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Martini in Cambridge/Boston?

Where can I get a decent and hopefully not overpriced martini in Cambridge (or, lacking that, the Boston area)? I'm not talking about any of the variants out there (appletini, chocolate, etc.) - I mean the traditional deal, gin and vermouth...

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    1. re: Falcon 64

      On first look, Oak Room would seem to fall into the overpriced category. Then, when the martini is delivered and poured out of a carafe that is then placed into a small individual ice bucket, you realize that you're basically getting two martinis for the price of one. When your first is gone, the second is waiting chilled.

      Besides, even if you're a Bostonian, I think that a martini at the Oak Room is a requirement - at least once. Beware - it can fill up quickly on weekend nights.

    2. For classic martinis or more creative cocktails, I'd go to Eastern Standard Kitchen in Kenmore or Green Street in Central Square.

      1. At Oak Room in Boston, you'll get a classic martini, and lots of it, but the surroundings are bar snacks are great too. ESK or Deep Ellum could also oblige.

        In Cambridge, I agree that Green Street in Central Sq would be your top choice and meet your expectations nicely. West Side Lounge does a good job too, and maybe the B-Side Lounge.

        1. for not overpriced you should definitely check out silvertones, by the park street stop. great comfort good and solid bartending.

          1. In Boston, the Oak Room. In Cambridge, B-Side, bar @ Chez Henri, bar @ Rialto, bar @ Gargoyles (not Cambridge per se, but within stumbling distance).

            1. In Cambridge my top pick would certainly be Green St., they also probably have the best prices but their glasses are only 7oz, I think. A rung below, but still quite good, would be Rialto and Chez Henri. In Somerville there's the Independent, and in Boston I would go to No. 9, Eastern Standard, or Deep Ellum.

              The three in Boston, to compete with the New York big boys, are Green St., No. 9 and Eastern Standard, in no particular order. Green St.'s the cheapest (a gin martini I guess would be about 7 or 8 bucks), at No 9 or ES they'll be between 10 and 12 or so.

              3 Replies
                1. re: sailormouth

                  Gargoyles sometimes serves their martinis in a small and then a "family values" size. I would more appropriately call it the "Hey, want some warm booze?" size. A smaller martini is more likely to be one that stays cold til the end. Green Street prices appropriately, and serves high quality cocktails. Deep Ellum also seems to have smallish glasses too.

                  Just because soda comes in the "big gulp" size doesn't mean that gin should too!

                  1. re: Bluebell

                    The smaller glasses are great so they still chilled, but they're also good for trying new things before you get completely smashed. I always feel better leaving a bar after four or five instead of two or three.

                2. If we are talking martini for the martini's sake ... *just* the martini … not the cost, not the food, not the scene ... I can help.

                  Firstly, a martini - a real martini - must be consumed in Boston, not in Cambridge. If I need to elaborate I am in the wrong discussion.

                  The second best martini in Boston is, in fact, at the Oak Room.

                  The best martini in Boston, and I know we like to think these things are subjective but this is simply true, is at Grill 23.

                  My order: Bombay Sapphire, some vermouth (no/too little vermouth a common mistake), olives, up.

                  Note: they are sizable. No driving home.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Carty

                    You're right. Or, at least, that is exactly how I order mine. So, I now know I need to head over to Grill 23 soon. Haven't been there in a while.

                    1. re: Carty

                      I do believe you are correct sir. My old friend Simon used to like the martini at Grill 23 and believe me this Englishman had been around enough to know. He also admired the one at the Lenox Hotel -- City Bar, I believe?

                      One I can tell you to avoid (this almost goes without saying) is at Miracle Of Science in Cambridge. Hanging out at that bar with a friend who craved a martini on a cold evening we were served one of the worst drinks I've ever had. Good (?) thing is the bartender knew it too and cheerfully took it off the tab.

                      1. re: Carty

                        "If we are talking martini for the martini's sake ... *just* the martini … not the cost, not the food, not the scene" ...then I'm not sure what Boston consumption has to do with it. I spent years tending at a classy old school bar, and I make just as good a martini in my Somerville kitchen as I ever did there. I'm just saying.

                        1. re: franksnbeans

                          It's true. It's not like there aren't recipes for these things. The presentation matters, though - glass size, crushed ice still clinging to the outside of the glass, etc. And one shouldn't have to request vermouth. I feel like a lot of places don't bother with it anymore. (Which is more the customers' fault over time.)

                        2. re: Carty

                          Agree on G23 w/ favorite app of Prime Steak Tartare w/Shiitakes, Quail Eggs, Shallot Marmalade on Fridays b4 hitting the gallery openings. Old Ritz(now Taj) used to make beautiful ones w/little carafe of the shaker leftovers - do they still?

                        3. Franklin Cafe in the South End

                          1. I liked a Manhattan I had at Union on Washington St. back in Feb. Anyone had a martini there? What did you think?

                            In case you haven't seen—Martini's in NYC:

                            1. I think the one closest to fulfilling the "not overpriced" requirement in Cambridge would be the B-Side Lounge.

                              Back in Boston, I don't know how the prices are at Deep Ellum, but given their location, they may fit into the "quality at a lower price" spectrum as well. I know some of their bartenders from previous gigs, and they would make a martini properly.

                              And, Carty... eh, nevermind.

                              1. Having a traditional martini at the Oak Bar is a must-do Boston experience IMO.

                                1. Speaking of martinis, does anyone know where I can purchase good cocktail olives with good brine for my dirty martinis? I would love a place walking distance from the financial district!