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Lovely Bartendering

onefineleo Jan 6, 2007 03:35 AM

My husband and I would love to go someplace special for some elegant (or.... just really great) cocktails tomorrow night. Where should we go? Boston and environs are fine. Thanks.

  1. MC Slim JB Jan 7, 2007 04:23 PM

    The B-Side is like Cocktail University: it seems like every really talented bartender in Cambridge has done some time there. I think No. 9 might be the equivalent on the Boston side of the Charles.

    1. s
      ShakeNBake Jan 7, 2007 03:58 PM

      I like Noir for great cocktails in sumptuous surroundings. And, Monday-Friday from 5-7pm they have a 5-4-3-2-1 menu with great flatbreads, salads, skewers, etc for under $5. Yum!

      1. j
        jajjguy Jan 6, 2007 07:19 PM

        Yes, West Side!

        1. b
          Bluebell Jan 6, 2007 06:00 PM

          Yes, totally agree about #9 Park and ESK. I've only been to EVOO once, but was quite impressed by the cocktails there. Also, though I've only been for lunch, OM's list looked really interesting, and Upstairs on the Square has creative cocktails, if a bit on the froofy at times.

          On the less elegant and pricey side, I've always enjoyed the cocktails at West Side Lounge, and the BSide has a fabulous range of cocktails. Last summer I had an exotic but delicious green tea cocktail @ Douzo. Though I like the atmosphere at Gargoyle's, their cocktails have never impressed me, sorry to say. Ruby Room did a nice job too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bluebell
            litchick Jan 6, 2007 08:45 PM

            gotta say, when i went in for cocktails at EVOO, i was not impressed. i like the place, and the food, but the drinks were... well, way too sweet, for me at least. though they are gigantic.

            1. re: litchick
              Bluebell Jan 7, 2007 02:57 PM

              hm - maybe I was just lucky? I had a pomegranate martini there - maybe it was on the "not sweet" side for them. Of course, I enjoyed the rest of the food so much that I may have been distracted.

          2. Sal Monella Jan 6, 2007 05:13 PM

            Gargoyle's makes pretty good drinks too...not to mention the cuisine.

            1. litchick Jan 6, 2007 03:00 PM

              I'd have to echo the Green Street Rec. It's not an "elegant" space, but it's nice, and the drinks are excellent. When Dylan (Dillon? sp?) took over owndership last year, he revamped a lot of things, including the cocktail list. Being a bartender by trade, he made a point to offer some of the more obscure "old school" cocktails with a modern twist. They're terrific, and we've found him and the staff to be open and welcoming. We always feel well taken care of there. I prefer it to B-Side mostly because B-Side often is too crowded by the time we get there, so it's too loud to talk, though B-Side does have excellent drinks (and free hardboiled eggs!).

              However, if you're looking for a more schmancy experience -- like No. 9 Park, etc -- perhaps save Green St / B-Side for another night.

              2 Replies
              1. re: litchick
                garlic breath Jan 7, 2007 02:38 PM

                Any shout-out to Green Street's bartending has to mention Joe McGuirk, long-time drink spinner from such spots as the B-Side, Chez Henri, Lilli's, etc. Although he would never admit it, many of the top-shelf (sorry...) bartenders working today are his proteges. I think he also waits tables at Green Street, but it is always a treat to catch him behind the bar.

                Another quick note on Green Street; when Dylan scrapped the Island-influenced menu, he thankfully kept a wide selection of obscure rums behind the bar. lots of stuff no one else in the city is serving.

                1. re: garlic breath
                  MC Slim JB Jan 7, 2007 08:50 PM

                  Green Street's bar is one of the very best in town, and the RumBa bar adjacent to Miel at the new Inter-Continental hotel is a hideous place with bad bartending, but you might want to give it a look if you like rum. They've got a very broad selection, too.

              2. MC Slim JB Jan 6, 2007 05:23 AM

                No. 9 is top of mind for me, too, based on sheer cocktail craft; I'd put Eastern Standard's bar in this class, too. Both are nice-looking without trying to be too luxe.

                Bars at better hotels are good bets, too: the Oak Bar (Fairmont Copley Plaza), the Bristol or the small upstairs bar at Aujord'hui (Four Seasons), the Bar at the (old) Ritz, the Rowes Wharf Bar (tucked away in a second-floor corner of the Boston Harbor Hotel), The Federalist (XV Beacon), Bar 10 (Westin Copley), Citi-Bar (Lenox), the tiny bar at the Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro. These tend to be rather grown-up, a bit sedate. Normally, I'd include the bar at Rialto (Charles Hotel) on this list, but it's currently closed for renovations.

                Other places where the bartending meets a very high standard, but can be crowded and a bit hectic on a Saturday: Union Bar and Grill, Sorellina, Mistral, Cuchi Cuchi, Brasserie Jo, Noir, the small bar at Icarus, 28 Degrees, Prezza, Lucca.

                Great drinks but more casual: B-Side Lounge, Green Street, Rendezvous at Central Square, Blue Room, Franklin Cafe, Tremont 647, Chez Henri, Audobon Circle, Anise, Les Zygomates (even though it's a wine bar), the Red Fez, Alchemist Lounge, Middlesex Lounge.

                1. j
                  jajjguy Jan 6, 2007 05:09 AM

                  No 9 is tops, no competition.

                  If you're in Cambridge, could try the B Side or Green Street (grungy), or Rialto (snooty). Blue Room is less snooty, elegant, excellent.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jajjguy
                    limster Jan 6, 2007 07:51 PM

                    I hear that one of the bartenders at Green Street also works at Chez Henri.

                    1. re: limster
                      tallullah Jan 6, 2007 08:01 PM

                      Dylan Black use to work at Chez Henri and B-Side. I know one of the female bartenders (Misty, I think) works at B-Side, too. I

                      1. re: limster
                        ponyboy Jan 12, 2007 03:29 PM

                        Robbie K is a server at Chez Henri and a bartender at Green Street

                      2. re: jajjguy
                        Alcachofa Jan 7, 2007 07:35 PM

                        Green Street in no longer grungy.

                        I love the B Side, but I wouldn't call it elegant.

                        No 9 Park is closed on Sundays.

                        I've been unimpressed by Noir's bartending.

                        There's an interesting "cocktail nexus" between Chez Henri, B-Side, Green Street, and even Zuzu's, but that's a story for another post.

                        Another vote for West Side Lounge.

                        1. re: Alcachofa
                          jajjguy Jan 13, 2007 06:20 PM

                          I'm gonna hafta go ahead and, ah, "disagree" with you there, Alca. Green Street is still grungy, by which I mean it's packed a bit too tight, everything's a bit too loud, furniture is minimal. I don't mean it isn't clean, it's just not an elegant atmosphere. And yes, B Side is grungier.

                      3. Rubee Jan 6, 2007 04:05 AM

                        No 9 Park fits all the criteria - someplace special along with wonderful and elegant cocktails, with many classic and creative cocktails you won't see anywhere else.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rubee
                          Rubee Jan 6, 2007 06:29 PM

                          Just want to add that I agree with the Eastern Standard recs also - more casual than No 9, but good food and elegant cocktails (the bar managers/cocktail aficionados at ES and No 9 are great friends) - and you may be more likely to get a couple of seats on a Saturday night at ES' expansive bar vs the smaller and very popular bar at No 9. As listed in my profile, these two, along with City Bar, Anise, and B-Side are my top 5 favorite spots for excellent cocktails (with City Bar at the Lenox Hotel the more upscale of the three).

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