IMAGE VIA SCOTT MURRY @HOTDOGTACO
We caught wind of a little chatter on the interwebs that surfaced after the Improper Bostonian ran an article quoting one of the Journeyman partners, Diana Kudayarova, discussing their forthcoming sibling restaurants Ames Street Deli and Study, coming to Kendall Square. In it, Kudayarova is quoted saying “there’s not really a great cocktail spot in Kendall, so we thought we could make a great contribution to the neighborhood.”
Now, obviously, this reeks of bad form for a restaurant looking to enter a new neighborhood (kind of like taking a dump in a bouquet of flowers to meet your new neighbors with after moving to a new side of town), and the social media commentary was filled with plenty of surprise, snark, and spitballs from a range of industry insiders.
Quote taken out of context? Maybe. Misspeak that came off unintentionally callous and abrasive towards soon-to-be neighbors? Possibly. Worth asking a few of our pals in the industry about their thoughts on the existence/non-existence of a great cocktail spot in Kendall? You bet. Below, some thoughts from the field.
Jamie Walsh, bar manager at Stoddard’s: The gang at West Bridge are killing it. People give zero fucks who is the “best”. So if you think stirring four cocktails for eight people, once every two hours, means you are the best … good luck with that. State Park is my favorite over there, I also keep it simple. They make a really great Sazerac.
Chris Coombs, chef/owner of dBar, Boston Chops, Deuxave: Catalyst is my favorite. “The Pho” is great, and their milk punch is pretty legendary.
Frederic Yarm, bartender at Russell House Tavern, runs the Cocktail Virgin blog: West Bridge, Blue Room, Belly, Hungry Mother [which] was probably the first and longest running craft cocktail bar in Kendall Square and has not faltered through the years. The Blue Room re-vamped their program by bringing in some heavy hitters to incorporate modern trends like Amaro, and their sibling Belly is no slouch either. Belly has provided some of the most creative aperitif-style cocktails in town. And West Bridge hit the ground running with an Eastern Standard alum at the helm, and it is still a solid program. While State Park is capable of great cocktails given their pedigrees, they have chosen a more relaxed program but I am sure that they will meet any cocktail request with a serious endeavor. Note: I’m actually writing this at West Bridge right now making sure that they’re still up to snuff. Yup … still haven’t been let down here.
Josh Lewin, owner Bread & Salt, executive chef Bread & Salt @ Wink & Nod: West Bridge was one of the first cocktail bars I really enjoyed. They opened up about the time I moved to the area and have provided a really solid go-to ever since. There is also always a small, [but] very well done cocktail list in Belly Wine Bar too, just across the square. Those are my favorites but there are plenty more around the square as well. I’m a big fan of the bar at Hungry Mother, if you can find a spot. My Pastry Chef, Kate Holowchik loves their sister dive, State Park. For cocktails, as well as beer she says. She actually recently handed me something in there called the “State Park Cocktail” which I thoroughly enjoyed. Although… I had trouble getting out of bed the next morning. Oh, we did make it in to [bar wizard Todd Maul’s] Cafe Art Science early on. We enjoyed everything we had very much and are looking forward to seeing how that spot develops.
Louis DiBiccari, owner/executive chef Tavern Road: The programs at State Park & West Bridge would kick ass anywhere. Boston, LA, Chicago, San Fran. They are part of what makes Kendall a destination for great food & drink. Go-to libations: State Park [has a] cocktail served in a High Life bottle with Rye and Amaro Braulio. West Bridge’s “Duckhunter” with cognac & sherry.
Patrick Maguire, industry vet, author and blogger of Server Not Servant: Picks: Cafe ArtScience, State Park, West Bridge and Commonwealth. Go to drink: “Little Italy” at Commonwealth. Rye, Cynar, Sweet Vermouth.
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Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.