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Jul 16, 2014 06:52 AM

John Gertsen leaving Boston, GM role at Drink

Per a press release this morning, John Gertsen has been promoted to "spirits & hospitality ambassador" for BL Gruppo. Ezra Star is stepping into his old role as Drink's GM. Despite relocating to San Francisco, Gertsen "will oversee the cocktail programs at Gruppo properties including Drink, No.9 Park, Menton, and Sportello, as well as the Barbara Lynch Foundation’s annual Toques & Tonic culinary charity event with regular trips back to Boston."

I'm sure Star will be a very capable GM at Drink. But I can't help feeling like this is a huge loss to Boston's craft cocktail community. I imagine Gertsen himself drove this change, and I certainly wish him the best. He's leaving behind a huge, enduring mark on Boston's cocktail scene, not just in what he accomplished at No. 9 and Drink, but on all the bartenders who have blossomed in those programs and gone on to open or remake other good bars. Still, I'm still sad about the transition.

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  1. Thanks for the details.

    In spite of the bright spots of Ezra, Josey, and Parker behind the bars at Drink recently, cocktails other than theirs are not always stellar - still a loyal fan willing to try it any time there's a seat available at a bar, but not quite as great as it was a couple of years ago.

    Maybe less of John's focus or the natural turnover has taken its toll?

    I'd love to hear stories of others' recent experiences there, as well as recommendations of favorite spots to casually sit, discuss and enjoy top notch cocktails with amazing bartenders (Clio used to be one for me (pre Todd's exit), Backbar still is, and Alden&Harlow is fast becoming one when Seth is around, which seems to be most of the time).

    4 Replies
    1. re: rlh

      Eastern Standard can still be a great place to enjoy top notch cocktails with an amazing bartender, but it can be hit-and-miss. They're all solid mixologists, but they don't all have the same passion/knowledge. Also, finding a slow time is key if you're hoping to have time to ask questions (same applies to Drink, of course).

      At Eastern Standard, Bob McCoy is the bomb. He's not always on the bar at ES, but when he is, it's a treat.

      Here's a good post on the bartenders that the pros like to visit:

      1. re: huuvola

        Bob at Eastern Standard is the bomb. The Hawthorne staff is all very good, especially manager Katie.

        1. re: kimfair1

          Ditto to Bob and Katie, both are top notch. I'll also add Melissa at Park.

      2. re: rlh

        Uhhh - by Parker I obviously mean Palmer at Drink...