The cocktail scene in Boston is exploding, with numerous and bars with outstanding mixologists behind the bar and creative cocktails on their menu. Here are the best places to try for an interactive, unique cocktail experience. – By Catherine Schiff

Eastern Standard

528 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215-2606
(617) 532-9100

website and reviews

This is the bar that is largely credited with elevating the cocktail scene in Boston to a new level. Bar Manager Jackson Cannon was just named Nightclub & Bar’s Bartender of the Year. He and his staff will help you find your way through their classic cocktails and innovations, including the Jack Rose, Periodista and the Old Cuban. Eastern Standard even has three levels of table-sized pitchers for you and your friends if you really want to be interactive!

(credit: Drink's Facebook page)


348 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210-1236
(617) 695-1806

website and reviews

A truly unique concept, and part of Barbara Lynch’s empire, Drink is located in a basement under her restaurant Sportello in the Fort Point District. Belly up to the bar and tell John Gertsen, Misty Kalkofen and the other passionate and talented mixologists on the staff what flavors you like, and they’ll whip up a delicious libation right in front of you. Get there right after work when you can really see them create some magic (it gets packed later in the evening). You’ll be interacting with the people around you as well, as everyone is asking what others have and if they like it. A great place if you want to have a great cocktail and be entertained.

L'Espalier Restaurant



774 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 262-3023 ‎

website and reviews

“Top Shelf” at L’Espalier is one of the most intimate, fun and interesting events in town. Join sommelier and cocktail historian Kate Moore to learn about L’Espalier’s most popular cocktails and other classic concoctions while enjoying bites from Chef de Cuisine James Hackney. You can bring your spouse, date or group of friends for a fabulous and fun evening. Past event themes include Rat Pack, Mad Men, and Great Gatsby, as well as a fantastic Top Shelf/Top Chef series. Listening to Kate speak about the cocktails she’s created and the history or thought behind them is fascinating, and the guests who attend these evenings vary in age and cocktail knowledge.

(Credit: The Boston Shaker)

The Boston Shaker

69 Holland Street
Somerville, MA 02144-2746
(617) 718-2999

website and reviews

Rather than asking a bartender to make you a drink, you can learn how to mix your own at The Boston Shaker’s Craft Cocktail Techniques classes. Instead of learning out of a cocktail book or watching a video that can’t give you real-time pointers and tips, you’ll practice how to shake, stir, measure and pour alongside a living, breathing mixologist. Owner Adam Lantheaume and staff also have a great selection of all the tools you’ll need to mix up the perfect drinks at home.

Catherine Stanton Schiff is a veteran of the beer, wine and spirits industries, having worked in sales and marketing for Bacardi USA, Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine and Beam Wine Estates on hundreds of brands. In 2010, she hosted her own radio program, Cocktails for Everyone! on the Voice America Radio Network, interviewing some of the most influential people in the wine, spirits & culinary worlds. A graduate of Boston College, Catherine is working with Remy Cointreau USA and The Edrington Group as the Massachusetts Key Account Manager for Brugal Rum.