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View Full Version : Bourbon and Branch Bar - San Francisco



RichWNJ
01-17-2007, 15:43
Had a chance to visit the Boubon and Branch bar in San Francisco this week after reading about it in several magazines. It is a great cocktail bar with a great selection of whiskey and bourbon.

Any bar that has a rule about not even thinking about ordering a "cosmo" and that proudly boasts that the only Canadian whiskey they have is Crown XR is ok in my book

The bar fashions itselft a "speakeasy" . You have to obtain reservations via email and are given a password. When you arrive at the bar (in a pretty seedy part of San Fran), there are no markings on the door, just a sign reading "Anti-Saloon" league. You knock on the door, it opens slightly and you give the password to be allowed entry. Ok, a little kitchy but gets you in the mood

The bar itself is dark, with red wallpaper with small tables for intimate conversation. No food is served, just drinks and since you need reservations, everyone has a seat and there is no "rush" at the bar.

All the classis cocktails are prepared here. Whiskey cocktails, champagne cocktails, Rum, Gin, Vodka Tequila. The bartenders take great care in building the drink just right. I overhead them refusing to make certain variations that were ordered as "that is not how that drink is made"

They did have a pretty good selection of Boubons and Whiskey's althought nothing I couldn't get from mailorder. or a good liquor store in Jersey. They had Pappy 20yr, Hirsh 16, the new Stagg, Black Maple hill 23 and others that I do not recall. They had about 5 different Rye's including the pappy 13 and the BMH. They had a large selection of single malts and judging by the price of the pour (some up to $95), they seem to be relatively rair

the whiskey cocktails where made with Old Overhalt Rye. I personally had a Sazerac, a Negroni and a 1794 (thier own invention - Rye, Campari, Sweet Vermouth (they use Vya) )

I also had some sips of the Stagg

The bartender was real friendly and engaged in intellegent conversation about boubons and whiskey's and watching them build the drinks is impressive.

cocktails were around $10 each. pours of the higher end spirits where higher

highly recommended.

http://www.bourbonandbranch.com/

barturtle
01-17-2007, 17:33
Damn, I saw that Anti Saloon League sign when I was in San Francisco last month, even pointed it out to Doug while we were out hunting...oh, well

HighTower
01-18-2007, 02:46
That's awesome. I'd like to dress up like a gangster and go there...
I'm interested Rich if you tried the Crown XR, and if it is all its made out to be, or if it is all just hype. I have a bottle, and the seal was damaged in transit, so I ripped it off. I've smelt it, smells fantastic, but haven't been brave (drunk) enough to try it.

Scott

scratchline
01-18-2007, 05:47
No disrespect intended to Old Overholt, but if that's the house pour on a classic cocktail, it had better be an old dusty stock of 100 proof. A far better choice would be the Rittenhouse Bonded. Not only would it make a better cocktail, but 10 dollars a pop should bring a higher octane.

-Mike

RichWNJ
01-18-2007, 05:56
I did not try the XR, but it is on my list the next time I stop by

Gillman
01-18-2007, 07:12
I've had the XR and it's a excellent product. It has a rich full well-balanced oak-driven taste and I found the other day, after a lingering cold disappeared, it even had a hint of straight rye flavor (that aged violets-type taste and smell). That must be the flavoring whisky component. Personally, I think the price is high, and a lot of it must be going for the luxury packaging. There are other well-aged Canadian whiskies in the market for much less money. But XR has its own taste (the classic CR taste - just more of it and deeper) and there really isn't anything I can think of in the market that is quite like it. That said, it is not of course straight rye which is simply a different category completely.

Gary

BobA
01-18-2007, 10:07
No disrespect intended to Old Overholt, but if that's the house pour on a classic cocktail, it had better be an old dusty stock of 100 proof. A far better choice would be the Rittenhouse Bonded. Not only would it make a better cocktail, but 10 dollars a pop should bring a higher octane.

-Mike

That surprised me too. I respect Old Overholt for what it is, but it's not what should be the house pour in a bar seemingly dedicated to a "true" cocktail experience. Rittenhouse may not be available in CA (it's not in GA), but I'd have thought WT rye would be there. I realize they've got to make a living, but that seems an odd corner to cut. At least it's a rye.

Rich, thanks for the review. I'l have look it up if in town.

Bob

Sweetmeats
01-18-2007, 10:57
Rittenhouse BIB is now available at Bevmo in California. I have a hard time spending 19.99 for it though when Binny's has it for 11.99.

barturtle
10-11-2007, 19:42
I'll be in San Francisco next week anyone want to meet me here? I think it could be a fun place to visit