Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“A bit off the beaten path, you’ll find more regulars here than you will tourists or out-of-towners.”
Neighborhood: South End
Address: 493 Massachusetts Avenue
Date of Visit: Monday, August 31, 2011
Server Name: Unknown
Parish Cafe is quite nice, and for whatever reason (probably the delicious food and drink that they offer consistently), has been amazingly busy lately. The dark wood accents of the bar give it the warm feel that speaks, “Come. Sit for a while. Enjoy a libation. Speak with others, or don’t, we have flat screen TVs, too.” A bit off the beaten path, you’ll find more regulars here than you will tourists or out-of-towners. This Parish, like its sister location on Boylston Street (albeit much smaller and lacking the outdoor space), offers some classed-up options for food, including menu items courtesy of other local chef’s. The same rings true for many of their drink specials, where advice is heeded from some of Boston’s best barfolk.
One of Eric’s favorite parts of the Parish experience is the mug club they offer. By simply spending a little over $800 in about 6 months (100 beers within the six month period), you get a fancy 25-ounce mug, custom engraved, that you can have filled each time you enter the bar. Valerie thought the mug club was silly and a waste of time, so of course Eric decided to participate. So far, Eric’s checked about 10 beers off the list (ok…the Kaliber [non-alcoholic beer] really shouldn’t count, but it’s there). Check out the new Twitter for when you can join him in his quest!
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: The Zinger
Ingredients: Stoli raspberry vodka, chambord, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, topped with unsweetened iced tea; sugared rim
Review: In Parish’s extensive mixed drink menu, I immediately landed upon the Zinger. First of all, it had a fun name, and second I actually knew (and like) everything that’s in the drink. There wasn’t some obscure liqueur that I had no idea what it would taste like; instead I thought I knew what I would get, and I thought that would be a tasty raspberry flavored iced tea. I thought wrong. This drink was just plain not good – another friend of ours also ordered it and thought the same so I feel more validated in this less than flattering review. For starters, the sugar rim (while perhaps the best tasting part of the drink) quickly descended down the outside of the glass, making the whole thing a sticky mess. On top of that the flavor was just off – there was a bizarre aftertaste. I’m not sure if it was the tea that was used or the mix of the tea with the chambord, but had this drink not cost over ten dollars, I would have stopped drinking it immediately.
Eric’s Drink of Choice: Strawberry Basil-tini
Ingredients: Smirnoff vodka, fresh basil leaves, lime juice, strawberry syrup
Review: This is the first time Eric has actually shouted in joy when first tasting a pink cocktail in a martini class. No word of a lie, the Strawberry Basil-amazingness might just be the best new-school craft cocktail on the planet. The basil in the drink plays just perfectly off the sweet-yet-tart strawberry flavor, and offers a fresh taste that lingers well after a sip is taken. The bartender mixed this one up perfectly, and the layering flavors were so perfectly chilled, but not so much that they were muted by the cold. If you swing by Parish (even planning on tackling the mug club), you should try one of these to start off the night.
Wine Prices: Assorted whites and reds by the glass and bottle (we missed the prices on these sorry!)
Beer Prices: As we described earlier when talking about the Mug Club, Parish Cafe has over a hundred beers, a ton of which are on tap. They all mostly fall within the $5 to $8 range. You have to go to see the full list!
Other: Parish had their Summer Cocktail menu out (so we’re assuming it changes seasonally) which included ten mixed drinks between $9 and $10.50. Both of our drinks fit into this menu along with both a red and white sangria, a mojitio, mai tai, and watermelon margarita (which our friend told us was delicious). The other thing we loved about Parish was that they also featured five cocktails from other restaurants in Boston, such as the Wandering Poet, a drink from Via Matta’s menu.
We also had these AMAZING onion rings- they are a must order!