First Look Inside Tradition, the New Bar From the Bourbon & Branch Folks
It’s a pretty sweet space.

Yesterday, we told you about Tradition (441 Jones Street at O’Farrell), the newest bar in the Future Bars/Destination Bars empire that also includes Bourbon & Branch and the new Local Edition. It’s a big space, bigger even than Rickhouse, with a grand central bar and a line of nine snugs (wood-walled booths) along one wall. Today we bring you the first look inside the space, along with those snugs, which will be reservation-only starting Tuesday. As co-owner Brian Sheehy explains, snugs were a tradition in pubs in the British Isles going back to the nineteenth century, and the snugs were where the women were sat upon entering the bar. “They’d have table service from a bartender,” Sheehy explains, “and they wouldn’t have to mingle with the men in the actual pub, which of course wouldn’t be proper.”

Many bars would have just one or two snugs near the door, and after women gained their equality, as Sheehy explains, “Most bars kept the snugs, and they became the best seats in the house. You wouldn’t have to get bumped and jostled in the bar, and usually they still have table service.”

Tradition has nine snugs which will be the places to experience the larger menu portion of what the bar has to offer. (A limited menu will be available all the time around the main bar and at an upstairs mezzanine bar, as well as a house selection of 50 blended spirits, all barrel-aged in-house, including things like Bushmills aged in Oloroso sherry casks — something that Bushmills themselves is doing, but it’s taking them three years. “It only takes us three months,” Sheehy says.) Each snug has a different theme, and in each you can order from a menu that includes all eight themes, each relating to a different tradition that has influenced American bar culture. Those themes: Irish Pub, English Pub, Scottish Pub, Grand Hotel, Speakeasy, the Big Easy, Tiki, and American Dive Bar. Ultimately, they’ll be adding a ninth theme (there are currently two Scottish snugs), which will be either German or French.

The idea, as the menu states, is that the American bar, like the country itself “has become a melting pot of differences,” and the menu is meant to be a journey through those influences and styles.

Take a look at the bar, the snugs, and some of the cool vintage liquor advertising that the team has collected to decorate the snugs. Make reservations for snugs here (reservations don’t begin until Tuesday, but they’re being accepted as of today), or stop on by just to check the place out.

Tradition - 441 Jones Street at O’Farrell - Open Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m., closed Sunday

Earlier: Tradition, a New Temple of Cocktails, Opens in the Former Mr. Lew’s

You can see the mezzanine level at the rear of the bar.
The snugs are all along the left side of the bar as you walk in.
A vintage ad from William Jameson Irish-American whiskey — something that disappeared with Prohibition, and was a blend of Irish and American whiskeys, from the brother of John Jameson who kept his whiskey in Europe and founded the brand we know today. It was aimed at Irish-American consumers who wanted a taste of home, but was actually made primarily with American rye.
Here you can order Shlitz, and get drinks like a twist on the frozen margarita, and the Surfer on Acid (rum, Ron Zacapa, Averna, lemon, pineapple, gum syrup, and coconut marmalade). “Everyone turned up their nose at the frozen drinks some ten years ago or so,” says Sheehy. “But I don’t know anyone who doesn’t drink them when they’re on vacation.”
A vintage Pabst ad in the Dive Bar snug.
The upstairs bar will feature the 50 house-blended spirits, made only in one barrel each. When they run out, that’s it.
A couple examples from the house-aged spirit program: Bushmills aged in an Oloroso sherry cask; Redbreast 12-year Irish whiskey aged in a Guinness cask; and Flor de Cana rum aged in a Pinot Noir barrel.
First Look Inside Tradition, the New Bar From the Bourbon & Branch Folks