- The B-Side
- 🍹 Set your spirits free
🍹 Set your spirits free
Plus: 🤢 The rain’s nasty consequence
It’s Thursday, Boston.
🎟️ It’s a beautiful day to drop some $$$ on the Red Sox and concert tickets. Tickets for Opening Day at Fenway and games through June 5 go on sale today at 10 a.m., and presale for Boston Calling kicks off this morning at 10 a.m., too. Thoughts and prayers to your credit card bill.
👀 What’s on tap today:
Mass.’ wet, hot year
2024 Pride is so on
Boston nightlife’s rock bottom
Mocktail telephone tag
Image courtesy of Comfort Kitchen. Illustration by Gia Orsino.
BREAKING: Dry January doesn’t have to be dry. On this month’s edition of small business telephone tag, we asked five bar owners and managers where they like to indulge in a spirit-free bev when they’re not drinking their own.
Here’s what they said.
🍸 Good Company loves Pammy’s. Local cocktail wizard Seth Freidus recently opened Good Company in Charlestown, where the cocktail and spirit-free menus feature unique ingredients like duck fat, curry, and pickled beets. But when it comes to other restaurants and bars, he’s got a lot of love for Pammy’s in Cambridge. Rob Fick, Pammy’s beverage director, “does a particularly nice job” and “all of his mocktails are super balanced and thoughtful,” he said.
🍹 Pammy’s loves The Lexington. Ficks estimates the number of Pammy’s customers opting for spirit-free drinks has “grown three-fold in the last three years,” (their NA-groni is their most popular spirit-free drink). His favorite mocktail in recent memory was the “Summer Recess” at The Lexington in Cambridge, a flavor explosion of Martini Rossi aperitif, elderflower, and olive brine. Ficks gave bar manager Tom Mahne kudos for “running an overall amazing program.”
🥃 The Lexington loves Comfort Kitchen. Mahne’s a firm believer that restaurants need to make space for mocktails, but if you’re going to add them to the menu, they’ve got to “deliver the same level that your cocktail menu is delivering,” he said. Mahne admires how Kyisha Davenport, Comfort Kitchen’s beverage director, has balanced the menu’s ratio of cocktails to mocktails, while still using high quality, house made ingredients that stay true to the brand’s mission of celebrating diverse flavors.
🌺 Comfort Kitchen loves Cafe Sauvage. For Davenport, the first step to making a good mocktail is not calling it a mocktail. “That straight out of the gate devalues the work folks are really trying to do,” she said. To her, these are individual drinks with their own personality and inventiveness — they’re not trying to be anything else. When it comes to spirit-free classics, she loves the Bissap at Cafe Sauvage in the Back Bay, a traditional African juice made with hibiscus, mint, lemon (bonus: It’s only $7).
🍋 Cafe Sauvage loves Citrus and Salt. Cafe Sauvage didn’t have a liquor license until six months into opening so diners got accustomed to their booze-free menu (the hibiscus-based “Moulin Rogue” and “Hibiscus Sunrise” are the biggest hits). Owner Anaïs Lambert recently enjoyed a simple, yet refreshing agua fresca from Citrus & Salt, made with herbal tea, lemon, and agave. And she’s dying to try the NA menu at Grace by Nia in the Seaport.
👀 Want more? Here’s Boston Chefs’ list of 20 local spirit-free bevs to get you through the rest of Dry January.
🍸️ Which spirit-free locale would you most like to try?
Let us know below!
TOGETHER WITH THE BOSTON RUN SHOW
Casual runners 🤝 marathon pros
🏃♀️💨 Love a good jog? The Boston Run Show is the spot where runners of all levels — from the “I’m more of a power walker” to the “I’m basically Forrest Gump” — come together. Mark your calendars for Jan. 27 to 28 at the Hynes Convention Center and stop by to mingle with coaches, listen to inspiring talks from legends like Olympic sprinter Micheal Johnson and former soccer pro Hellah Sidibe, and shop all of your fav brands like Puma, Asics, Adidas, New Balance, and more. Tickets are online and FREE when you use code: BSIDE.
Quick & dirty headlines
Image: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
🤢 This week’s storm had some nasty consequences. It’s no surprise that Tuesday’s windy deluge turned into a textbook mess, see: flooding, MBTA interruptions, power outages, evacuations, and washed out roads. But one impact is decidedly grosser than the others: Sewage discharges. Public health warnings have been issued in harbors and channels around The Charles River, East Boston, and Fort Point. But don’t fret! Basically, as long as you stay away from the bodies of water (so no swimming, fishing, drinking, etc.) until the warning is over, you have nothing to worry about. That includes your fur babies, too!
🔥 2023 was a wet, hot Massachusetts year. In fact, it was one of the wettest and hottest ones on record. Last year tied 2012 for Mass.’ hottest year on record, with more than a dozen individual cities across the region also having their hottest years ever (the third hottest on record for Boston). Plus: It was also our seventh wettest year ever, a trend that spanned across the northeast, causing economic issues and physical infrastructure problems alike. And as the climate keeps warming, we can pretty much expect more of the same.
🏳️🌈 Get your rainbow fits ready! Boston Pride for the People, the organization hosting this year’s pride parade and festival, announced the annual festivities will be taking place on June 8 this year. This is BP4TP’s second year hosting Pride, a responsibility they picked up after the former organization, Boston Pride, dissolved amid criticism of exclusionary practices leading to a two-year gap in parade programming from 2021 to 2022. Check out the details here.
🎂 Don’t go into business with friends? Not at this local bakery. A few pals who met at a party years ago and bonded over sending recipes back and forth to improve them, have turned their (adorable) hobby into a brick-and-mortar business in Somerville called Maprang Bakery & Cafe. The bakery, which is designed, managed, and run as a group-effort, serves up Southeast Asian flavors meets traditional baking chops, with offerings from pastries to drinks and elaborately decorated cakes. You can check out their IG here.
ONE LAST THING
Boston’s new nightlife … kinda
Image: John Tlumacki/Globe Staff. Illustration: Gia Orsino.
Green flag: Boston finally has a spot open past midnight. Beige flag: It’s a Taco Bell.
We mentioned a while ago that a late-night Taco Bell was greenlit to open in Allston in the old location of Great Scott, an iconic music hall that closed during COVID. Now, it’s officially open for business later into the night than most Boston nightclubs: 3:00 a.m. on weekdays and until 3:30 on weekends.
Unfortunately, we are in Boston, so no nightlife news can come without a price. And in this case, it looks like the price is no booze. Although the location has “Cantina” on the sign (meaning, a location with alcohol available), the city opted to not give the spot a liquor license, at least for now. And the extent of Taco Bell’s spirit-free options is … a Baja Blast.
At least it’s Dry January?
— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario
🌮 Thanks for reading! But TBH, the Baja Blast is still something of a marvel in the beverage world.
💜 Special shoutout to today's sponsor, Boston Run Show, for supporting local journalism and bringing runners of all levels together.
🏘️ The results are in: Your No. 1 request for Mayor Wu in 2024: Affordable housing, with 56% of the vote. Plus, an honorable mention to the MBTA, which Mayor Wu didn’t directly mention, but many of you wrote in. One reader said: “Can't live in the city if we can't afford to live here!”