Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“Dark wood is abundant throughout the entire establishment, and the music playing gave us a feeling as if the trip down the stairs was a leap back in time.”
Neighborhood: Davis Square
Address: 255 Elm Street, Somerville
Date of Visit: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Server Name: Becca & Alyssa were our servers and Tracy was our Whiskey Connoisseur
Tucked down a set of steps and only marked by their name in script on a light outside the entrance, we walked by Saloon at least twice before noticing the light and the gentleman carding at the door. Essentially beneath the Somerville theatre and in the basement of The Foundry (probably because it’s the same owners), Saloon’s speakeasy vibe continues as you make your way into the expansive bar. We came here for a Google Places Whiskey Tasting Event, which was located just off of the main room, tucked away in a smaller space complete with soft bench seating and low lighting, mirrors, and speakers pumping the same music as the main room in. Dark wood is abundant throughout the entire establishment, and the music playing gave us a feeling as if the trip down the stairs was a leap back in time. The bartenders dress in classy get ups complete with aprons, giving the entire evening a feeling of not just a bar, but an experience. The appetizers that were served were all great, especially the Devils on Horseback, which were dates stuffed with feta, wrapped in bacon and fried…SO GOOD!
We sampled three different whiskeys – Riverboat Rye Whiskey, Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon, and Prichard’s Single Malt Whiskey. Check out some pictures below, then read on for our non-whiskey drink reviews!
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: Hamilton Daiquiri
Ingredients: Rum, maraschino liqueur, lime, mint syrup, tiki bitters
Review: I ordered the Hamilton Daiquiri after several people had suggested it, and unfortunately I was not overly impressed. To me, it tasted a bit grassy, perhaps a combination of the mint syrup with the tiki bitters, unlike the mojito-like flavor I was expecting from the ingredients listed on the menu. On the first taste, you get the bitter flavor, and the drink gets sweeter as you sip. Overall, I didn’t really like it…but I did try (and partially enjoy) whiskey, so that’s an accomplishment!
Eric’s Drink of Choice: Ward 44
Ingredients: Pork belly whiskey, lemon, sugar, house grenadine
Review: Pork Belly infused whiskey? Um, sounds AMAZING. The pork belly flavor was immediately apparent and gave the drink a wonderful bacon-like flavor with a smokey aftertaste. One might infer that the infusion would have led to a greasy sheen over the top of the cocktail or an oily mouth feel, but that was not the case. The texture of the cocktail was almost as satisfying as the flavor profile, which despite being a fairly simple drink to concoct, were inherently complex.
The most surprising element to the entire evening was the fact that the food pairings offered along with our tastings actually worked! I thought at first that the whiskey would completely wipe out my palate, but especially with this cocktail, it was not the case. The smokey flavors played well with the various offerings, which were fairly robust in themselves. The smell from the bacon-wrapped, feta-stuffed dates reflected the smokiness of my cocktail, while the taste of the various cheeses offered were actually enhanced and transformed when bites were taken after a sip.
Wine Prices: Four reds and four whites are available by the glass for $6 to $12 and bottle for $24 to $48. They also have a house red and white for $5 a glass, $12 a half liter and $20 a full liter. Four sparkling wines are also available.
Beer Prices: Sixteen beers are on tap for $3.50 to $9 each. Twenty two bottled/canned beers are also available.
Other: Saloon has fourteen “bespoke cocktails” all for $10 to $12 each. Along with the two above, there are the Saloon Sour, Americana and T.W. Negroni. They also have a “Flask of House Punch” that serves two and is $15.
Saloon’s full menu, including beverages, is online here.