Night clubs are known for lots of things. Dancing is one of those things. So is prowling for sketchy hookups. And perhaps most renowned is blowing hundreds of dollars on bottle service so everyone knows how important you are. Conspicuously absent from that list is enjoying quality cocktails and bar service. Storyville, the re-imagining of the longtime Saint space in the Back Bay, could change that perception.
The bar program in its intimate, speakeasy-like Bordello Room is off to a good start in that regard, with Bill Codman (recently of Island Creek Oyster and Woodward) at the helm, as well as inventive food from Louis DiBiccari of Sel de la Terre.
The focus here is on seminal New Orleans-style cocktails and a full range of tiki drinks and fizzes, as well as Codman’s own neo-classic recipes. One standout, the Lady Day, is a perfect (if unpredictable) pairing of bitter with bitter, with Campari and passion fruit taking a gin base. The sweetening touch of honey and a softening egg white play back and forth on the citrusy edge. Another must-try — the Pineapple Fizz, made with pineapple and sage-infused tequila shaken with citrus and an egg white to a fluffy consistency — is supremely quaffable.
A Day At The Races represents from the tiki realm, but interestingly eschews the de facto rum base. Made with Beefeater 24, falernum, lemon and pomegranate, it’s like a more sophisticated version of a Mind Eraser, with a palate-cleaning champagne float toward the end.
Next door in the club room, the cocktail list is more streamlined, but still interesting, considering that yes, they do have bottle service. Here the focus is again on fresh ingredients, but the menu is broken into four types of cordials that guests can mix with their spirit of choice. One highlight is the Cafe Mole, a base made with fresh-ground coffee bean, cocoa, vanilla, orange peel and chipotle. Whether you take it with tequila, vodka, rum or whiskey is up to you.
“What I wanted to do with crafted cocktails itself isn’t revolutionary,” Codman says. “Putting it inside a club is.”
It’s an approach that will hopefully rub off on the clubbing crowd.
“I think the club people will come and embrace it, because there’s certainly nothing like this available anywhere else.”