May 21st, 2006
Bar Lola, Bar 10
I had drinks at Bar Lola (160 Commonwealth Ave.) and Bar 10 (in the Westin hotel) this past week. At the Spanish-themed Bar Lola, I did not try the house cocktail, the Lolita: Stoli Perik (peach), Gran Torres (a Spanish orange-flavored cordial) and mango juice topped with cava and garnished with an edible orchid flower. It sounded like just another fruity vodka drink to me. Instead, I opted for the Don Quixote martini: tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and sangria. I guessed that it would be the least-sweet cocktail on the menu. The drink was a beautiful reddish-purple color, and that’s unfortunately all it had going for it. It was too sweet and not very well chilled. It kind of reminded me of a summertime punch my mom used to make when I was a kid: Minute Maid lemonade and Welch’s grape juice. Now that was a good drink. And it didn’t cost $12. Next time I visit Bar Lola, I’ll stick to the sangria on its own, which was pretty good, or just play it safe and order wine or cava by the glass to accompany the tasty tapas.
Bar 10 describes its vibe as “casual sophistication.” I’ll go along with that as far as decor goes. The place has a polished, grownup, hotel lounge feel. The soft lighting and plush, semicircular booths make you feel like a fashionable urbanite, as do the gigantic martinis. The problem with gigantic martinis is — do I really have to state the obvious? — that drinking eight ounces of gin or vodka in one sitting is bad for your health. Even worse, the alcohol warms up before you finish the drink, which is as unpleasant as drinking lukewarm coffee. The Bombay Sapphire martini I ordered was not only automatically served dry (everybody just assumes you want a dry martini, because it sounds cool or something), but it wasn’t thoroughly chilled. If there’s any drink on earth whose quality depends on the proper temperature, it’s the martini. It’s pretty simple, yet very few bars get this. Moreover, I had read that Bar 10 was a good place to get a classic cocktail. Oooh, I thought, maybe they serve up a good Negroni or French 75. No such luck. This is one of the many places in Boston where vodka martinis and Cosmos constitute “classic” cocktails.