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Bourbon & Branch - San Francisco Speakeasy - Secret Room - Password Required

Bourbon & Branch is a glimpse back on the 1920's and the era of Prohibition when the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverage was outlawed. You'll experience the ambiance of that time in an actual speakeasy that operated illegally at this location from 1921 to 1933. From 1921-1923 our address is listed in the San Francisco Telephone Directory of the day as "The Ipswitch - A Beverage Parlor". In 1923, an industrious young man by the name of John J. Russell purchased the business as a "going concern" with it's solid base of customers. With his connections to the most notorious bootleggers from Vancouver, BC., he operated his bar under the guise of "JJ Russell's Cigar Shop". He did not sell many cigars.

The speakeasy managed to avoid the attention of the governments Prohibition Agents for the remainder of prohibition. History was on JJ Russell's side, as it has been documented that a bar has operated at this Jones Street location since 1867. Our name comes from Branch Water a term first used in the 1800s referring to pure, clean water from a tiny stream called a "branch". An order for "bourbon and branch" is a nostalgic request for bourbon and water.

We have a set of house rules that everyone is expected to follow to maintain the "Speakeasy". The term comes from a patron's manner of ordering alcohol without raising suspicion - a bartender would tell a patron to be quiet and 'speak easy'.

The origin of the word predates Prohibition by at least 30 years. Samuel Hudson, a newspaperman in the late 19th century, said he heard the term used in Pittsburgh, PA. in the 1880s by an old Irish woman who sold liquor without a license. She told her clients to "spake-aisy" if they wanted to buy some. The Cassell Dictionary of Slang lists the word as coming into usage around 1890. The term "spake-aisy" was used even a century before this, where it referred to smugglers' hideouts.

The Hidden Book Room

In the 1920's there was always a place for the friends to have a drink and we have crafted a hidden location within Bourbon and Branch for you to stop by and have some of the best libations in town.

To sit down and enjoy our full menu, we recommend you plan ahead for a reservation in the main bar, but for sampling of our cocktails, join us in the library anytime 6pm-2am Wednesday through Saturday, without a reservation. Just ring the buzzer and use the password "books". You will be escorted to the secret location with floor to ceiling books from our favorite time.

Bourbon & Branch: bourbonandbranch.com/

There's also a speakeasy within the speakeasy called 'The Wilson.'

http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-06-22/restaurants/the-wilson-bourbon-and-branch-secret-bar-review-jonathan-kauffman/

#speakeasy #speakez #travel #sanfrancisco #bar #library #books +Book Porn Club

Images via/ http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/california/san-francisco/34208/bourbon-branch/nightlife-detail.html
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Miruna Corneanu's profile photoKaren Shackles's profile photoLia Navarro's profile photoSean Cowen's profile photo
5 comments
 
I'm like 10mins away from the city....thanks for the share.
 
+Lia Navarro It looks like a really fun time. Hope you have the chance to go. Apparently, one of the House Rules is no photography, but I've seen a few leaked shots, hint hint. ha!
 
Maybe i can sneak some in +Sean Cowen lol. I love the don't even ask for a cosmo rule.
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