This guest post was submitted by my friend Bill Rowland of The Cocktail Novice.
If you’re looking for a casual spot to have a couple cocktails and a meal, then Northern Liberties’ Bourbon and Branch should be right up your alley. On a recent Thursday night a friend and I dropped in to see what this spot is all about and we walked away vowing to come back.
Concept: Whiskey Bar
Occupying the former Liberties Restaurant location at 2nd & Fairmount, Bourbon and Branch http://bourbonandbranchphilly.com/ opened early last spring. Offering 70 different types of Whiskey, a bunch of craft beers, a handful of tasty cocktail selections and a gastropub menu, I think just about anyone can find something that appeals to them.
As every neighborhood local should be, the interior is warm and inviting with plenty of wood and an attractive bar. While there are the obligatory TVs, thankfully they don’t overwhelm the bar and overall it just looks and feels comfortable. Upstairs there’s a space devoted to live music and although I didn’t see it I think that Bourbon and Branch also has outdoor seating.
Whiskey Tasting Menu
One of the prime motivators for my visit was B & B’s Whiskey selection and I was surprised to learn that they have a tasting menu! Having recently become more interested in cocktails, I’ve been on an experimentation kick and I thought that trying a couple different Bourbons before actually buying them would be a wise idea. Needless to say, I was able to have a couple 1 oz. pours without getting totally tanked and spending a buttload of money.
On my next visit, I think I’ll have the bartender set up a flight of three different whiskeys to compare and contrast.
Cocktail Menu with a Hook
Since most people aren’t overly familiar with the classic cocktails, the drink menu at Bourbon and Branch will lure you in. Placed inside the pages of classic children’s books, the drink lineup includes classics like the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan and the Whiskey Sour, as well as some other concoctions like Liberties Lemonade (white whiskey), Flaming Ricky (Infused Gin) and other stuff for the more adventurous. Certainly if the clever menu doesn’t catch your interest, the range of drinking possibilities surely will.
Tasty Food Options
The menu looks pretty solid too, although I didn’t have a full meal. Covering everything from snacks to full meals, it’s actually kinda overwhelming, but I’m sure that any hungry diner will find something that appeals to them. A quick look as some online reviews suggests that overall most people feel that the food is good, but as with any restaurant there have been a few negative experiences. Regardless I’m looking forward to checking it out myself. Being a little more adventurous, I’m looking forward to trying the Pork Belly Bahn Mi and the Tikka Masala Seitan (just because it’s there).
While we were there, we had a couple simple appetizers and both were tasty: Cheddar & Parmesan Dip and the Cajun Boudin.
Sweet Happy Hour Too
Unfortunately I managed to miss Happy Hour, but by all accounts Bourbon and Branch has a good one. Monday through Friday from 5 – 7 they offer half price drafts, $5 cocktails and $5 appetizers which sound like a solid deal to me. Tuesday is Boozeday where it’s extended until 11pm so you might want to mark that one on your calendar.
If you get to Northern Liberties and you’re looking for a casual spot to have a couple drinks with friends, Bourbon and Branch is the ticket. For the cocktail-inclined it offers a wealth of possibilities, while the food menu provides enough options to interest just about anyone. I definitely look forward to going back.
Suburban adventurer, beer lover and blogger, Bill Rowland has a variety of interests. Most recently he’s been learning about cocktails and documenting his progress on The Cocktail Novice http://thecocktailnovice.com/. Give him a shout, or follow Bill on Twitter https://twitter.com/billrowland
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