The Bar Room at No. 9 Park

By Eric Twardzik   Downtown · Cocktail Bar · $$$

Twenty years of service has earned No. 9 Park a well-deserved reputation as Beacon Hill’s definitive fine-dining experience. And while we’d never discourage anyone from experiencing a tasting menu in the townhouse-turned-restaurant’s elegant dining room, its bar scene alone warrants a visit.

That scene may be small—consisting of just 12 seats at a polished wooden bar and a handful of high tops—but it’s always well-attended and lively. From the moment you’re picked up on a bartender’s radar, you’ll be treated with the same level of omnipresent service that defines the dining room.

A cocktail menu divided between original creations and classics, not to mention an enviable spirit selection, can make that first order a struggle. But we’ll never tire of the refreshing Palmyra, a drink that’s been served at No. 9 almost since its inception. Combining vodka, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup, it’s shaken with a couple of mint leaves: proof that a cocktail doesn’t have to reach for obscure spirits or complex house infusions to reach perfection.

The flawless foil to that bright, acidic blend is the Prime Steak Tartare, available via the bar menu. Made fresh daily from prime top round, it’s lean and gummy with a lively vinegar kick. Every few weeks its accompaniments change—but fortunately the meat never does.

The bartenders, in their black vests and rolled-up white shirts, look trustworthy. So trust them. When asked to make a custom cocktail, they’ll respond with a few probing questions. What spirits do you like or dislike? Do you enjoy rye, bourbon, or Scotch? How do you feel about amaro as a modifier? Be careful what you wish for—it may become your next obsession.

A seat at the bar grants you access to it all: the casual bar menu, the à la carte dinner menu, and even the full six-course chef’s tasting menu.

Reservations go fast at No. 9, but a bar seat is often your best shot at experiencing the tasting menu as a walk-in.

Want to take home some of No. 9’s bartending magic? Cocktail classes, held on the third Sunday of each month, focus on themes ranging from “Boston History” to “Winter Warmers.”

Must Haves

  • Check your notions about vodka drinks at the door. This drink predates the cocktail revival, and there's good reason for its sticking power. Fruity, refreshing, and clean, it's just what you need to ease into an epic dinner or take the edge off a long day at work.

  • Some of Boston's best mixologists are standing across from you. If you're looking to escape your comfort zone, seize this golden opportunity.

  • The expertly seasoned tartare is nearly a meal in itself. While its accompaniments-such as marinated rock shrimp and lime aioli-change frequently, it's always served with ultra-snackable, wafer-thin waffle chips.

Fun Fact

If you enjoy bartender's choice at No. 9, consider a visit to its sister bar, Drink, which has no menu at all.

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