Breweries & Bars

Fort Point’s award-winning bar Drink has never had a cocktail menu — until now

"It’s a new era," said Michael Dudas, director of operations.

Drink in Fort Point
Drink in Fort Point. Provided

When Barbara Lynch’s craft cocktail bar, Drink, opened in Fort Point in 2008, the concept of a menu-less bar was still relatively novel to Boston imbibers. Inside the sunken lounge on Congress Street, guests would describe the cocktail they were in the mood for, naming liquors and flavor profiles to help guide the bartender: “gin,” “something with citrus,” “not too sweet.” Sure, you could ask for a regular old-fashioned, but there was never a menu to point to and say, “that one.”

Until now. After closing in early July for renovations, Drink reopened on Nov. 18 — this time with the first cocktail menu in its 13-year history.

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“It’s a new era,” said Michael Dudas, director of operations for the Barbara Lynch Collective. “This was the way forward.”

Prior to the reopening, Dudas said that, like many restaurants and bars in the city, they were struggling to find staff, including a manager. Instead, he hired Will Thompson, a former Drink employee, as a consultant — someone who “understood the original ethos” behind Drink and could help get it up and running again. Thompson suggested adding a drink menu, and assembled a lineup of cocktails along with a grid that places the drinks in “modern,” “refreshing,” “classic,” and “spirited” categories.

On the new menu, visitors can order classics like a sazerac, French 75, mint julep, and Aviation, as well as the Fort Point, made with rye, vermouth, and Benedictine liqueur. There’s a Corpse Reviver, a Oaxacan old fashioned, and the mezcal-based Division Bell. The Maxamillian Affair highlights mezcal, elderflower, vermouth, and lemon, while a Kinsgton negroni features Jamaican rum, Campari, and sweet vermouth. A short list of beer and wine are also on the menu.

Dudas said that guests have responded well to the change. But for those who are fans of Drink’s “tell me what you want” approach, don’t worry — the bar, which was named “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” in 2013 at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, still invites patrons to order customized cocktails. “Don’t see what you’re looking for? Just ask!” reads a small corner of the menu.

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“At the end, not having a cocktail list is an illusion,” Dudas pointed out. “If you come in and you’re like, ‘I want a gin cocktail and I like this kind of citrus,’ the bartender’s probably going to say, ‘here’s an Aviation.'”

In addition to the new menu, Dudas said they addressed the flooding issues that have plagued Drink for years, which involved removing the entire back bar, treating the foundation, and redirecting a variety of equipment. Though the bar is still understaffed and has paused its takeout cocktail program for now, they’re slowly adding additional employees, and will begin to open on Wednesdays next week after only operating Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays since mid-November.

“Drink had this identity,” Dudas said. “We didn’t turn Drink into a dive bar. We’re still honoring classic craft cocktails and doing them the right way, but thinking: how do we move forward? … I’m proud of what we’ve done, and I think we’re having really good, fun nights here.”

Drink; 348 Congress St., Boston; Thursdays–Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; drinkfortpoint.com

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