Brandy Rand

Thirsty Writer, Libations Marketer

Drink Raises the Bar

Originally published November 16, 2011 at

We know the cocktails are something special, but the real star is the service.

Much has been written about Drink, Barbara Lynch’s game-changing cocktail bar nestled between her acclaimed restaurants Sportello and Menton.

It took awhile for people to understand (and accept) the concept—no menus, no 100-bottle back bar, no televisions. But over time, this dimly lit, subterranean spot has developed a diverse following of corporate types, cocktail geeks, industry folk and suburbanites with dog-eared magazines touting the bar’s top 10 (Bon Appétit) and top 25 (GQ) status.

And now Drink is the only Boston establishment to be chosen as one of the 2011 World’s 50 Best Bars as voted on by bartenders in the trade publication Drinks International. Coming in at a respectable eighth place, Drink was one of only thirteen U.S. bars on the list. New York’s PDT took top honors, joined by famed cocktail dens like Harry’s New York Bar in Paris (ninth place) and American Bar at the Savoy in London (sixth place).

But don’t be worried about long lines and excessive wait times to get one of Drink’s world-famous cocktails. One of the reasons Drink is so darn good (in addition to the libations, of course) is the service. There’s no squeezing between occupied bar stools, waving 20 dollar bills to get attention from the bartender, or having your freshly poured cocktail jostled right out of the glass by a passerby.

Drink has a service system that would make most maximum occupancy bars cringe: They only allow in as many guests as the bartenders can comfortably talk to one-on-one. This means you get a wide berth to spread your elbows at the bar. It also means no one hovers behind you, clocking how fast you can drain the last drop of beer before they swoop down on your seat.

A few recent trips—one on a Saturday and one on a Tuesday—were met with a genuinely friendly hostess apologizing for the few minutes we had to wait as she set up our drinking perch for the evening.  The bartenders were efficient but attentive and not at all judgmental (in case you’re worried your rum and coke might be met with disapproval). They simply tell you what interesting spirits they have – there are a bunch—and make you something you will like. Ice is hand-chipped and eyedropper bottles of bitters line the back shelf, making the drink-making process something to see. There are also pretty stellar wine and beer lists, as well as specialty cocktails scrawled on the blackboard.

Is it a life-changing, list-making experience? For many, yes. More importantly, it’s like having your own private table at the coolest bar in town. Drink, 348 Congress St, 617-695-1806


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This entry was posted on November 17, 2011 by in Boston Common Magazine, industry trends and tagged , , , .
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