Industry Mourns Death of Bartender Ryan McGrale
Boston’s bar scene lost a true innovator, friend, and sherry advocate this weekend. Ryan McGrale, beverage director at Tavern Road, died from a “tragic accident” on Saturday night, according to his employer. Tavern Road shared on Facebook:
The entire Tavern Road family is crushed for our loss, as well as for the loss of Ryan’s family, girlfriend and friends. We are humbled by the love we have seen for Ryan since the news broke.
McGrale, a Massachusetts native, built a reputation on congenial hospitality, a mastery of classic cocktails, and an endearing sense of humor. He helped usher in Boston’s cocktail revival from behind the bar at No. 9 Park, where he spent much of the 2000s. Food & Wine noticed the young and promising bartender in 2006, naming McGrale one of the country’s top talents. He moved to New York City for a stint as head bartender at the acclaimed Flatiron Lounge before moving back to Boston to consult. In 2012, he joined longtime friend Louis DiBaccari and the chef’s brother, Michael, in opening Tavern Road.
Friends in Boston and beyond have been sharing memories about McGrale on his social media this week, including a long read from his longtime friend, Tavern Road owner Louis DiBiccari:
The staff at Union Square’s Backbar is offering a special in McGrale’s honor all this week.
Former Barbara Lynch Gruppo director of operations Eli Felding:
State Park and former Hungry Mother chef/owner Barry Maiden:
@JeffGabel so so sad..my heart goes out to the TR family. RIP Ryan Mcgrale.
— barry maiden (@barry_maiden) November 15, 2015
Yvonne’s pastry chef Kate Howlichik:
Hunt & Alpine Club in Portland, Maine:
We are stunned and saddened to hear of the loss of a great bartender and friend Ryan McGrale. Our hearts go out… https://t.co/1qeeKvRPwr
— Hunt & Alpine Club (@HuntAndAlpine) November 15, 2015
Michaela Horan, a server at Tavern Road:
The public remembrances have been pouring in all Sunday long, and will likely continue.
UPDATE, Wednesday, November 18, 2:30 p.m.: This post has been updated with thoughts from Louis DiBiccari and Backbar.