Bourbon and Branch is a bar located on Jones Street where SOMA meets the Tenderloin. Those coming and going from Bourbon and Branch do so quietly; this is because this isn’t any bar. Bourbon and Branch is a speakeasy that transports you to the early 1920s during the era of Prohibition. This bar’s theme isn’t far off of the mark historically. Bourbon and Branch’s location once housed an actual speakeasy that operated continuously in San Francisco from the Jones Street location since the late 1800s.
In keeping with the speakeasy theme, you must give a password at the door in order to be let into Bourbon and Branch. The speakeasy runs on a reservation-only system, and reservations can be made online or over the phone. Once inside, you move through a dimly lit space with rich red tones and reclaimed brick, buoyed by the sounds of hushed voices and clinking glasses. The house rules at Bourbon and Branch are simple: no cellphones, don’t crowd the bar, and order an adult beverage that features the finest bourbon, whiskey, rum, tequila, or scotch. Cosmopolitan lovers will not find solace here. Above all, the house rule to follow at Bourbon and Branch is to “speak easy,” meaning to comport oneself without attracting too much attention.
If you want to enjoy the turn-of-the-century atmosphere of Bourbon and Branch but haven’t made reservations, you are still in luck: Bourbon and Branch operates another bar just around the corner called the Library with a door at O’Farrell. Find the unmarked door and share the password “books” to gain entrance. The Library is standing room only, but still offers the same ambiance as the main bar, with the addition of tomes from the Prohibition Era lining the walls. The Library is open 7 days a week.
Kylie Hicks is a Bay Area Native. She enjoys karaoke, trips to wine country, and discovering good eats in the City.