Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“The restaurant oozes class, but the bar is casual enough that we felt comfortable in jeans.”
Neighborhood: Theatre District
Address: 1 Charles Street South
Date of Visit: Thursday, September 16, 2011
Server Name: Cara R.
So we’ve quietly been a fan of Avila since St. Patrick’s Day 2011, when we stopped in for a drink before meeting some friends for dinner nearby. During the day, the bar area is well lit by natural light, and after sundown the classy-yet-casual atmosphere employs warm, low lighting to create an ambiance perfect for quiet conversation at the bar. The restaurant oozes class, but the bar is casual enough that we felt comfortable in jeans. The bathrooms are super clean, and the staff friendly and attentive.
Many of the folks at the bar seem to be regulars, and on both of our trips the bartenders seemed to know at least half of the customers there. On our first trip, Valerie remembers the bartender being knowledgeable about both the restaurant’s menu as well as spirits in general, and we made friends with a wonderful woman who owns a condo in nearby Park Plaza. During this most recent trip, our bartender, Cara, was amazing, attentive, and very nice! Cara made sure to ask which kind of alcohol Eric and Jeremy wanted in their drinks and even brought out some Fried Goat Cheese Balls (think grown-up mozzarella sticks, but creamier and with a much more intense flavor – delicious!). Despite it being a Friday night, the bar was pretty quiet, and based on our past experience we think that Avila is probably more of a happy hour stop off than a late night destination, making it a great option for apps and drinks before a show in the Theatre District, after an evening of shopping on Newbury, or even after a movie at the nearby AMC Lowes Boston Common.
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: Raspberry Lime Rickey
Ingredients: Absolut Raspberri, Black Raspberry Liquor, fresh lime juice, fresh raspberry
Review: Wanting to deviate a bit from my traditional martini choice (I wanted to spice up my reviews a bit!) I ordered the raspberry lime rickey. It was the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, chilled nicely, with just the right amount of lime garnish. I was impressed with the size of this one – granted, its $11, but compared to some of the other $10+ drinks we ordered, this one wins in size for your money. It wasn’t all ice and juice either – this drink had some kick!
Eric’s Drinks of Choice: New Fashioned
Ingredients: Absolut Mango, lemon juice, soda water, fresh orange, fresh cherry
Review: As most may know, I’ve been on a Mad Men kick as of late and Burns has been coming over and making Old Fashioneds over the past couple of months; thus, it’s no surprise that I was immediately drawn to this “new” version of the drink. The modern version of the drink looked pretty good on paper; however, it deviated just a bit too much from the taste that one would expect with “Fashioned” in the name…perhaps it was the lack of bitters? Nonetheless, the Absolut Mango and fresh juices truly offered a refreshing and smooth cocktail.
I chose to forgo a second New Fashioned and asked Cara for the more traditional version. Cara was quick to question what kind of Bourbon I wanted in the cocktail, and quickly rattled off no less than three or four top-shelf bourbons, as well as a couple of call versions. I went for Knob Creek and was impressed with Cara’s ability to create the layers of flavors he’s come to expect from one of these delicious libations.
Wine Prices: Six white, two rose, and nine red wines by the glass, ranging from $8 to $15 dollars. Bottle prices were not on the drink menu at the bar, but we did find them on the website, here. Red,white, and pink sangria also available by the glass ($10- but were on special for $5) and carafe for $25. Three champagnes by the glass also at $9, $10, and $15.
Beer Prices: Eric swears he saw taps at the bar area, but it’s not on the drink menu and we didn’t see any prices or options listed on their website…looks like a trip back might be in order 🙂
Other: Avila boasts ten signature cocktails at $11 each. Including the two above, there’s also a cucumber gimlet, pomegranate mojito, “Elvis Mudslide” and the drink that Valerie almost ordered – the Pineapple Upside Down Cake.