Monday, February 13, 2006

Best Bar in a Blizzard

I come from a large family so at Christmastime we all pick one name to buy a present for so we don't all go bankrupt. This past year I picked my brother Jim and his gift request was an evening of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Oak Bar. Who am I to argue? It's one of my favorite spots. Plus I get to participate in the gift. His wish was my command.

What we decided to do is wait for a blustery, snowy night where we could watch the storm in action out the huge windows of the Oak Bar which look out onto Copley Plaza and one of Boston's most beautiful churches, Trinity Church.

Yesterday, I woke up to a blizzard and soon after, a phone call from my brother. "I'm calling to cash in." As soon as I was sure the "T" was running and that the Oak Room was open (unlike a lot of other wimpy establishments in Boston who closed their doors for the day), I made a 4pm date with my brother. I needed a couple of hours to pull together my arctic ensemble.

I arrived before my brother and was sort of pacing in the lobby in front of the Oak Bar entrance. The hostess stepped out and said, "We're open." I think she was worried that I, one of the few patrons they would see that day, would think the bar was closed and leave. No chance.

Soon after, my brother was blown into the lobby like a character from a Christmas claymation special. After shaking himself free of the snow on his coat, we entered the wonderful oasis that is the Oak Room and took our club seats in the lovely lounge (calling it a bar just doesn't do it justice).

What's great about the Oak Bar is that it is visually so stately and masculine with dark wood and accents of a red color my brother referred to as "No-ladies-allowed-cigar-smoking-red." However, the vibe is cozy and relaxed. And while the attire is supposed to be "business casual," I was in there with ski pants and nobody batted an eyelash. Others had just rolled in off the street on their cross-country skis and looked the part. The waiters are very friendly and treat you well no matter what. I love that.

After we shed our many layers, we settled in and ordered cocktails. I ordered a glass of champagne and my brother ordered a Cosmopolitan. While their martinis are $12, you get two drinks in one. One of the drinks is poured in your martini glass, the other is kept on ice in a small carafe. Nice touch. They always have seasonal cocktails (they had some special Valentine's ones on the menu) that are fun to try. I had a Pumpkintini in the fall that was top notch.

Unfortunately, the raw bar didn't open until 5:30 so we had to settle for a more limited menu. We ordered lobster bisque (served in delightful classic white soup tureens) and friend calamari. Both were good although we had had our hearts set on the oysters. No matter. We were just happy to be there, enjoying the ambiance and warming up before heading out again in search of oysters.

While most places were closed, the Atlantic Fish Company employees were troopers and kept their doors open. Finally, we got our oyster fix and enjoyed the walk down eerily peaceful Boylston Street before heading home, full and happy.

Next time there's the slightest flurry, duck into the Oak Bar, get a window seat and order up some of their specialty cocktails, some raw bar items and enjoy the free snack mix which they'll refill until you're full.

Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza
138 St. James Avenue, Boston, Back Bay, 617-267-7668


Anonymous Brother Jim said...

I forgot about the snow angel! Cheers!
The Oak Bar has a great jazz combo playing on some nights, though listening to Nora Jones was pleasant as well. :-)
Next time it's on me! Merry Christmas!

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snow angels??? Yup you were lit... love that.

4:34 PM  

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