For some time now we’ve been running a twice-annual feature wherein a lucky few writers and associates are sent out into the streets armed with an extremely limited expense account and a dry liver (well, mostly dry), and told to get at least five different drinks in them. It’s often more, but at least five. Ideally, they get good and liquored up so to later tell the tale of what was happening as it was happening (or at least, how they remember it happening, for good or ill), recounting a sprawling tale of drunken boobery, the different kind of hijinks the motley stars making up our galaxy can get mixed up in. Sometimes that involves picking a neighborhood to pillage the local haunts found there. Sometimes it involves costume changes. And just sometimes, it can tap into the different strains of class-warrior your friendly pals here at Dig Boston have encoded within their DNA.
Or you just get one that executes all that in one fantastic magnum opus of inebriated opining, which is exactly what’s going on with this rendition of 5 Drink Minimum.
Be it Davis Square in Somerville, the wild shoddy badlands of Allston, and even the nooks found around Fenway Park, what you’re about to read is a story involving intoxicated buffoonery all conducted at your favorite (or not-so-favorite) local haunts, be it drinking in public outdoors (but just for a photo), allusions to shooting pornography, and even men in ruffled shirts becoming threatened by small children drinking out of coconut shells in close proximity to them.
Remember: Anytime you meet a baby at a bar, never, ever let your guard down.
BY DAN MCCARTHY, EDITOR, DIGBOSTON | @ACUTALPROOF
BY MARTIN CABALLERO |@_EL_CABALLERO | PHOTOS BY MIKE SCHWARZ
Jon Taffer, the bombastic host of TVs Bar Rescue, has a saying that comes up regularly during his standard eye-bulging verbal tirades against the failing bar owners he “saves” every week: “Bars are about creating experiences!” The raving blowhard has a point; at any bar, the drinks are just there to enhance the overall experience, and pretty much any type of experience you might be looking for lies a few blocks’ walk in any direction from the Common. And when you’re rolling solo on a Tuesday night, on someone else’s tab no less, you’d might as well try a bit of everything.
There’s one open stool at the far end of the crowded bar when I arrive, and it happens to be next to a stoic dog the size of a dorm room refrigerator. In a way, he’s the ideal drinking buddy for this sort of occasion. No talk, minimal judgment. His name is Hudson, and his owner thankfully wasn’t staring at me half as intently as Hudson did when the act of firing back whiskey shots on a Tuesday night inspired a semi-rant on modern media to leap from my mouth. Not one of my finest, sure, but enough to furrow the anxious brow of my photographer, Mike, who’s new to Boston. While he says he doesn’t mind, he probably needs some jaded 28-year-old veteran of the local game pillorying him with prognostications of doom over Jim Beam shots about as much as he needs a hot iron poker in the eye. That said, the simple pleasures of life are in abundance here (cold beer and playoff baseball), and he’s smart enough to know I’m probably full of shit. And getting drunk.
Before entering here, I make my first wardrobe change of the night, into a button-up shirt from the Gap festooned over a simple white Hanes tee. Once in the chosen armor of yuppies everywhere, I’m ready to mix with people who have “real jobs,” the kind my mom tends to remind me do in fact exist. I insert myself between a couple seated patrons to grab my beer from the bartender, and wind up continuing my thoughts on the media industry with someone at the bar, another dedicated worker toiling to mine the ore of truth from the news of the day. Only he seems remarkably more positive than myself. Could the entire hypothesis of my previous lip-flapping be wrong? Are Mike and my new friend here the rule, and my tortured pathos and self-doubt the exception? And are the Royals really coming back in this baseball game? Did I leave the iron on this morning? Weird thoughts, along with the whiskey and ale soaking my brain, make me dip back out into the black streets in search of clarity. And more booze.
Now this is a place a man can retreat to with his thoughts. The bar has just cleared out post-rush, and the Kill Bill sights and Big L sounds filling the air feel like they’ve been picked specifically to provide me with a safe, familiar environment in which to rest. Regroup. (And drink.) It works. Our bartender Tina presents a gin-and-Green-Chartreuse-heavy “Reiko Greene” and some “Wu-Tang Tiger-Style” ribs, which, and I mean this in a good way, are nothing to fuck with. Shojo is hip and modern, with a huge colorful mural on one side of the wall and not a tooth-rotting bullshit fortune cookie in sight. I would happily stay all night, but I cannot. I make my move.
