This Former Netscape Engineer Owns The Coolest Bar In San Francisco

Bourbon and Branch Doug Dalton

Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider

Doug Dalton hacked into servers while he was a sixth grader.Later he worked as a Netscape engineer and at four other startups.

But at the age of 40, he’s anything but a typical nerdy programmer.

He owns and operates five bars in San Francisco.

He parties with rock star entrepreneurs (the kids behind Digg, Instagram, etc) and real rock stars, too (The Killers, The Bravery, and Counting Crows).

When one of the startups Dalton worked at,, was sold to Estée Lauder in 2000, he experienced a side of New York nightlife he’d never seen before.

Then in 2002, Dalton returned to San Francisco and found it lacked the same cocktail culture.

“I felt like San Francisco was a city that had so much innovation and had so much traction compared to New York, but yet, didn’t quite have the establishments that New York had,” Dalton says.

So he took what he learned during his two years in New York and brought it back to the Bay Area. 

We went to check out one of his bars, Bourbon & Branch in the middle of the Tenderloin district.

This is the entrance to Bourbon & Branch.

You need a password to get in.

This is where the original entrance is to the speakeasy that was there during prohibition in 1920 to 1933.

Today, it's the main room in Bourbon & Branch. Dalton sat at a booth here with us.

Dalton is sipping on a cocktail called the Revolver. It has Bulleit Bourbon, orange bitters, and Tia Maria.

Wednesday through Saturday isn't reservation based, which means you can come here last minute if you feel like it.

Bourbon & Branch is starting to get more packed.

We liked that the bartender took his sweet time with each cocktail.

Bourbon & Branch has an old speakeasy underneath it. Dalton agrees to give us a tour.

Dalton talks to us about what hidden bar was like back in the day. Watch the video below.

There's the old bar there.

That was exciting. Now Dalton is going to show us the bar's private room.

Anyone can come here, you just have to have a big group.

There are vintage books to keep in style with the era of the original bar.

This is the Russell's room, the original bar before prohibition.

This room is called The Wilson, the bar within a bar. This is where startups come to take their executive teams for a lesson in mixology

Salesforce, Twitter, Google, Facebook, Yume, and Apple have been to the Beverage Academy.

Inside a kitchen here, they make their own fresh fruit and make their own infusions.

It's all about the ingredients.

Boubon & Branch is where San Francisco's smartest kids drink; find out where they work and party!

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