The Baldwin Bar Debuts a Second Hidden Lounge
One of the Boston area’s most unique cocktail destinations now has another draw. The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II debuted a second-floor lounge over the weekend.
The 45-seat space is currently accessible by reservation only on Friday and Saturday nights, but bartender and mastermind Ran Duan said by the end of October, it will be open more regularly, likely similar hours as the downstairs bar and restaurant.
The lounge opened Friday evening with a limited cocktail menu, completely different from Duan’s offerings downstairs. He refused to give away any hints about the libations, but the decorated, self-taught bartender is definitely one to trust. For now, the upstairs offerings will change on a day-to-day basis. Later this month, the new, full menu will be available, and also change regularly. “It’s something unique that you can’t find anywhere else in Boston,” Duan said.
The so-called “library bar” takes over a second-floor ballroom in the 17th century Baldwin Manor. While the full menu of Sichuan cuisine is available for guests who want to dine in the new space, it’s a completely different vibe from the Chinese restaurant and downstairs bar, Duan said. With library paneling, leather furniture, and crystal chandeliers, it has a more polished, exclusive feel.
“After traveling the world [through bartending competitions], I realized American-style bars are really high-energy; all about quick, fast service,” he said. “I wanted to create an environment to mimic a more refined experience you might find in Europe or elsewhere in the world. It’s not about five-deep at the bar, it’s about having your own area where you can be comfortable. It’s not too loud; we have no TVs. It’s just going to be more intimate.”
In that vein, there are banquettes, couches, and dining tables—but no seats at the bar. “It’s about fine drinking: You sitting down in nice, comfy seats, being relaxed, and us coming to you and providing our services.”
Seats at the library bar sold out this weekend, despite the quiet introduction. Reservations are currently available from 5 p.m. – close this Friday and Saturday, and the restaurant’s website will announce the regular hours later this month, Duan said.
2 Alfred St., Woburn; 781-935-8488 or thebaldwinbar.com.