We enter the proverbial next level, an elegant bar with pretty people drinking elegant drinks and looking absolutely bored to death by the whole thing. I start talking with the only person in the place who doesn’t look at me with curious disgust, a medical supplies salesman from Ireland. For some reason we discuss how fate has brought us to this strange introductory juncture. Mike surreptitiously snaps dimly lit pics on my iPhone as my throat begins to grip. Things are getting fuzzy. Individual voices become louder, until my head is ringing with the sound of the bad jokes and tedious meeting details rising up from an increasingly blurry sea of suits like a nauseating fog. That usually signals one of two things: It’s time to go home, or it’s time to go clubbing. I opt for the latter. Naturally.
The bouncer’s eyes light up as I approach the velvet rope. Inside, I imagine this is the moment he’s trained for. Keep the stumbling, shabby heathens like me away from the gyrating beautiful people in the subterranean club downstairs. But I’m way off. He lets me in with total disinterest. Soon, I see why. The place is dead, filled with sparse groups of people standing in circles and sipping drinks, unmoved by the ferocious, thumping EDM that washes over the place as if it were a full house. As I down my last drink, I reflect on the moral of an evening spent lurking in both dives and swanky spots, which is: Money can get you a lot of great drinks in nice places, but those places don’t let you bring dogs in. Or something.
BY EMILY HOPKINS | @GENDERPIZZA | PHOTOS BY DEREK KOUYOUMJIAN
The zipper down the back of my dress goes from my ass to my neck. Most of the back is lace, and the bodice hugs me a little too tightly. It’s the kind of dress that doesn’t stop reminding you that you’re wearing it. It’s the kind of dress you eat oysters in. And if nothing else, it’s the kind of dress in which you conduct a booze-soaked expedition of a swath of bars ranging from dive to swank in my chosen neighborhood. I make my way to the first stop of the night all filled with piss and vinegar. I am Pussy Galore. And I am ready to kick off 5 Drink Minimum.
The Shanghai Social Club is akin to the kind of hotel bar that reaches for authenticity without ever reaching it. I remember a friend once mentioning that the Buddha sitting above the door is, in fact, a rendition of another style of Buddha hailing from outside of China. I slip into the back room, which seems to suggest at any moment a young woman will appear and close a sliding door to keep prying eyes blind to some kind of sinful act to come. The owners of the club are also the owners of the nearby White Horse Tavern, so they’re no strangers to courting a youthful contingent with money to burn on booze. I order a Mai Tai, which is the spirit drink-animal of this bar … aesthetically ethnic, but technically American. It goes down about as fast as I split out of there, ready to take on the night.
About a quarter of the size of the previous spot, this place has twice as many people than Shanghai. For the past couple of years, this German-influenced gastropub has provided steins and schnitzel to Allstonians looking for a multilingual beer list and adult apps, like
deviled eggs and a cheese plate (cheese plates = mature life). I wipe my lipstick off (it’s too dark for anyone to appreciate it) and ask our server Alex to suggest a good Oktoberfest beer. His suggestion: Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen. It sounds exotic, so I order a liter. As I blow the froth back and take in the music and old movies (not to mention a killer beer selection and some well-chosen German-ness) Alex delivers my drink. It’s about as big as my head, and the foam gets all over my face while I’m lapping it up, leaving me as demure as toothless Mastiff bitch burying its face in a dog bowl of beer. With or without lipstick. Onward.
When I described the chosen watering holes for my expedition, many of my friends were totally unfamiliar with this place, a Korean joint positioned a couple doors down from hipster haven Refuge Café. The vibe here is one of hospitable invisibility, a possible tacit acknowledgment of our being the only white kids in the room. After we confer with the staff, a helping of Soju, an extremely sweet Korean vodka, is placed before us and served in what amounts to a small aquarium. Fittingly, a couple of Swedish fish lay motionless at the bottom, presumably dying from hyperglycemia after the trip from the bar to our table. By the time we finish our veggie dumplings and start to watch the Korean hip-hop videos being broadcast on wall screens, I’m struck by how much Myung Dong is completely void of the costumed air of Shanghai – a good reminder of Allston’s oft-overlooked diversity. Korean hip-hop gets me thinking like that. So do fish bowls of alcohol.
