Given the current popularity of mid-century decor, it isn’t hard to find a bar with an interior design like The Branham Lounge.

Hues of deep mahogany and burgundy blend effortlessly with the leather-upholstered chairs. It’s easy to imagine Don Draper knocking back a few in this dimly lit South Side watering hole.

However, while plenty of popular drinking establishments have adopted this same aesthetic in order to appeal to the millennial milieu, The Branham Lounge has been rocking some version of this look for half a century. And this Saturday, the bar will celebrate 50 years with some seriously retro all-day drink specials.

“A lot of bars these days are made to look this way,” says Tony Riffis, co-owner of The Branham Lounge. His bar, by contrast, simply hasn’t changed all that much since it first opened its doors in the fall of 1969—in a shopping center anchored by one of the first Orchard Supply Hardware stores (the space is now occupied by a Sprouts).

Riffis took over operations of Branham with his business partners—husband and wife Matt and Desta Price—about two and a half years ago. In that time, they’ve worked to maintain and elevate everything that has made the bar a communal hub for the past 50 years, while simultaneously keeping up with changing tastes. That means keeping things simple for the daytime and afternoon crowds then turning up the volume at night.

The day starts with “the best happy hour in the South Bay—hands down.” That runs from 10am to 7pm every day and draws mostly older regulars, some of whom actually worked at Branham back in the ’70s. It was a union bar back then and all the bartenders and cocktail waitresses actually wore uniforms.

The lounge then sees a surge in professionals who come in to catch the tail end of happy hour. This group eventually blends with the late-night crowd, which skews younger. That’s when DJs start spinning, the dance floor opens up, revelers pile into the photo booth and bartenders serve more of Branham’s craftier options, like their barrel-aged Manhattan.

In addition to booking “the biggest names we can,” which have previously including DJ Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys, Riffis is also willing to try less conventional events. He has plans to host a “meat raffle,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

“You pull a number, spin the wheel and you can walk out with at T-bone steak or a lobster tail,” he explains. “They’re really big in the Midwest.”

Riffis invites anyone and everyone to mark his bar’s 50th year on Dec. 7 by enjoying select 69-cent drinks all day, in honor of the bar’s 1969 founding. An open fondue bar will be available from 2pm-6pm.

DJ Rocky Rock, known for his work in The Black Eyed Peas and Sublime, will be on the decks from 9pm to close.

50 Years of Branham
Dec 7, All Day
The Branham Lounge, San Jose