After strolling beneath the French brasserie-esque red patio awning and into the airy yet cozy dining room, we head straight for the bar. Sure, those tables with their white linens and tiny lamps are tempting. But nothing in town matches the grandeur of that sprawling marble surface, with its view of a rusty mirror framed by mahogany and glowing booze bottles. It’s the best place to be around five in the afternoon, squeezing into an empty seat and saving another. Waiting on a tardy friend? Don’t worry—it’ll take you a while to pore over this cocktail list, and even longer to make a decision.
While seasonal food menus are taken for granted these days, we all-too-often overlook the importance of shifting cocktail menus. (A ripe blueberry-infused gin with zesty citrus on a hot summer night? Pear and allspice mingling with Icelandic vodka on a frigid afternoon in December? Yes, please.) Likewise, a tendency toward innovation at all costs sometimes infringes on the execution of classics, but not at Eastern Standard: Diving into the French (ish) section of the cocktail menu, you’re reminded how sassy you become with a Sazerac, how very Roaring ’20s you feel sipping on a Jack & Rose. And then there’s the “Originally from Boston” section, where we find drinks that aren’t so famous yet instill us with local pride, like the saucy and spicy Mission to Burma, a tribute to the former bar manager at Drink. No matter the weather, the mood, or the booze, beverage director Jackson Cannon has us covered. That’s why this place has been topping lists of the best bars in America for over a decade.
As 5 p.m. turns to 6 p.m. and one drink turns into two, you might catch a side glimpse of a beautiful tartare crowned with colorful pickled veggies and perfectly toasted baguette slices, or a silver platter housing a half-lobster departing the towering raw bar. Good luck resisting the temptation of that glistening brasserie fare—just as quickly as drinks can turn into snacks, snacks can turn into Steak Frites. Our advice? Dive in and drink up. This is the kind of place you come to live out a truly laissez-faire evening.
An ever-evolving cocktail menu leaves no space to list them all, but some of Eastern Standard’s most famous concoctions are off-menu—particularly the Whiskey Smash, which was listed on Thrillist’s list of “cocktails to drink before you die.”
Tartare, bone marrow, or foie gras not your style? Here’s something else we love about this place: A $9 grilled cheese will satiate you, and that $5 side of fries will push you over the edge. We don’t endorse washing it all down with a Bud Light, but that’s possible, too.
Attention, night owls: This is the classiest place you could ever find yourself eating snacks at 1 a.m. in Kenmore Square. Open till 2 a.m. every night of the week.
Eastern Standard has sold over 100,000 Whiskey Smashes since opening in 2005.
Tastes of Eastern Standard
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