With one stop left before my descent from highbrow to lowbrow, I hit up a spot that’s about as bro-tastic as I can stomach while becoming an elegant wastrel for an evening. But, the respectable beer selection and two-dollar burgers add fuel to my fire. Entering, I note the huge TVs placed in the main room to satisfy sporting types, but also the side rooms apparently designed to appease slobbering carnivores of every stripe. The Ave is a little off Allston’s beaten path, which is fine, as I’ve never seen a line in front of it. I meet up with my friends and join them in downing some Lagunitas, which mix with the Korean vodka and the Mai Tai in an unholy way. Not helping is our server’s coarse sandpaper personality, which is harshing my mellow, so we decide to make way to the bottom, as it were. Things are getting queasy.
THE SILHOUETTE LOUNGE
[200 Brighton Ave., Allston]
Miller High Life
Ah, the Sil. My absolute favorite bar in the area. I don’t care what that says about me. It just is. The pitchers are cheap, and there’s popcorn, pool, and a smoke pit. We confer with a wonderful bartender named Irene, the kind of woman who’s hell on wheels and definitely in charge of her surroundings. It’s surprisingly empty for a Saturday night, and yet the bouncer asks if we’ve checked with sweet Irene to see if we can take pictures, which we’re given the green light for. As caustically sweet as she is, when I’m overtaken by a nasty bout of pre-shitfaced (okay, shitfaced) hiccups, she gives me a mysterious remedy that I’m now guessing was some syrupy cousin to pure Ipecac, because all the night’s drinks wind up violently hurled out of my being into the Sil’s questionably sanitary toilet. We hightail it out of there before I can get banned, and the next morning I wake up to no hangover. I call the whole thing a draw.
BY CHRIS FARAONE | @FARA1 | PHOTOS BY DEREK KOUYOUMJIAN
Is it just me, or is it impossible to meet up with a few degenerate friends and a photographer without everyone around you thinking you’re out on the town to break the ice before shooting a porno? Maybe it is just me. Or, that’s just how it felt rolling with the particular group of savages I brought along for my stomp down Atlantic Ave. While everything seemed cool at the dives, on the tony Harbor side of the waterfront our antics were on full display and not well received. Behold a tale of letting it all hang out, for journalism and drinking.
Whether you’re at this Foley’s or the one on East Berkeley Street, near Dig Boston headquarters, delegates and civil servants from most corners of Boston are typically on hand, so people-watching is inevitable. As my friend Lindy and I contemplate the sex lives of the surrounding yuppies adorned in matching North Face gear, my photographer Derek shows up. Those ogling us have no idea what the three of us have in common. Anything would be fair game save for Mormonism and, well, just Mormonism, actually. I rifle down my beer and notice a Budweiser ad out of the corner of my eye, which reads: “Friends Are Waiting.” The asinine slogan fills me with hate and rage: Some marketing asshole was paid more to create that than I make in a year. And yet, it’s fitting, considering we finish our suds to meet up with a new member of our platoon of drunks at the next bar on our roster tonight. Still, fuck that asshole.
When was the last time you saw a woman walk up to a guy playing Golden Tee, grab his crotch, and invite him inside her for “the kind of animal sex that’s typically reserved for rock stars?” That’s what I thought, still that’s not keeping corporate geeks from hogging the arcade corner. But hey, it’s Biddy’s, the most authentic drinking environment downtown has to offer as far as I’m concerned. A pitcher of PBR is quickly ingested as I try my famously unlucky Keno combination. As always, when bellied up to a pitcher here, I’m comfortable and have no will to leave. However, there’s a job to do tonight, and I didn’t wear my fancy powder blue Members Only coat for no reason. It’s time to infiltrate the swank scene.
Look, when in RumBa, one must drink like the RumBans do (sorry). Even though I tend to avoid hard liquor, for the good of the story and my future hangover I request a round of punch for my sordid clan, which has just been joined by the heavily tattooed Johnny Hickey, star and director of the cult film Oxy-Morons, who is talking loudly about “shooting scenes” in the Bunker Hill Projects. This place is chic, gorgeous (in that hotel bar kind of way), and the furthest thing from Biddy’s both in form and function. We grab a corner of the lobby to scare incoming customers. Between the pictures being snapped and the general demeanor of our crew, if the people around us didn’t think there was a skin flick in the works before, they surely do now.
It’s early, only about 8pm, and from what I’m told The Living Room won’t liven up for a few hours. Which is fine by us. We have complete run of the place. Our gang has enough juice to manifest our own party tonight, so it’s Moscow Mules and appetizers for all. Everyone is now fairly hammered, but that doesn’t prevent us from touching on a range of intellectual issues running the gamut between fart jokes and grisly drinking stories. Just after Derek schools us on the history of genocide in Eastern Europe (you know, bar talk), Lindy hangs it up and heads home, leaving the rest of us to slither back across Atlantic for a nightcap back in the dives.
