a bad review

[by john]

a rather well respected cocktail blogger reviewed drink (i'd say my favorite bar in the world), and just excoriated the establishment. being a boston cocktail nut, i feel like the review attacks me personally, however ridiculous that notion is.

an apologia. the experience matt had there sounds plain terrible. it sounds like going out for cocktails at...legal seafood, or on boylston street. a cocky, bad bartender. pitchers of premixed drinks (side note - i noticed these getting prepped the last time i went to drink - 5pm on a saturday night. i was disappointed, but misty was adamant about their necessity for high throughput nights.). a four-deep bar. free pouring. shots?! ugh.

but, let me be clear - i have never been to the drink that matt went to.

i've always enjoyed drink on off hours, so that i can talk to the bartenders, let alone get a seat. i thought it was a rule among cocktail geeks to avoid bars on friday and saturday nights, unless you want a beer.

i've never seen someone shoot a shot there.

i've never seen free pouring (modulo champagne floats).

i've actually gotten a boothby manhattan no problem.

and yet, matt's experience exemplifies something i've been sensing - that the level of professionalism at drink is slipping... unlike the first generation of bartenders who started the place, not every new bartender (and there are lots of them, with drink's growing popularity) knows their shit, let alone their classic shit.

and i feel like the bartenders effectively are creating a menu - instead of listening to each patron - by pigeonholing tastes into the friday/saturday pre-mixed drinks. it takes the magic out of drink, and it saddens me to think that a no-menu kind of bar can't do big business.

as for his remaining critiques - no doorman, no menu, no liquor shelf - well, i'd rather sit down and have a drink to talk about them. i believe that an open (we're not speakeasy nyc), interactive (for minutes at a time during off hours), and unostentatious (bars are not liquor churches) bar is the new paradigm.

matt is clearly not one of those confused yelpers who can't get a bud. drink should listen up and get its shit together.


  1. Hi John,
    First thanks for linking up and for expanding on my review of Drink with your own experiences.

    I've actually posted a follow-up to the review and included some response to your comments. You can check it out here.

    One last thing: the drinks that we had weren't pre-mixed. I actually don't have a problem at all with pre-mixed or bottled cocktails. If done right, things like Manhattans or Daiquiris can be great if pre-made and bottled (Owen Thompson of Bourbon in DC did a bottled cocktail event earlier this year).

    The problem with the drinks we were served was they were started afresh, partially mixed, and then left on the counter for anywhere from three to ten minutes in glasses with ice, incomplete and melting. The result was watery cocktails that were incredibly out of balance. It is a problem of incorrect technique at the time of construction and one that a brief education in properly mixing cocktails would fix.

    I know that sounds harsh, but I think as you're pointing out in your post, the level of professionalism should be higher. Hopefully folks at Drink see your post and recognize you as a regular whose concerns should be recognized...and by the time I come back to Boston, all will be well!


  2. thanks for clarifying on all points, matt.

    and incidentally, this tidbit out today may change my own harsh opinion of legal seafood:
    there's hope!