The dark wood and red walls, cluttered tchotchke aesthetic, silky-smooth velvets and dim, dangling lights situate the room somewhere between your average slick Irish pub decor and the type of place you'd expect to get your fortune told. Oversized couches with high-top dining tables are oddly surrealist. Large windows that stretch the length of the building and look out onto an open patio area notwithstanding, the cumulative effect is that of a clandestine haunt that puts you both close to and away from the crowd.
A relatively slow stretch of evening on game night gave bartender Dave Moore plenty of time to talk about his favorite cocktails on their list. The Pisco Cocktail (pisco, muddled strawberries, lemon, Prosecco, $9) was his first suggestion.
"It's OK to muddle a strawberry," he said, shaking the ingredients vigorously. "But they have to be ripe enough to get the flavor out. We don't bruise the strawberries here, we hate them." After shaking, they're strained and served in a champagne flute, but you still get a fresh pulpy texture.
In celebration of a nice little win on the Kentucky Derby last week we toasted our good fortune with a Triple Crown Julep (Kentucky bourbon, creme de peche, Cointreau, peach bitters, mint, $9). We would have liked the ice crushed more, but it stormed out of the gates anyway with a bold complexity. In that respect "it's like a big red wine," said Moore. The bourbon here is hot, and the peach and mint are cool. Too many of these and the ladies at the track would be keeling over in their floppy hats.
On the sweet side, the Painkiller (dark rum, creme of coconut, orange juice, pineapple, nutmeg, $9) was a surge of beachfront sugar. "A lot of places use simple syrup and fresh-squeezed juices now," said Moore, "but if they make a piña colada, it's straight out of the bottle." The difference in this hand-shaken, nonfrozen version coconut base was noticeable, particularly with the spice of the nutmeg.
Like the appeal of the Beacon Street Tavern itself, the drink is close enough to familiar to appeal to the masses, but spicy and unique enough to stand just beyond the homogeneous shadow.