Bourbon & Branch is not a restaurant per se, but it deserves a review anyway. Tucked in a corner of the Tenderloin in San Francisco, it’s not exactly the first neighborhood you’d think of when in the mood for a swanky cocktail. But keeping a low public profile is all part of Bourbon & Branch’s ruse, so much so that there isn’t a sign for it outside their door, and their website doesn’t even have an address listed. To visit, you must either make a reservation well in advance to take advantage of their full bar, or if you’re pressed for time, you can visit their “library,” provided you have the password to enter.
All of this sounds a little pretentious, I know, but the mystery is part of the fun. Plus, their drinks are really, really good. I shared a few cocktails with a group of friends one Friday night.
Photography isn’t allowed but I discreetly snapped a photo of my Pomegranate-Ginger, made up of gin and freshly-squeezed pomegranate, lime and ginger juices. It was sweeter than I expected, but not overwhelmingly so.
I wanted something less sugary for my next drink, so I ordered The Elderflower, which uses an elderflower liqueur, sparkling wine, bitters and lemon peel. It was slightly tart, fresh tasting, and hands-down my favorite drink of the evening.
If you want to pretend you’re in a 1920s speakeasy for an evening and try some wonderfully unique drinks, then Bourbon & Branch is your place. There may hoops to jump through just to get in, but the relaxed atmosphere and delicious libations make it well worth the effort.