Bourbon & Branch owner opens new bar in Downtown Berkeley

Tim Hyon/Staff

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The owner of San Francisco’s Bourbon & Branch opened a new bar in a historical building in Downtown Berkeley last week.

Tupper & Reed, owned by Future Bars, is located at 2271 Shattuck Ave. in a building that has been home to several businesses since opening its doors in 1925. The bar serves more than 500 different types of cocktails and spirits, including some original to the establishment. The bar also serves beer and wine.

The bar, Future Bars’ first establishment in the East Bay and seventh overall, has two floors. The first floor, called “The Stage,” is casual and open for walk-ins, while the second floor, called “The Balcony,” is reservation-only and features a full-service cocktail bar that serves a greater variety of drinks, according to Sevan Araneda, general manager of Tupper & Reed.

Tupper & Reed is named after the building’s first tenant, the Tupper & Reed music store, which opened in 1906 and moved to the building in 1925, according to Araneda. In homage to the original tenants, his bar is permeated with music-themed decorations and references, antique musical instruments and phonographs, among other things. Its logo depicts the statue of a piper player that has sat on top of the building since its construction.

The bar also regularly plays music from the first half of the 20th century and plans to host live music.

“This is a matter of good timing,” Araneda said when explaining the motivations behind opening the bar. “Future Bars had wanted to expand to the East Bay for a while, and this building is an ideal location and happened to be vacant.”

John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, said he believes the reputation of Future Bars and uniqueness of Tupper & Reed can bring in many new visitors and add a new dimension to the Berkeley Downtown area.

“Tupper & Reed is different from most bars in Berkeley,” Caner said. “It is more intimate, higher-end and offers such an incredible diversity of selections.”

While Caner acknowledges that Tupper & Reed’s arrival may mean new competition for other bars in the proximity, he believes that the amount of new traffic that it brings could benefit some of the neighboring businesses.

Corey Mike, assistant manager of neighboring Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, believes that the bar will be a complement to his restaurant. Mike said that because his restaurant primarily serves food and only has limited alcoholic offerings, while Tupper & Reed exclusively sells drinks, he sees several avenues for partnership in the future.

Tupper & Reed is open Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bar’s management expects to organize a grand opening within the next few weeks.

Contact Natchapol Praditpetchara at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @natchapolp.