Darryl’s Corner Bar remains an overlooked destination outside of the neighborhood. Although the space has been an institution for many years — from its time as Bob the Chefs, through a number of different incarnations and now back in the hands of original owner, Darryl Settles — it’s time for Darryl's to really be discovered.
The Southern restaurant with a nightly live music soundtrack (jazz, reggae and gospel bands fill the weekly schedule) doesn’t typically make the list of the South End bar-hop regulars, despite — or maybe because of — the fact that it’s a mere block across Mass. Ave. in the other direction.
It’s worth a trip, particularly on a night where there’s a lively crowd and a crack band burning it out in the corner. The bar itself is a comfortable place to relax for a cocktail. Bar manager Adam Foss, a longtime regular at bars throughout Cambridge (most regularly the Miracle of Science group properties), is doing some fun stuff with his cocktails — nothing too out there or adventurous, but solidly made, with an eye toward the expectations of the neighborhood.
His goal is to work off of the sweeter-cocktail drinking tendencies of many of his guests, and steer them in a direction that’s more interesting but still palatable. Some of the results, like the Miracle on 604th Street, strike a nice balance. For that cocktail, he infuses Macintosh and Red Delicious apples with vanilla bean, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon in Bulleit bourbon, then adds a touch of simple syrup and lemon juice. Those types of flavors tend to be overwhelming, but in this case it’s a light touch and not cloyingly spiced.
A second, similarly spiced approach is the Christmas in Cabo, taking a reposado tequila with muddled Granny Smith apples and cinnamon, Domaine de Canton, simple syrup and lime. Sounds like another sweet overload, but the citrus here dries it out nicely and makes for an approachable tequila cocktail for guests who might not think of it as their spirit of choice.
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Throughout the month of February, Darryl’s Corner Bar will celebrate Mardi Gras with appropriate musical guests and New Orleans-style cocktails.
Among them, of course, is the Sazerac: the quintessential New Orleans classic. Foss’ take on a Hurricane is also notable. It's made with light and dark rums, Amaretto, orange and pineapple juice, grapefruit bitters and grenadine. Martinis are either mixed with hot sauce or garnished with an oyster.
Darryl’s Corner Bar
604 Columbus Ave., Boston