At some point, when there's no money left , we may see all banks turned into bars. Until then, we've got Bond, the new lounge, restaurant, and nightlife spot in the Langham Hotel.
Bond continues what seems to be a trend in Boston nightlife, repurposing old functional buildings (banks, prisons, etc.) into drinking and dining establishments. It's a canny maneuver since the classic architecture and structural character lends the spaces a much-needed sense of history.
It's certainly true of Bond, located within a 1920s Federal Reserve Bank. Original vaulted ceilings and limestone walls give the room an imposing grandeur. Crystal chandeliers and shimmering lights, all reflecting off the soaring mirrors along the walls, only add to the sense of luxury. But the low, lounge-style seating and handsome leather couches keep it from feeling too pretentious and provide great vantage points for people watching.
We saw clutches of Financial District types relaxing at Bond, but also a few young couples flirting; it's a good place to get close to someone, for sure. But if the name, the $14 cocktails, and its well-heeled clientele haven't already clued you in to what the real object of affection is at Bond, then perhaps the giant prints of treasury bonds plastered across the walls will do the trick.
The names of the cocktails further hammer the point home. "All of the names come from bonds and money and presidents," explained Gaylord Lamy, the assistant director of food and beverage, while presenting the Madison (Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate vodka, Chambord, cream, fresh raspberries). Whether or not the founding father would have liked this creamy, frozen cocktail is a mystery, but it did hit all its marks: it's icy, chocolaty, and fruity, without being too much of any one thing. They use less ice than in most frozen drinks, said Lamy, which gives it a "more wintry, creamier texture."
"Champagne cocktails have always been more of a ladies' drink," continued Lamy, introducing the Grant (Hennessy V.S.O.P., sugar cube, Champagne, Chambord). Adding Cognac, he says, gives it a more masculine appeal. While that may be true, the lengthy lemon twist wrapping around the stem of the glass was anything but. It gave the impression of a cocktail in lingerie somehow. And the fizzing sugar cube took most of the edge off the Hennessy anyway.
The Sawbuck (Grey Goose La Poire, lime juice, ginger syrup, basil leaf), with its tingly spice and fruity pear punch, and the Cleveland (Ciroc vodka, Godiva White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate liqueurs) with grape-tickled ropes of rich chocolate decadence are both worth a try.
In this financial climate, a boite dedicated to celebrating luxury and lucre might seem in poor taste. But when it comes to the taste of the cocktails, they're mostly right on the money.
Bond at the Langham Hotel, 250 Franklin St., Boston. 617-451-1900. www.bondboston.com