OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

By Eric Twardzik   Back Bay · Cocktail Bar · $$$

Sometimes historic hotel bars can be a letdown. A visit to the “grand hotel-such-and-such” where X cocktail is said to have been invented might end with an apathetically made drink sipped amidst past-its-prime scenery.

That’s not the case at Oak Long Bar + Kitchen. All signs indicate that the golden age of this bar, located within the 106-year-old Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel, is now.

It wasn’t the first eating and drinking establishment set within the opulent Fairmont Copley. Opened in 2012, Oak Long Bar + Kitchen is the fifth entry in a line of bars and restaurants that have continually inhabited the space since 1912.

The sky-high drapes, carved ceilings, and chandeliers within the expansive space may bring to mind The Breakers. But unlike at that famous Vanderbilt mansion, here you’re invited to take a seat at a long, copper-topped bar and settle in for a drink. (Fair warning: you may never be satisfied with a bar stool ever again after experiencing one of the diamond-tufted leather seats.)

The cocktail menu is split between original creations and twists on classics that sound tame on paper but make a different impression IRL. For instance, the Bee’s Knees, a cocktail familiar even to novice drinkers, arrives in a bear-shaped glass with a honey dipper stuck to its rim. The depth of flavor from its Barr Hill Gin (a juniper-heavy Vermont-made gin produced with raw honey) makes for more than just a cute Instagram pic.

The Smoked Chai Manhattan, made with rye, chai rum, and Bénédictine, proves just as memorable. Served in a snifter glass smoked over blowtorched cedar, its powerful aroma of caramelized vanilla merges with the cocktail’s other flavors to create an experience you’ll recall long after the last drop is drained.

Snag the single loveseat near the open kitchen for the most romantic bar seating in town.

You’ll have to speak with a host to sit at any of the tables in the bar area, but the Red Room lounge in the back is first come, first serve.

From Laphroaig 27 to a Yamazaki 18 Mizunara Cask, the whisky list is stocked with some of the rarest (and priciest) varieties out there.

Must Haves

  • Do we appreciate a classic cocktail made to the highest standard? Yes. Do we enjoy licking honey straight off the dipper? Also yes.

  • At $24, this smoky concoction doesn’t come cheap—but it does include the satisfaction of watching every head swivel your way once the blowtorch comes out. (Cue a chain reaction of “I’ll have what they’re having.”)

Fun Fact

The Fairmont Copley Plaza’s Presidential Suite has been favored by visiting U.S. presidents since the Taft administration (the early 1900s).

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