Durty’s is as chill as bars in Boston get, and the bouncer Patrick and bartender Nate make us feel right at home. By now my crew has been whittled down to Derek and Johnny’s buddy Devin. That’s how these outings tend to go, and ending with a different crew from the one you started with is par for the course. Nate pours two glasses for each of us, one with brown liquor, another with orange juice. “Smell it, drink it, follow with the OJ,” he says, with Patrick adding “it’s a breakfast shot.” I consider it a literal definition, and decide there’s no need for the post-bender obligatory South Street Diner stop afterward. All in all, a transcendental experience I won’t soon forget. If nothing else, I suppose it goes to show that in 2014 Boston, you don’t have to resort to copulating on video to have a great time. Just act like you’re going to.
BY SUSANNA JACKSON | @SUEDOESNTTWEET | PHOTOS BY MIKE SCHWARZ
My night began when I realize this story would be more compelling if it started with a dramatic scene setter. “A priest in stilettos walks into a bar…” But no, it was just me in a cocktail dress, comfortable socks, and a pair of well-worn combat boots, accompanied by my friend Noah and my photographer Mike, whose objective, I told him, was to shoot only my good side. He responded: “Do you have a good side?”
I bought a pair of high heels once. They were in good working condition up until this past weekend, when I wore them to my friend’s outdoor wedding during a rainstorm. The bride wore green Wellington rain boots under her gown, but I was not so wise, and thus my trusty black heels crusted with mud and the fake leather frayed. This is the reason for my mismatched outfit, but I probably would have worn it anyways. Mike tells me no one ever looks at your feet. He’s dressed nicer than I am, so I believe him. Not to mention a quick glance around the bustling gastropub reveals that no one there is paying attention to my crew, or the periodical flash from my personal paparazzi (the ability to be anonymous is an admirable trait in a bar). After two extremely smooth cocktails using small batch bourbon that should probably be sipped straight, I feel the night is young enough for me not to care, and to remember that I like cherries.
We walk into Lower Depths, Fenway’s subterranean purveyor of gussied up hot dogs and tater tots, and find it nearly empty, confirming that it is not a game day (one of life’s small victories). Typically boisterous, the cash-only bar is mellow tonight and there’s no need to raise our voices. We do anyway, because movies and alcohol — suddenly Emma Watson’s accent in The Perks of Being A Wallflower is as contentious as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When the food arrives, we are alone beside one another in our solitary gluttonous imbibing of booze and fried potato foodstuffs. I think it’s a bit much, but to quote DJ Rashad and Millennials everywhere, I don’t give a fuck. If I weren’t thirsting for another cocktail, I would double down on a second plate of poutine. I’m cultured like that.
The first time I went to The Hawthorne—that breeding ground for Grade A mixologists in town—was straight after my shift at a coffeehouse gig years back. I was coated with a thick layer of coffee grinds and grime, and I was wearing a backpack. The hostess walked me to a “standing area,” where I became something of a hazard for anyone holding a cocktail. I think about this experience when I see the quiet crowd here tonight, and we snag a seat at the bar, feeling much less likely to cause a backpack-induced spill that would warrant a hazmat crew (my general hygiene tonight is also far superior to what it was during my initial visit here). Noah suggests I try a Vieux Carré. I ask the bartender if he knows how to make one, and the playful-but-not-miffed “yes” I get makes me realize that the question was equivalent to asking a plumber if he deals with shit all day. He gets to pouring and stirring, and stirring, and stirring, for ages, until my chilled, burgundy beverage is presented for the sipping. It’s delicious. I scrawl a note to come back. And to always be sans-knapsack here. Much more enjoyable this way.
Sprawling and celebrated, American brasserie Eastern Standard has been on my list of go-to bars since I arrived in Boston in 2011. I’m feeling the booze surging through my veins, so I go right for a barrel-aged Bols Genever sipper called The Phoenix, with burnt sugar and egg whites, and topped with lemon ash. Amazing. Probably one of the most delightful drinks ever to enter my kisser. After a few pleasant sips, I curiously stick my fingers into the glass to figure out just what lemon ash is. I invite Noah and Mike to follow suit. Then I realize we’re three animals fingering a nice cocktail for mysterious ingredients like a trio of tree sloths clamoring for catapillars. Never before has #ashytoclassy rung so true. Time to go.
