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Top 5 for cocktails?

So, we're wondering what the best places are in town for cocktails - could be a bar, or a nice restaurant - or somewhere with an interesting classic cocktails list.

Obvious candidates include B-side, Anise, Cuchi Cuchi, Oak Room, Green Street (the rum list is pretty sweet). What do you all think?

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  1. For cocktail craft: B-Side Lounge, Green Street, No. 9 Park, Eastern Standard.

    Also worthy: Deep Ellum, Union Bar & Grill, Cuchi Cuchi, Chez Henri, Noir, Alchemist Lounge, Franklin Cafe, Audubon Circle, Anise, Sorellina, Tremont 647, Les Zygomates, East Coast Grill, Prezza, Lucca.

    Good hotel bars: Cafe at the Taj, Oak Bar, Bar 10, City-Bar, Rowes Wharf Bar, the Bristol, Brasserie Jo, Rialto.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Hey, I said "Top 5" in the subject for a reason :-) But thanks for all the pointers.

      Been meaning to check out the bar at Eastern Standard. What's really great there?

      1. re: Sgt Snackers

        Consider that top 4 my favorites.

        A lot of that second tier includes some top-tier bartenders (e.g., Lee at Union, Casey at Lucca), but their colleagues are less reliable, so the experience can be hit or miss. I've had great experiences at the Alchemist and Deep Ellum, but they're too new to make the A-List yet. Anise might make it, but for some reason Frank doesn't chill his cocktail glasses: points off.

        Some worthwhile drinks at ESK: the Metamorphosis (based on Becherovka, a Czech bitters) and the Jack Rose (based on Laird's Applejack, an American apple brandy, with housemade Grenadine), a decidedly non-girly pink drink.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I'll second Slim's reco for the Jack Rose at ESK - it's my favorite. Second favorite is the Au Provence - their take on a vodka gimlet. Tasty!

          1. re: heathermb

            Sweet. I found the cocktail menu online, actually - would be fun to try to reverse engineer some of these at home.

    2. I think Locke-Ober has a lovely bar (food is over-rated)... wood panelling, slightly salon-y feel, cozy for winter. Cocktails are well prepared - and it's easy walking distance to other places if you're bar-hopping...

      1. Oak Bar, Bar 10, Eastern Standard, Abe & Louis (good martini and love dat cheese wheel).Spire.

        1. If there was a Boozehound website, I'd be on that too.

          My top 5 and I think you know already - (BTW I admit that I haven't been at some of the Cambridge places well-known for this that I should go, to like Chez Henri)

          No 9 Park, Eastern Standard, B-Side, Anise, and City Bar at the Lenox.

          BTW - at No 9 before the Ron White show (heh heh) at the Orpheum last weekend, I had a "Seelbach" for the first time - named after the Seelbach Hotel in Kentucky, it's bourbon, Cointreau, two types of bitters, and topped with champagne. Excellent. And though not a cocktail, I have to mention the sherry-like wine that Courtney chose to accompany my chestnut bisque the same night. Really unique and outstanding. She chose a winner (as always). I loved it.

          And speaking of Eastern Standard, tonight we just had a wonderful Chinese New Year dinner with some 'Hounds at Mulan in Cambridge (more on that later). Four of us finished off with cocktails and dessert at Eastern Standard. Highly recommend the Pisco Sour, my usual Aviation, and a new one for me tonight - no name as of yet, but Milagro tequila (blanco), Chatreuse, bitters, and a French orange liqueur that I forget. Really fantastic. We thought ES would be quiet, but it was very busy with the holiday tomorrow and the growing crowd of locals. Even with that, great service. Also - they have a new Fernet ice cream made in-house. WOW. Alcachofa and Slim, I know you're fans, as am I, of Fernet Branca. Worth checking out.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            That ESK crew are hardcore Fernet fans; I think they deplete a lot of their own stock after hours. There's some featured or specialty drink there now that's a shot of Fernet with some kind of beer back, I believe. I can hardly wait to tell my family about Fernet ice cream!

            If you haven't seen it, check out this extraordinary, detailed article on Fernet Branca:

            http://www.sfweekly.com/2005-12-07/ne...

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              That article was very funny and very informative. I'm looking for some on the way home, thanks.

            2. re: Rubee

              Thanks for that great article! Fascinating. I'm going to have to try the Fernet with a ginger back.

              And I forgot to add to my post - I wanted to mention again Tom's finesse with cocktails. I had two of the tequila-based cocktails as mentioned above, and for each one, he finished it off by flaming orange peel to release the oils and rubbing it on the rim of the glass. Just another reason why ES is one my favorite places for excellent cocktails.

              1. re: Rubee

                A couple of weeks ago Tommy gave us a Fernet frappe - shaved ice crammed into a tall, narrow glass similar to a vodka shot, but a little wider. Creme de menthe poured over the ice and top with Fernet. You can drink it thru a straw (my preference) or as a shot.

                We love ESK for its cocktails. Jackson once told me I looked like a "red hook" type of person.

              2. re: Rubee

                Not a boozehound site, but drinkboston is pretty close. For those of you who like your cocktail craft, it's worth checking their special events. The champagne cocktail night at Green Street was really fun ... and my first Seelbach too!

              3. B-Side Lounge, Green Street, No. 9 Park, Eastern Standard. I'd suggest West Side Lounge as well, but it has been a while since I've been there, and thought I heard there have been some inconsistencies?

                Would not include Oak Bar or Spire. Both good in their own way, but top 5? No. Same with Locke Ober, but the Ward 8 was invented there, so we can give it the Irving Thalberg Acheivement award.

                Everyone is a "red hook" type of person! :o)

                For the Jack Rose recipe, no need to reverse engineer: look on the back of the Laird's Apple Jack bottle. I think I tweaked that recipe for my purposes, I can't remember how.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Alcachofa

                  Yes there may be crowds of hookers, but this Red Hooker has moved on to another part of Brooklyn - Green Point!

                  And speaking of tweaking, I often make the Au Provence in the confines of my own little bar. Very tasty at ES and at home.

                    1. re: Rubee

                      As a transplanted Brooklynite, I must advise you that the correct pronunciation is Green Purnt.

                      1. re: Northender

                        Boy, if I didn't already have plans to meet a friend at Neptune, I'd be ordering a Green Purnt at ESK tonight....such is the power of Chowhound suggestion.

                2. eastern standard eastern standard eastern standard! omg i have dropped so much money there but i love their drinks! i even had mocktails there and had a blast!

                  1. So it seems Eastern Standard is consistently in each person's top 5 along with No. 9 Park. I agree with both being at the top of the list. I love the Brock's Buck at ES. The professionalism at No. 9 can't be beat. Number 3 is Beacon Hill Bistro. Bill is top notch He makes a perfect martini. The ambiance perfect (can't get any better then a roaring fireplace with a cocktail. After that it is a "pick 'em" based upon mood and particular wants. To experience great cocktails, professional bartenders and a comfortable vibe you can never go wrong with any ot these three. They're the tops bar none (pun intended).

                    1. I totally agree w/ the Bartender recommendations above- Lee at Union is awsome and he's been there awhile...Casey at Lucca is great too. While I generally like the Bartenders at Union, and I LOVE Lucca's food- the last time I went to Lucca the bartender who was working with Casey was a pretty angry guy... oh well, maybe he was just having a bad night

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: foodie07

                        Angry or no, that whole crew behind the bar at Lucca is pretty good; I just know Casey by name because he's been around forever. A wee bit surprising that there isn't better bartending in the North End. After Lucca and Prezza, there ain't much.