Inside the Bourbon & Branch Guys' First East Bay Bar
Just two months after opening The Devil's Acre in North Beach, the Bourbon & Branch dudes are at it AGAIN, and this time in the East Bay, where they've both revived one of Berkeley's best drinking spots (the old Beckett's on Shattuck) and added what might be its best cocktail bar in Tupper & Reed.
Built in 1925, Tupper & Reed's nearly 100-year-old space (designed by a Cal grad) originally housed a music store called, yup, Tupper & Reed, one of the reasons you'll see old-school phonographs throughout the bi-level space, which will also play host to small jazz ensembles. Because, classy.
While they'll share a 45-cocktail menu (that will expand to somewhere around 60), its upstairs and downstairs bars will be divided up into two pretty different spaces: the downstairs bar will offer a pared-down version of the drinks list -- at the bar or, for the fireplace-featuring lounge area, via a server -- and the upstairs will remain a very Bourbon-and-Branch-y, reservations-required space.
As for the drinks themselves, there are two things you need to know: 1) most of the drinks are $10 OR LESS (wuuuuuuuuuuuuuut??!?!?!?!?!?!?), and 2) they range from classic (Pimm's Cup, Corpse Reviver, Sidecar) to awesomely less classic, like The Pied Piper (blended Scotch, Cynar, pineapple gomme, lemon, absinthe) and The Leggo Brick (El Dorado 12-Year, lemon, pineapple gomme, egg white, peach bitters, vanilla-almond black tea tincture), which all have a menu note on who created them.
Don't like your cocktails mixed with pineapple gomme? The spirits list is 300-strong, there're three beers on tap, and there're three PUNCHES on tap -- plus there're 10 spirits flights for sampling. Mmm... sampling...
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Grant Marek is a Senior Editor at Thrillist and he drank infinite glasses of whiskey at Beckett's when he was an undergrad at Cal. Follow him on Twitter @grant_marek.