Real Life: The Wilson and Wilson Detective Agency

Danny Commentary Banner - LongSo, part of creating this site is for me to try and branch out from just doing movie reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy movie reviews, perhaps too much so. But it’s time for me to create a site about not just Pre-Code Hollywood, but my burgeoning fascination with the United States of the early 1930’s.

Yes, I just used ‘burgeoning’ in a post! This blog is going places!

Anyway, I wanted to write a bit about my latest drinking experience at Wilson and Wilson in San Francisco. The reason it’s tangentially relevant to this blog is because it’s connected to Bourbon and Baker, a recreation of a Speakeasy in the city’s Tenderloin district.

Subtly hidden away (so so subtly) on the corner of the street in the garish black habitat, you must knock on the door and present a password to enter. There, on the condition of presenting one of two further passwords, you can be taken further into the proceedings, either to the buildings Library (which is straight through a bookcase) or back further to the Wilson and Wilson section, which is masked by an exterior sign for a detective agency.

It’s an extremely small and intimate bar, with barely enough room for more than two dozen people and a pair of bartenders. What’s nice is that everyone is seated, there’s no crowding at the bar, and the tone is relatively quiet– serene, almost, especially compared to most other bars. And when you’re my age, a nice quiet bar where you can hear the person you’re sitting next to is a wonder indeed.

The menu is pretty nifty, too. Served in a manilla envelope crafted to resemble a dossier, there are dozens of cocktails and other mixes of hard alcohols all at hand. I caught a couple of nice nods in the menu– the “Fu Manchu” among them– though I didn’t get to try anything since I was playing designated driver.

That’s right. That’s my bar report. It was quite nice, and I didn’t drink anything.

Maybe I should stick to the movie reviews.

Further Reading

  • The defunct blog The Tender reviewed Wilson and Wilson shortly after its opening and goes briefly into the history and background of the place. That’s also where I got the top image since no pictures are allowed to be taken inside the bar.


Danny lives outside Tokyo, Japan, with his lovely wife, adorable daughter, and two yappy dogs. He blogs bi-weekly at, a website dedicated to Hollywood films from 1930 to 1934, and can be found on Twitter @PreCodeDotCom.

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