My friend Tim and I have decided to explore Boston’s many hotel bars.  The idea was formulated as we sipped Old Fashioneds in the Park Plaza’s Oak Bar on Saturday evening.  The quality of the drinks in these establishments is often lacking, but I love hotel bars for something other than the drinks.  It is their history, their character, and their charm that make them the perfect place to sip, relax and chat with a friend.

We embarked on the first official stop on our tour this past Saturday and chose the Taj Boston.  Located in the 1927 building at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets that formerly housed the Ritz, this hotel emanates nostalgia. Maybe it’s the over-the top service—each staff you pass greets you cordially—or the old-school elevator buttons.  It’s hard to put my finger on it, but you just feel like you are experiencing time-honored hospitality.

The bar at the Taj has really great seating—large armchairs surrounding small tables, or comfy and cozy love-seats, like the one Tim and I relaxed into.  Close conversation is encouraged and tended to in these plush seats.  Another feature of this bar that I love is the “tower of snacks.”  A three-tiered stand holds assorted nuts, a snack mix (the sesame sticks are all mine; the wasabi nuts are Tim’s), and cheddar breadsticks.  The drinks are fairly strong, so its always nice to have a little nibble to snack on.

Our hotel bar tour isn’t so much about drinks, but the experience of drinking environments.  Our first round—my Sazerac and Tim’s Old Fashioned tasted almost identical—were okay, round two was much better.  I ordered The Saint, essentially a gin and tonic with St. Germain.  You’ve heard me singing the praises of the elderflower liquor and once again it did not disappoint.

Itching for a taste of Tim's Beacon Hill Manhattan and my Saint (in the background)

So, if need a little rest after a day of shopping on Newbury Street or strolling through the Public Gardens, walk into the Taj.  Let the nostalgia take over, sink into one of those soft chairs, savor your tour of snacks, and sip The Saint. There has been a bar in the hotel location since 1930s, so you’re doing your part in continuing a tradition.  To our hotel bar tour.  Cheers!