[THURSTY] At Carrie Nation, inauthenticity is prohibited


As is evidenced by a number of recent misfires, opening a retro-style cocktail bar is a lot easier said than done. There’s a fine line between being cleverly referential and leaning on a gimmick. Despite being one of the more theme-heavy openings of the year thus far, Carrie Nation — named for the turn of the century firebrand temperance activist — seems like it just might have nailed the former.

Anyone can page through a book of stories about pre-Prohibition saloons and pull out a few recipes and reference points — and there is a lot of that here — but if this attention to nostalgic detail fails to filter down to what’s poured in the glass, what’s the point? Bar manager Allan Murphy is aware of this, and a recent visit proved that there is care that goes into the creations here from the team behind Scholars and 6b. Aside from a list of a dozen originals, each with their own era-specific name and history detailed on the menu, there is a group of classics that Murphy says should help to focus and standardize a guest’s experience.

“My thinking behind that was that I hate going into a bar — especially a big bar like we have that’s busy — asking for an Old Fashioned, and one bartender makes it one way, another makes it another way,” he says. “Not to say either way is right or wrong, but I’ve gone into places and asked for four of the same drinks and been given four different plays on it. This is a way for me to have my bar staff stick to recipes. We can’t do every single classic, but let’s get eight of the best.” Among the best are a Vieux Carré and an Aviation. Their Old Fashioned is done in the pre-Prohibtion style, as is their Sazerac — made with cognac i nstead of rye.

Their signature drinks all harken back to the turn of the century and are broken down into themed chapters on the menu, calling out famous politicians, gangsters and journalists from ages past. Of those I sampled, the best was the Ultima Palabra, a play on a “Last Word under the Lawyers and Judges” section. “We’ve got a lot of lawyers and judges around here,” Murphy says. “Judges always get the last word on everything.” In this case it’s made with mezcal instead of gin, along with the traditional Green Chartreuse, lime, and Marascino, making for a smokier, herbal citrus sip. They’ve also got a house-bottled cocktail, which they carbonate themselves — a White Negroni at the moment — and barrel-aged cocktails. During my visit, this latter drink was a 7-month-aged Manhattan.

Whether you come for the drinks, the similarly era-evocative food (rabbit pie, for example), the ambiance (it’s a great-looking, luxuriant space), or the commitment to theme (hostesses in flapper costumes), come knowing that they’ve got a focused eye. An eye trained on not only what made their chosen era so easily romanticized today, but on the drinks that make it all worth remembering in the first place.


Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win


NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1


MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing


MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox


How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.