Photos by Larissa Burgess | @larinessmnstr
The 1.2 miles of Centre Street in Jamaica Plain between the Jackson Square and Green Street areas glistens with libation stations ranging from emporiums of Scottish culture, evocations of Spain, and even one spot lined with the remnants of old church bric-a-brac. If there’s ever a time to spend a night hooting and hollering through the neighborhood on a Halloween-y fact-finding mission, and to seek out willful possession by non-spectral spirits, it’s when autumn descends on Centre Street. Let’s boogie.
CENTRE STREET SANCTUARY
[365 Centre St.]
DRINK 1: BARTENDER’S CHOICE
Seasonal Hyde Square Shandy ($10)
Normally, when you take advantage of any situation involving placing carefully made drinks down upon a 700lb church door laid sideways for a bar top, you’re likely to face an angry god’s wrath. Centre Street Sanctuary, though, is prime ground for bellying up to said huge door-based bar. I do just that and call out for a round of their bacon-riffic gravy fries before settling into the Seasonal Hyde Square Shandy with freshly muddled lemon, lemonade, Red Stag cinnamon bourbon, and St. Germain liqueur. Urges to genuflect are strong given the surroundings. Or maybe it was the bourbon. Probably the bourbon.
[2 Perkins St.]
DRINK 2: TREAT
The Hurlyburly ($10)
I’m greeted by the flag of Scotland, a classic black-and-white photo of a James Bond-era Connery, and the authentic Scottish brogue of The Haven’s owner and his friends. That’s already comforting, but then I meet the “Hurlyburly,” which pulls its name from the first act of Macbeth (the crew here quotes Macbeth near-verbatim at the slightest provocation), and is comprised with nothing more than a heavy pour of Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer over ice and a blast of straight Fernet. The result is something akin to a boozy, bitter Orangina. Refreshing, with a bitter bite. Perfect time to beat feet.
[470 Centre St.]
DRINK 3: WRITER’S CHOICE
Fall Bamboo ($11)
Some may view a combination vinyl record shop, used book store, and funky yet authentic Spanish tapas joint and see limitations in regards to the drink possibilities. They would be wrong. I’m sipping the proof–their “Fall Bamboo,” which spryly employs sherry, bitters, and a perfect citrus mist into a stemless wine glass. Add the dancing notes of jazz in the air, and I’m having a tough time motivating toward the next spot.
[435 S. Huntington Ave.]
DRINK 4: SEASONAL
I walk right across the street to Canary Square, and claim some bar space for a little squash–the vegetable, not the game played by rich college assholes. In this case, the squash is served with judicious Barbados rum as a base and fresh-squeezed lime plus maple syrup, and finished with some grated nutmeg and Domain de Canton for a ginger-tinged, earthy, sweet nectar welled up in a highball with the faint color of eggnog. Mm…eggnog.
Photo via Canary Square’s website
[597 Centre St.]
DRINK 5: TRICK
Good Fences ($11)
You’d be hard-pressed to find another JP haunt that so walks the fine line between true niche foodie destination and dyed-in-the-wool neighborhood bar. I land a spot at the cramped-yet-cozy candlelit bar, and a “Good Fences,” a drink title that perfectly describes the chilled classic champagne glass filled with house-infused spiced Rye, Calvados Apple Brandy, apple cider, bitters, and hibiscus liqueur. With a furious shake and a wry grin from the bartender sliding the era-correct glassware my way, a distinct poise comes over me. The same poise which could not be found on my jelly-knee wobble-walk back home.
Photo from Ten Tables’ Facebook page