded bourbon and New Orleans coffee liqueur mixed in the Big Easy ($10).

Food-wise, an excellent option is the deconstructed Ham and Cheese ($7). Crackly dinner rolls gave way to an airy inner web of gooey dough infused with melted sharp cheddar. The puffs came flanked by the house-made bacon jam that tasted like pureed black forest ham. Then, I took on the pulled pork sandwich. The slow-cooked strands seeped into the soft, toasted buns with their sweet, jerky flavor. Balancing this heaviness, chefs Derek Burns and Joshua Regal call upon kimchi, traditional Korean cabbage that is fermented in ginger, concentrated seafood sauce and hot peppers.

Timber and Salt’s menu is versatile. Starters range from hot-and-sour, dry fry wings ($11) to the ritzy Foie Gras Tart Tatin ($19). Entrees run from the bacon-jam-blessed burger ($16) to the stuffed Chicken Jamon with grits and roasted brussel sprouts ($21). The gourmet end of the menu features Prime Rib Steak and Potato Mousseline ($42).There are cocktail tables and a long L-shaped bar for the after-work crowd, and an ample dining section.

Hipstery, retro places have sprung up like crabgrass to meet the demand for home quality pub grub, but Timber and Salt stands out by genuinely embracing Redwood City’s past to hint at a brighter, tastier future.

Timber and Salt
881 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City.