Guests excited by the return of Garrett Harker’s Eastern Standard can visit the adjacent cocktail bar as part of their night.
Equal Measure officially opened at The Bower in the Fenway on Oct. 26, shortly after the new Eastern Standard made its debut. Industry veteran and beverage director for Eastern Standard Hospitality Jackson Cannon, who also runs Boston.com’s Cocktail Club, said that he envisioned Equal Measure as being closely connected to the brasserie. He imagined the cocktail bar bringing together elements of a speakeasy and a lobby bar, two very different things that could both serve as inspiration behind the concept.
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“It’s a really compelling relationship that we thought could be possible between the cocktail bar and the main restaurant,” Cannon said. He added, “In the early 2000s, speakeasy bars were where some of the greatest cocktails in the world were. It was where a different kind of slowed down service was put forward. I love that, but I always want that mixed with an open, ‘come as you are’ vibe of a great bar, whatever style it’s trying to be in.”
Visitors will find both classic cocktails and highly original drinks on the menu, Cannon said. The Creamsicle Dream is a milk punch inspired by the experience of eating ice cream and the elegance of a stirred martini, using ingredients like vodka, Aperol, orange cordial, and apricot. The Next To Normal features acidified honeydew melon and spirits like Sotol and Chartreuse. For guests who just want a glass of Chardonnay or a Pilsner, wine and beer selections will also be available. If they’re looking for a bite to eat, they can order a cheese board, deviled eggs with caviar, or the Whimsical Baby Vegetables, a crudité on crushed ice that comes with Green Goddess sauce.
To enter Equal Measure, guests can either walk in from a door at the plaza or through a darkened hallway connecting the bar to Eastern Standard. The cocktail bar features high ceilings and brings in art deco details, “without feeling like a period piece,” said Cannon. The bar seats 11 people, and there is seating in the rest of the space for about 30. Large windows are adorned by velvet curtains, and the design is distinguished by brass and marble touches. A private dining room seating 48 can be accessed through sliding doors. In a lounge area, there is a commissioned portrait of Stanley Tucci pouring a negroni, created by artist Jill DeGroff.
The bartenders working at Equal Measure also serve as staff at Eastern Standard. Cannon said that the team is fortunate to have a group of young bartenders who saw bringing back Eastern Standard as “a mission” and wanted to be part of its return, considering that the original brasserie closed in 2021. Some are locally based, while others come from as far away as California.
Cannon said he wants to see patrons come to Equal Measure in whatever manners suit their lifestyles. If they want to come by for a cocktail with friends, or if they’d just like a straight spirit after dinner at Eastern Standard, he welcomes them. And for the at-home bartender who is used to staying in, there’s an experience to be had during a night out at Equal Measure, Cannon added.
“A good bartender makes great drinks, but a great bartender mixes the good people at the bar,” he said.
Equal Measure, The Bower, 775 Beacon St., Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
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