Best Speakeasy - 2007
Bourbon & Branch
Bourbon & Branch, the newish Tenderloin watering hole, is a speakeasy that's high on class and low on browbeating its demographic, despite its semi-private concept. The dark wood paneling and jazzy soundtrack make for a cool 1920s aesthetic transporting you away from the junkie wonderland out front. Make a reservation for booth seating (with its extensive, bourbon- and champagne-heavy cocktail menu and a password to get you through the front door) or sacrifice some personal space for the old-world charm of the back library. Regardless of your positioning, the spendy beverages are superb and the lack of snide-bouncer comments as refreshing as the elixirs mixed here. Just be sure to read the rules before you go no namedropping, no cellphones, and no ordering Cosmos.