There is a lot of news and rumor brewing about 4 cocktail bars that are opening in the next few months in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. While some of this information is based on firsthand knowledge from the people involved, some of it is hearsay from Chowhound, Facebook, Twitter, or other. So take it with a grain of salt since I will abstain from fact checking and will confirm it all when I am drinking at their bars once they open.
Hawthorne, 500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, Kenmore Square
With Eastern Standard's Jackson Cannon's recent bar program at Island Creek Oyster Bar still warm, he will be heading up a new bar located at the old Foundation Lounge space within the same Hotel Commonwealth building (long live the Rathskeller's liquor license!). With ICOB's focus being more about the food than the drink, the new Hawthorne has the opposite approach. Jackson has assembled what sounds like an all-star cast of characters to tend the bar including Scott Marshall (ex-Drink), Nicole Lebedevitch (ex-Eastern Standard), Ryan Lotz (ex-Lineage), Ryan McGrale (ex-FlatironNYC and No. 9 Park), and a bartender from Manhattan's Death & Co. Also, the general manager is purported to be Matthew Schrage who used to bartend at No. 9 Park before moving on to Menton.
Backbar, 9 Sanborn Court, Somerville, Union Square
When Journeyman restaurant opened around a year ago, they garnered a lot of press about the quality, creativeness, and presentation of their food. When we finally made it there for dinner, manager and co-owner Meg Grady-Troia spoke to us about how when they renewed their lease, the landlord forced them to take on the space behind the restaurant that previously housed offices with a separate entrance. Her idea was to open an adjoining bar to the restaurant that matched the same level of quality and presentation, and she picked our brains for possible bar managers. Meg's eventual score was Sam Treadway who left Drink to start and manage a hotel's bar program in Hawaii for a year. When we went to Journeyman the next time, Meg gave us a tour of the bar space mid-build out. The bar itself looked like it would seat 9 or 10 people, and the plan was to do bartender cart service at the tables along the wall. Food offerings at the bar would be less formal than the 3, 5, and 7 course dinners at the restaurant proper. I recently spoke with Sam, and he mentioned that Bryn Tattan of Drink and J.B. Bernstein of the Middlesex Lounge will be two of the four other bartenders at Backbar.
Hair of the Dog, 520 Columbus Avenue, Boston, South End
This bar located below Jae's is slated to open in mid-December under the direction of Ran Duan. I met Ran at Tales of the Cocktail this summer and got a sense of his cocktail taste when I toured some of the Barroom Brawl event with him. Ran has built up the bar program at Sichuan Garden II in Woburn from standard Chinese restaurant drinks to an impressive menu of classics cocktails as well as variations on old drinks like a beer-lightened Ramos Gin Fizz and new drinks like Beta Cocktails Gunshop Fizz. Given the Sichuan Garden's beer list, I am expecting decent hopsworthy offerings as well.
Brick & Mortar, 569 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Central Square.
Taking over the Enormous Room's space will be Patrick Sullivan's new project that I heard was called Brick & Mortar. Patrick is best known for founding the legendary B-Side Lounge before moving on to develop the cocktail program for the Legal Sea Food chain. The only gossip I garnered was that Evan Harrison may be tending bar there; Evan recently left Deep Ellum to seek work on the other side of the river, and Andrea and I had guessed that this would be one of his options. Previous to Deep Ellum, we grew to love Evan's work at the Independent. The other bit of gossip I needed to confirm (two sources now) was that Misty Kalkofen of Drink, Green Street, and B-Side fame, will be leading the bar program there! Misty and Patrick used to work together back at the B-Side, so once again they are re-united. Apparently, the menu will focus on vermouth-based and other stirred drinks with less focus on citrus. Definitely this bar will be a welcome addition to the area and will help to solidify Central Square as a cocktail destination along with Green Street, Craigie on Main, and Rendezvous.