Bourbon & Branch's new side project, a tiny speakeasy within a large speakeasy, is decorated in a 1930s gumshoe theme and requires online reservations and a password. Its bartenders have become cooks in their own right, brewing and infusing and stewing and concocting, taking ownership of the drink in ways we never imagined in the vodka-cran age. While the Wilson's cocktails can be ordered à la carte, the preferred mode is to consume them as a tasting menu - aperitif, "main," digestif - or a $40 punch for four, served in a silver teapot. You don't go to the Wilson for a drink. You go for a liquid dinner.
For a self-proclaimed speakeasy, Bourbon & Branch isn't difficult to find. Arriving on the corner of Jones and O'Farrell with a password committed to memory, I could locate the door by the line of people pointing toward it. Every now and again, a... More »