review: lord hobo

[by john]

mike, jim, and i were banging down the doors of (ok, waiting patiently in line at) lord hobo at 5 pm tonight for the public opening of the venerated b-side's replacement. in true insouciant b-side fashion, the bouncer waited to finish his cigarette before letting us into a fashionable, cleaner incarnation of the previous bar. the peninsular bar still exists, but the iron airplane fan is gone and all the spirits have moved to the back bar to make room for the dozens of beer taps down the spine of the peninsula.

despite the obvious beer focus, mike and i immediately scoured the cocktail menu. first observation: no classics. in a good sense, though - they can undoubtedly make them, but decided to present their original variants.

i went for their manhattan-esque offering, the rambler (rye, french vermouth, amaro nonino, maraschino). it ended up too dry and sharp for my taste, and i was somewhat appalled that the bartender shook the drink. mike chose the angelina (gin, st. germain, yellow chartreuse, lemon juice and bitters), which didn't have much at all of the advertised bitter component.

being good experimentalists, we stuck it out for another round despite a so-so start. mike picked out the sloppy possum (for the record: according to urbandictionary, not yet a sexual move) - equal parts fernet and domaine de canton with a bit of lemon juice. what a cool combination. the ginger of the canton pops early, then the characteristic bitter mint finish of the fernet, a little subdued from the canton's sweetness. i got the soylent green, which is essentially a chartreuse swizzle with lemon, cucumber and mint. really good.

so they have good drinks, at $10 a pop. and formidable beers. we also availed ourselves of some charcuterie, which i thought was overpriced at $11 (craigie's version is $15 for a creamier, more delicate offering). one nitpick: their drinks sit too low their cocktail glasses, which make me feel a bit swindled, even if i know they are the same volume as those at drink, say. but the atmosphere on the first night was great and lively, and the bartenders were amiable and helpful. it'll definitely be in the regular rotation.

a parting recipe. i was tempted by the wall st., but decided against it because i thought i had all the ingredients - whiskey, lillet, orange bitters. so i went home and tried to make it, slowly increasing the lillet, until i felt i had the right amount. but it was too dry - do these bartenders like everything dry?! i immediately thought to add benedictine, and once i did, the drink filled out, at which point i dubbed it:

4:2:1 rye whiskey: lillet blanc: benedictine
1 dash orange bitters

stir and strain
only then did i look at their menu online and see that a wall st. calls for lillet rouge - ah, so my sweetening instinct was right! i suppose i'll start with that next time.


  1. The first version of the Wall Street reminds me of a drink I've made at home -- the Stargazer cocktail (equal parts rye and lillet blanc, dash Angostura, orange twist). It's actually rather good even though the Lillet gets a little crushed by the whiskey.

  2. They actually tore out the old bar and replaced it. I was walking by in the spring and it was bare. I imagine because of the number of taps and lines.