Boston's Best Bartender 2018
The Improper Bostonian
Jackson Cannon’s classy Kenmore Square speakeasy boasts an abundance of bartenders with the essential combination of technical chops and frictionless hospitality that characterizes the best craft cocktail bars. Saladino is a star among stars here, a blur of compact motion and economical energy who somehow manages to make each customer feel personally attended to and cared for. After nearly seven years in business, the Hawthorne is still the real deal, and Saladino is its paragon.
Drink of the Week: Phil Collins
The Food Lens
Originally conceived by The Hawthorne’s legendary founder, Jackson Cannon, the Phil Collins appeared on the sleek, cozy cocktail bar’s opening menu. It’s since become a classic, and annually rejoins the menu for three to four weeks around the start of each summer.
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This sleek, mid-century-inspired cocktail lounge within the Hotel Commonwealth takes the “lounge” part of its description very seriously: much of its seating is in the form of gorgeous, spread-out furniture that could have been plucked from the penthouse apartment of a ‘60s ad exec. The drink list is full of boozy, adventurous cocktails that lend themselves to slow sipping in handsome armchairs. A small plates menu offers snacks plucked from the golden age of the cocktail party, like soft pretzels and deviled eggs.
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Nationally recognized bar owner, mentor and bartender Jackson Cannon creates well-crafted sips and memorable moments for guests at this 112-seat bar. Soft gray and black decor, plush textures and artwork curated by Stephen Sheffield create a classic backdrop for a cocktail menu of old classics and new concoctions. The Sherry Cobbler varies based on seasonal ingredients; one version mixes Amontillado sherry with clear curacao and grapefruit liqueur; the Phil Collins combines cucumber vodka with lime, simple syrup, chartreuse and cranberry bitters.
2017 Dream Living Room
The Improper Bostonian
Many Boston cocktail bars compete to most accurately resemble a hipster’s idea of his great-grandfather’s favorite speakeasy. Not the Hawthorne. The husband-and-wife team at Sheffield Interiors created a space that feels more like a home’s salon than a saloon, with inviting arrangements of contemporary furnishings, mixed prints and smart accents. Add in gracious hospitality and delicious drinks like Under the Volcano—made with Del Maguey Chichicapa mezcal, Lustau East India sherry, Amaro Nonino and mole bitters—and we’re ready to move in.
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Cocktail bar elegance and refinement at its best, The Hawthorne is another regular honoree in national best cocktail bar lists and awards, and the attention to detail here shows why. Part of the sprawling Hotel Commonwealth collection, including Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster bar, The Hawthorne is the place to start, or end, a bar hop, with its wide and deeply-curated selection of spirits.
Boston in Three Drinks
The Daily Beast
After making his name at Boston institution Eastern Standard, Jackson Cannon opened the neighboring Hawthorne in 2011 with the aim of creating a world-class cocktail destination. He has definitely succeeded and the bar has garnered three James Beard Award semifinalist nods. There’s a rotating menu of tasty cocktails on which the Belafonte is a frequent presence. And Cleve likes it for both its “rich, luxurious flavor” and its “retro-styled name, conjuring both the sound of calypso as well as images of Italy.” The drink combines Plantation Rum from the Caribbean with Carpano Vermouth and artichoke-flavored amaro Cynar from Italy as well as a house-made coffee liqueur.
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First the Hotel Commonwealth convinced food- and drink-savvy Bostonians that Kenmore Square transcended Red Sox games at Fenway Park with Eastern Standard, the brasserie where ordering a Bijou and steak tartare ensured bliss. Then came the Hawthorne, an intimate shrine devoted to cocktails, where impressively wrought drinks turned out at the long bar, like a bitter Campari-laced Mai Tai, are ever-changing and the intriguing menu is matched by a welcoming residential atmosphere. Surrounded by books, photographs, and fashionable furniture, it’s like spending the night in an artsy salon.
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Nationally recognized as one of the country’s top bar owners, bar mentors, and craft tenders, co-owner and bar director Jackson Cannon has built an experience at The Hawthorne that revolves around a commitment to education, thoughtfully crafted cocktails, and curating exceptional moments for their guests, much like the one he curated at sister establishment Eastern Standard. Bar manager Jared Sadoian's focus for The Hawthorne's beverage program is on geniality, comfort, and sourcing high-quality spirits. The multi-room space is one of the nicest in Kenmore Square: warm and comfortable, with low tables and plenty of available armchairs -- it’s sort of like sitting in someone’s living room, but one that offers some of the best cocktails in town.