Your favorite bar is dead, and here’s where it went to heaven

What be your poison? For Boston resident Laura Hayner, it’s Four Roses Citizen Hand Selected Single Barrel 125 Proof whiskey at the Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar.

It took about five seconds after sitting down at the bar at Citizen Public House and Oyster bar for me to realize I’d arrived at the restaurant industry worker’s version of bar heaven. Maybe it was the dozen-plus bottles of bitters arrayed in front of me on the bar, or the chalkboard listing the near 100 types of whiskey they offer. It could just be the fact that they serve Fernet Branca on tap for $3 a shot.

“Franklin Cafe has always been industry-driven, it’s just the way we started out,” says Joy Richard, bar and beverage manager for the group of restaurants under the Franklin umbrella, including Citizen.

“We’ve been fortunate that it has had appeal for industry folks, but that just comes from the fact that all of the owners have been in the industry so long. For me, I wanted to design a bar that I wanted to go to that had all the things I loved.”

That list of bar wishes included ample seating, of which there is plenty at the long rectangle shape bar that dominates the dark candlelit room with chunky exposed wooden beams and smooth wood surfaces. It’s decidedly more cozy public house than bright oyster bar, in terms of aesthetics. Richard also wanted to make sure they were serving the right type of ice with the right drink, she says. To that effect, they hand-chip ice per cocktail, and press ice into perfect spheres for serving their whiskeys.

“I also like having a lot of variety when I am mixing cocktails,” she says. “We have over 200 spirits, so bartenders can have everything they’d ever want.”

Of course, she says, that still leaves 1,000 more she wishes she could add.


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