When we planned our New England foodie tour, we knew Boston would be our opportunity to not only have great food but explore great craft cocktails. We did a lot of research prior to the trip and The Hawthorne, located in the Hotel Commonwealth was one we kept coming across. I can tell you that I was a little skeptical about a “hotel lobby bar”. Considering that when we travel, we do not stay in fancy hotels like The Plaza (no hotel loyalty points!) so my experience with hotel chain lobby bars, set a pretty low expectation. They also don’t have a website yet so my only exposure to them was Googling to find other articles that had been written about them.
We went on a Tuesday night so the bar wasn’t very busy. The main room has a long, white granite bar that seats 18 people, a large communal table made of espresso wood and a few smaller seating areas which included couches, wingback chairs and small coffee tables. There is a second room off to the right that is used for overflow but can also be rented for a small private party with its own private bar. The entire space is decorated in a cool, modern color palette of black, white and gray and small pops of color. It was designed to look and feel like a penthouse living room, upscale but comfortable, as if you were at a friend’s house. It is beautifully appointed and definitely model-house worthy!
We sat at the bar because we like to talk with the bartenders and watch them as they artfully make our drinks. Like many great craft cocktail bars, they have a changing menu of signature creations. We always like to start with one (or two) of those before working with them to devise a unique creation based on our spirit and flavor profile preferences. This gives us the chance to get to know the bartender to see if they truly know their craft or have just memorized the signature drinks and spiel for each.
Our bartender’s name was Carrie and she truly was a master of her craft. She was an easy conversationalist and passionate about the beverage program that Jackson Cannon had created at the Hawthorne. Cannon also heads the bar programs at sister establishments Island Creek Oyster Bar and Eastern Standard. We were feeling pretty comfortable with Carrie so we were ready to put our trust in her to make us some drinks based on spirits of our choice.