Does Size and Time Matter?
So question out to all my cocktail geeks, what do you prefer a
kickass large cocktail menu with lots of variety or small creative menu with less variety just as much flavor?
To get your drink in under 10 minutes or waiting for 20 minutes for a killer cocktail?
If I'm visiting for the first time and know nothing about the bartending skill level, I prefer the smaller creative menu. I feel like I'm more likely to have a good drink since the bartenders have only a few drinks to practice on.
As for time, 20min sounds like torture ... but I'll wait. I'll just have to pick a drink fast!
Xkgb_toronto - I assume your question was meant to focus on cocktail menus in Boston? Looks like DoubleMan has taken the conversation that way, but if your question was more general, it belongs on the General Topics or Spirits board.
I don't go out for cocktails that often, so I like places that have a smaller edited menu but also have a larger menu. Green Street does this, and I really enjoyed looking at the big menu the last time I was there. I ended up with a fantastic drink (I now forget what it was, but it involved egg whites and gin) which I never would have ordered otherwise.
I prefer edited menus, but I don't think any place here does a really superb job at that. Some are pretty good, like Craigie's, but that one is really small and it's easy to work your way through it and then be bored with the options until they change the menu in a month or two. Brick and Mortar is like that as well, but even more so because almost all the drinks are in a similar style. (Side note: Brick and Mortar needs more people at the bar because things take forever and the drinkmaking and service suffers in their consistently packed place.)
I think Drink and Hawthorne waste their talent and try to promise a bartender-customer interaction that rarely happens at those places because of their popularity. I wish both would offer kickass menus of unique drinks, along the lines of PDT in NY. Jackson and John don't seem too inclined to go that route, though. Maybe Hawthorne has changed their policy in the past month or two, but the last time few times I went, they had a daily menu of a handful of drinks, many of which are classics, and then the larger book of liquors with a handful more cocktails mixed in that list. I don't like it. I wish they'd bring it and offer new things. Their bartenders are constantly experimenting and sometimes they'll offer them up to customers, but for some reason those rarely end up on a menu. I don't get it.
For large menus, Eastern Standard's largeish menu is great because it has something for everyone, but ES is also one of the few large places (nationally) that can consistently deliver great drinks. The places with 101 (or whatever) "martinis" are generally garbage.
I'll wait a long time for a drink, if it's great. Waiting a long time for crap drinks, which is all too common, is such a bummer.