Where we’ve been drinking: Brick & Mortar
If we’re forced to go to Central Square–not our favorite of the squares–we’d always prefer to end up at Brick & Mortar. It’s been the location for a handful of friends’ birthday and dissertation parties. You go to a lot of the latter when you live in Boston; you start to feel like you travel in a pretty smart crowd, and like you’re the oaf they let hang around.
Even under different owners, when it was called the Enormous Room, Brick & Mortar has kept up the space’s somewhat obscure yet alluring nature. It’s part speakeasy, part American Tavern, part dance club (if you stay late enough). It can’t quite decide what it wants to be, not unlike the angsty and confused 20-somethings who wander the square (I swear they make the homeless population there seem like a nice, put-together bunch). Regardless, you are certain to get a great cocktail at Brick & Mortar and for that we applaud it. (check out full menu here)
(If you’re looking for this place, find Central Kitchen)
Brian and I have a sweet MO that I really love, and is probably terribly annoying to any and all of our friends. It goes something like this:Whenever we go out for drinks or for dinner…or really anything that isn’t ice cream or coffee, we decide on two things we equally want and then we share them. It’s the best system ever. We get to try double the menu items, and it increases the likelihood that we’ll get something we like.
So per the usual at our last Brick & Mortar venture, we looked at the menu, and then the standard question ensued, “So what looks good to you?” (it’s this part–the obligatory 5 minute menu deliberating–that makes us not the best dinner companions). After comparing notes of the drinks that sounded of interest we decided on two:
What we ordered & What we thought: Take Your Top Off and Sister Mary
Take Your Top Off was good, but was it was served with a baseball amount of crushed ice on top; you might have mistaken it for a snow cone. We thought at first it was the ‘top’ of the drink that was supposed to be taken ‘off’ in some mysterious way. We quickly learned that there is no good way to discard several cups of crushed ice in a crowded dimly lit bar. Eventually though after having observed enough other people’s Take Your Top Off drinks we realized it wasn’t just our drink, but every drink that had massive amounts of crushed ice protruding out the top. #bartenderquirk #extraicedelivery Who knows? We’re pretty certain we went there on the one night they were trying out the drink. As you can see by their menu, it didn’t stick.
Even if drink #1 were served sans glacier, Sister Mary would still be the instant favorite. It’s easy, tasty, fresh, & sweet (and not sweet in a frilly-unlegit-cocktail type of way). The herbal sweetness of the St Germain and the tangy sweetness of the Grapefruit blend together ever so nicely. And, the tequila and Aperol add a distinct sharpness, turning the normally light elderflower liqueur into a serious cocktail.We liked it so much that we stopped to pick up supplies the very next day (okay confession, we might have actually looked that very night on our way from the bar and to our car. Grapefruit juice + Central Square at 11pm don’t really mix well, sadly…only adding to our list of reasons why we dislike Central Square).
But again, if you find yourself on Mass Ave in the middle of Cambridge and you feel stressed and irritated for reasons you can’t describe, go get a cocktail from Brick & Mortar. And, as a life lesson, steer away from anything that encourages you to take your top off.