Saturday, October 31, 2009
A Real Life Game of Clue
Of all the bars I’ve visited in San Francisco, none left quite an impression on me as Bourbon and Branch. The Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco does not usually conjure up images of elegant bars and high-class society. However, Bourbon and Branch delivers just that. Without being overly pretentious, the bar offers a range of high quality cocktails, a classy atmosphere, and top service. Bourbon and Branch is located on a regular street in the Tenderloin, and can be hard to find considering that the entrance is an unmarked metal door on an inconspicuous wall. A Bourbon and Branch bouncer stands nonchalantly a few feet away from the door. Unless you had the inside scoop, you'd think he was just a regular person, waiting around with all the other interesting folk for which the Tendorloin is infamous.
What lays beyond the metal door, however, is nothing close to what one usually finds in the rundown Tendorloin. The decor in Bourbon and Branch is reminiscent of 1930s swank and glam, with a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling, blood red walls, and a bar made from soft, dark wood. Bourbon and Branch looks like something straight out of a mystery novel. Indeed, when I discovered that the large bookcase looming against the back wall actually revolved around to reveal a hidden library, containing another bar, I felt like I was in a real-life game of "Clue"- It was the man with the top hat, in the library, with the knife! Or was it the woman in the red dress in the study with the gun?
Luckily for the patrons, the only real danger at Bourbon and Branch would be drinking too many of the delicious drinks. While priced a little higher than average, one sip of any drink from Bourbon and Branch makes you forget about the few extra dollars. Mixed expertly well, and with only the finest ingredients, Bourbon and Branch can boast some of the best drinks in San Francisco. A scotch on the rocks? How about a Glenmorangie Margaux Finish scotch(one of 1,200 bottles in the U.S.), or the Balvenie 1971? Just a couple examples of the quality you can expect and why Bourbon and Branch is worth the visit.
Originally, the location of Bourbon and Branch served as a real speakeasy from 1921-1933, during the time of alcohol prohibition. The current bar seeks to recreate the setting of an era when serving alcohol became a mysterious business. There is even a set of "house rules" that patrons are expected to follow, which include no cell phone use, no standing at the bar, and "don't even of asking for a Cosmo!". Unfortunately, taking pictures is also prohibited, so if you want to relay your experience of Bourbon and Branch to your friends, you'll have to take them there so they can see for themselves.