True novelty is uncommon in cocktail culture. That isn’t to say that trends don’t flame up and fizzle nearly every day. (They do.) It’s just that genuine originality, minus the smoke and mirror shtick, is hard to come by.
Well, dear readers, genuine originality is happening at North Bakery. Many know it as an offshoot of North, one of the West Side’s most consistently modish and bold restaurants. “We cook food and pour drinks that go in a lot of different directions”, North’s mission statement promises, “with combinations that may be untraditional, but hopefully are always delicious.”
Similarly, North Bakery is billed as a “non-traditional American bakery and bar,” which seems about right. Certainly there isn’t a blueprint for serving up well-crafted cocktails alongside, say, brown butter miso cookies and chicken potpie hand pies. Bill Murray’s classic Ghostbusters line comes to mind: “Dogs and cats, living together – mass hysteria!” In the most beautiful and buzz-inducing way, of course.
Andrew Kientz leads the bar program at North Bakery, although he’s quick to credit the larger North team and a collaborative atmosphere with the innovative menu. “I’m surrounded by some pretty wonderful minds,” he said. “It’s an open forum for experimentation.”
When we asked for something fit to sip this June, Andrew offered up The Small Axe, a blush-toned concoction that toes the thin line between late spring and summer. It’s simple, locally minded, and a little offbeat, much like North Bakery’s general ethos.
Named for the Small Axe Cafe in Charlestown’s hippie-chic Fantastic Umbrella Factory, the cocktail proves that rhubarb belongs in a glass (and not just in a pie shell). Andrew advises that the spirits should shine most, with the rhubarb and honey as supporting players. It’s easy enough to DIY if you have a juicer at home. And, psst, it’s even easier to snag one at the source.
70 Battey Street