It’s a universal truth that the more inebriated one becomes, the more one cares about the props in photo ops. That feeling is enhanced when you have a personal photographer chronicling you getting wildly drunk, which explains why at the last spot I found myself sprawled on Eastern Standard’s majestic bar holding a bottle of liquor. And, after being turned away from crusty Cornwall’s (apparently that can happen) I abandon the guidelines for this dive-to-swank 5-Drink Minimum (to the chagrin of my editor) and opt for Uno’s solely because I want to drink outside, and take a picture with the famed Citgo sign behind me and a beverage in each hand. If there is any prop that reigns supreme in a Fenway bar crawl, it’s that incandescent advertisement, so I order a beer and a shot—it doesn’t matter which beer and which shot at this point—and ask the waitress if I can go outside. “Don’t tell me what you’re doing,” she replies. Victorious, I strike a pose just as a truly viscous case of the drunkard’s hiccups take hold inside me. Noah walks to the curb and hails me a cab. But not before I got that goddamn image. Win.
BY TONY McMILLEN |@TONYMCMILLEN | PHOTOS BY ANDREW NGUYEN
The evening begins as most of my good nights do, in a dark scary alleyway with someone calling my name out from the shadows. Luckily this turns out to be Andrew, the gentleman photographer sent by Dig Boston. Our first stop is Backbar, located in the aforementioned dark scary alleyway. I tell Andrew, “I’m pretty sure this is where Batman’s parents were killed.” He agrees, so we enter confidently.
I sit down next to someone who looks pretty drunk, judging by the fact that his drink is presented in a coconut cup. No sober person chooses a goblet made out of a drupe. Turns out he is just a seven-year-old, but then I realize no non-sober person remembers the word “drupe” as I just did, so I order a Royal Daisy and get down to business. Tart and enjoyable, the libation hits me hard enough that, looking into that kid’s eyes next to me, I sensed he’s seen some real hurt in his lifetime. My hunch is that fruity drink of his is only meant to camouflage a churning darkness waiting just behind his vacant stare. I take his keys so he can’t drive home. I think those are his keys.
It’s dark and inviting as I walk in, with the look of a wooden spaceship, adorned with neglected books and once-loved board games all around. Dressed like I’m going to prom inside Tim Burton’s subconscious, I confidently grab a table and a grapefruit gimlet before getting into a game of Tumbling Towers, which is exactly like Jenga except its name isn’t as clever. The drinks are oiling the gears for unauthorized thoughts, but so far our knockoff Jenga abilities are not in any way impaired. Which tells me it is time to get moving. I’m here to get drunk, not play games.
[1230 Mass Ave., Cambridge]
The Flatlander, Crimson Cup, and La Primavera
Despite the relative opulence of Grafton Street, the vibe here is toasty and friendly. Morgan, the bar manager, is even cool enough to show us a few slick new libations they’re offering. My photographer Andrew and I are joined by two drunk women, one of whom claims to be my girlfriend of the last four years. I invite them to our table as three different drinks are presented, lead by the Flatlander, a new off-menu cocktail made with Mad River Maple Rum and a touch of pear. I take a sip. I want to have its babies. Next is the La Primavera, which I’m thinking is made with whatever alcohol is needed to leave the drinker feeling like they’re surrounded by puppies who genuinely like you as a person. I try not to cry in front of Andrew. Lastly we are treated to a Crimson Cup, which contains cucumber ice. Yes, a cucumber ice cube. Drinking it, I finally understand what Insane Clown Posse was talking about in the song “Miracles.” This is the drink of the night, no question.
At some point the woman claiming to be my live-in girlfriend decides to go home because she’s worked a very long day. Which means Andrew and I are left with the other woman, whose name is Alexandra. Alexandra suggests we should go drink some absinthe, which leads us to the Den. The absinthe here is good, but without wormwood we fail to hallucinate. Things aren’t quite Edward Gorey enough for us, so we order a plate of cheesy nachos and devour them to the last chip. Some British guys and their American friends sitting next to us ask if they can feel the ruffles on my tux shirt. Score one for international relations. Or ruffled shirts. Whatever. Absinthe.
