Trying to pinpoint the exact moment when the genesis of a trend took root can be difficult.
But it’s pretty safe to say that Boston began its evolution into one of the most exciting cocktail-focused cities in the country in 1998, when a handful of our most innovative bartenders teamed up at the long-lost, and dearly missed B-Side Lounge in Cambridge. Taking cues from legendary bar-man Brother Cleve, B-Side owner Patrick Sullivan and his dream team kicked off a movement that still affects the way everyone drinks anywhere in Boston.
“I think Cleve and I are a logical place to start,’’ Sullivan says. “Cleve was one of the opening-night bartenders at the B-Side, Dec. 3, 1998. The other bartenders that night were me, Dylan Black, and Joe McGuirk. For the record, Dylan and Joe were late.’’
Misty Kalkofen joined them soon afterward, and her partnership with Cleve, Jackson Cannon, John Gertsen, and Scott Holliday in the Jack Rose Society helped lay the foundation for the ideas you see behind the bar at Eastern Standard, Drink, and other cocktail bars.
Across the city, meanwhile, two other branches of the family tree of cocktail creationists were expanding, based out of No. 9 Park, where Gertsen took up the mantle left by his predecessor Tom Mastricola, and Silvertone, opened by the consummate bartender’s bartender, Josh Childs.
In the span of any bartender’s career, he or she will see hundreds of co-workers come and go, most having influenced them in some way. Charting every meaningful crossover in the past 15 years would be impossible. Instead, in this tree you see those fourpivotal bars as a jumping-off point for tracing their influence through the cocktail bars in the area today. You find overlap between mentors and protegees, pivotal partnerships between peers, and a new generation of acolytes who will be shaping the way we drink for years to come.
Luke O’Neil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .