As you can see by their website, Little Branch is fairly no-nonsense. With bar rules (Rule #6: Don’t bring anyone here who you wouldn’t leave alone in your home.) and $12 drinks, it’s not quite no-frills either. It’s in the details that Little Branch succeeds.
Once inside, the speak-easy atmosphere, the professional staff and the extremely knowledgeable bartenders won me over nearly immediately. The cash-only tabs are totaled on vintage cash registers and run up by suspender wearing bartenders. Hand-chipped ice in various sizes is used in drinks to ensure that your drink never becomes too watery by the time you get to the end of it. Homemade bitters, fresh squeezed fruits, and specific liquors are all used in creating your specific request.
On the menu is “Bartender’s Choice”–and you are encouraged to choose this as an option. After a brief conversation with the bartender about your mood, your preferences of liquor and mixers, etc, they recommend a drink. If it sounds good then they make it with all the professionalism you would imagine from an anal-retentive butler. They don’t embellish the process unnecessarily–no flourishes, throws or spins. Everything that is done seems to be for the good of the drink.
After a while, I noticed the bartenders dipping straws into the drinks and removing them. I realized that they were capping off a sample of each drink to make sure it was quality. That sort of detail ensures that whatever you are being served, the bartender is aware of the quality of the drink.
The drinks themselves are extremely well crafted. Poured and measured to exacting amounts, no drink was too bitter, too alcoholic or too sweet. Balance is key. My friend and I ended up ordering, among other things, a Southside Fizz, Tom Collins (made with Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, the original Tom of Tom Collins), a Cucumber Fix (3/4 simple sugar syrup, 3/4 lemon juice, 2 gin) and a Bourbon Sour (made with egg white).
Go here in good company for a pleasant evening of earnestly made drinks. Here’s to Little Branch, ‘cheers’.