Alexandra flees, leaving me and Andrew to get our final tippler at good old Charlie’s Kitchen. I love it here. So much so that we drop the dapper charade and start guzzling Blue Moon beers. I also get a chocolate milkshake because fuck it. The night ends with a perfect storm in my stomach and me wondering if that woman who said she was my girlfriend is sleeping in her usual spot on our bed at home. I hope she is because I’m in no condition to talk to strangers after all this.
BY KRISTOFER JENSON |@DAILYFANBOY | PHOTOS BY ANDREW NGUYEN
The topic of class, for me, has always conjured a very specific image of assholes who own a ton of expensive shit procured because poorer people can’t afford it. Those adhering to social ladder class climbing tend to fit a specific image of style, taste, and rules. And I hate rules, especially when rules involve looking askance at someone following up filet mignon with a Klondike Choco Taco dessert. For me, mixing up establishments ranging from the power sect to the proletariat is the key to a happy life. I decided to hit up Davis Square, where fancy and dive-y occupy the same square mile. Let’s boogie.
Smack dab in the center of Davis, Mike’s is always full of activity, yet it’s super relaxing. As I enter, the Patriots are playing on TV, and people are running around without seeming rushed or jostled. The diverse menu covers a lot of ground at once. At the bar, you can grab a nice craft beer, but for this round I went straight for a bucket of Narragansett (remember: Beers + bucket = more beer for you). Literally, it’s four tall cans of ‘Gansett in a bucket with ice, and I take down the suds with a plate of French fries. Every good night of drinking requires a firm base of starch. Write that down.
Fun fact about the Flatbread Company: The good food, cozy interior, and built-in activity space make it a choice spot for a second date in the Boston Metro Area. So, I make it my second stop of the evening. Three identities flow seamlessly together here: candlepin bowling alley, a flatbread pizza kitchen, and excellent craft beer bar. Bowling and drinking are natural allies in the fight against good posture, and spending a night at Flatbread spares you the ill-advised, drunk munchies-at-1am call to Domino’s. I sidle up to the bar before one of my favorite sights … a system of beer taps with nothing I’ve tried before on the list. However, on my bartender Paul’s recommendation, I go for the always reliable Berkshire Brewing Company’s Coffeehouse Porter, which goes down smooth while giving me that little extra kick of energy I’ll need to make it through the night. Related: I’m getting full already.
I’m now joined by Boston burlesque icon Mary Widow. The Burro is a solid outpost for Mexican dinners and loud bar nights, but is also a favorite of mine for quiet afternoon drinking. It’s a pretty laid back scene tonight. I kick things off with the “Spicy el Diablo,” a cocktail with Jalapeno-infused tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Not having experienced a libation quite like it previously, I felt my sinuses clear out immediately while my liver pickled. I double down on the spice factor (or triple down, if you count Mary Widow entering the scene) and order the Chorizo de la Casa taco. Sometimes journalism for Dig Boston requires you to get heartburn. And drunk. Often both.
Like most people in the local arts scene, I was sad to see the closing of the iconic Rosebud Diner last year. Lots of great shows, billiards at night, and even a few impromptu wrestling matches pepper my memories of that big, square room with the strangely placed half-wall. But the second I stepped foot into the new Rosebud—re-imagined from front to back as a comfortable, stylish lounge with an elegant dessert menu—I knew I’d found a new haunt. I order the smooth, warming single-barrel Four Roses house bourbon, bottles of which line the bar’s mirror, and chase it down with a creamy, not-too-sweet lemon meringue pie (yes, you can chase bourbon with pie when getting wrecked). Stylish but not pretentious, the new Rosebud is perfect for anniversary drinks, unwinding after work, even the occasional secret agent drop point, which I imagine happening here in the future. Okay, I’m drunk.
Bars anywhere that have classic, pre-Prohibition vibes tend to be hits with me. But for Saloon, the commitment to aesthetic is evidenced by a wood-and-brown-liquor decor, and the fact it’s hidden in plain sight down a flight of stairs in the middle of Elm Street. We’re seated, and I already know this is the place to end my journey up the social ladder of my particular nook of Somerville. I’m also sloshed at this point, but not so much that I didn’t enjoy the classy populism of the cocktail menu and the warm glow of the interior. I may have started the night with a bucket of beer in an area dive, but the calming effect of Saloon’s signature creation, General Clark—a potent mixture of bourbon, averna, aperol, and lemon—is helping me appreciate the small miracle that there’s room enough for drunks of all idiosyncrasies and incomes in the Hub.