Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bourbon and Branch and Books

I've just begun a six month world adventure so from now on I'll be posting various pictures and literary snippets that I discover on my trip. They'll still be about all things bookish, but in a travelly type of way.  If you'd like to read more about the journey itself you can read my travel blog here.

I will first tell you about a little speakeasy I have discovered in San Francisco. I spent most of my first day here napping (I can't sleep on planes) before stumbling dazed and soporific onto the street.  There I met a nice man who told me about a covert drinking establishment just up the road. When he mentioned the password to enter (yes a password!) was "books" I naturally had to try out this intriguing watering hole.

Bourbon and Branch hides inside a dull grey building called the "Anti-Saloon League" (an actual organisation that lobbied for the prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century). Unfortunately it is now pictures that are prohibited inside the bar so I can't show you the gloriousness that confronted me when I was led through a secret passageway into a dim room simply crammed with books. And the door that opened this world of wicked delights? Why a book shelf of course. 

Once inside, candle light creates an illicit feel. It's complemented by wooden floors, wine barrels for tables, and cocktails named "revolver," "scoff law" and "French 75." I drank the latter - a tart concoction of lemon, gin and sparkling wine: mmm. The walls that aren't book-lined with old law tomes are covered in a decadent red velvet and a notice on the door asks guests to "speak easy" (a nod to the days of prohibition when such rooms were clandestine.)

Bourbon and Branch is situated on the corner of O'Farrell and Jones streets in the Tenderloin district. To enter, ring the bell, deliver the password and voila! You're transported back to the 1920s.

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