The people behind the popular San Francisco speakeasy Bourbon and Branch went across the bay to Berkeley earlier this year to open their first bar on the East Bay called Tupper and Reed.
Tupper and Reed is right in the heart of downtown Berkeley on Shattuck Avenue in the former Beckett’s space. The two-level bar retained much of the dark wood stylings of Beckett’s, which always had that slightly dive bar environment. But while Beckett served basic classic cocktails, Tupper and Reed continues the reputation of owners Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton of Future Bars, offering an exhaustive menu of fresh approaches to classic drinks and a slew of specially made cocktails.
I visited recently with my nephew and niece who were visiting, and it was also my nephew’s birthday (we went for cocktails since we had a late reservation at Chez Panisse). While the lower bar offers a good selection of cocktails, the second floor offers an extensive book of cocktails, and reservations are required to sit upstairs. Although we had reservations, I felt like we really didn’t need it because hardly anyone was drinking upstairs. So I felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
Our server was extremely helpful as she guided us through the various sections of the cocktail menu (with flights in the back). I ended up trying two drinks, the Revolver, which actually isn’t on the upstairs menu but I had read about it being the signature drink at Bourbon and Branch and wanted to try it. (I think it was the note of coffee liqueur in this bourbon drink that made me want to try it, and it was indeed a nice fullness because of the coffee.) The second was Billy Goat’s Gruff, a Scotch drink that just had a fun name.
My nephew tried the Pied Piper and he later had a Mezcal flight that seemed dangerous because all three glasses were very high in alcohol. My niece tried a creamy drink called the Leggo Brick.
Side note: This is strictly a bar; there is no food program or small bites.
Most drinks are about $9 or $10, which is a lot cheaper than specialty cocktail prices in the city. Even though there’s a sophisticated touch to the cocktails, Tupper and Reed feels very homey, like it’s been there for years.
The deets: Tupper and Reed, 2271 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. PH: 510.859.4472. Open Monday to Tuesday, 5 p.m to 2 a.m.; and Wednesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Closed Sunday. Reservations required for second floor menu. Major credit cards accepted. www.tupperandreed.com
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