It’s got a swanky Whole Foods, it’s got a Sweetgreen, it’s got a Celtics player’s favorite sushi bar, and one of the best new restaurants around—and now Ink Block is poised to get what it really needs: A cocktail-driven, speakeasy-style watering hole, care of a Boston bartending veteran and a rock star-cum-restaurateur.
Lion’s Tail is on track to open next weekend, the first ownership venture for Jarek Mountain (Back Bay Harry’s, Abby Lane), and the latest from Ken Casey, frontman of the Dropkick Murphys, and frequent restaurant collaborators Brian O’Donnell and Taniya Nayak. Casey and O’Donnell co-own Dorchester’s new Lower Mills Tavern and a couple other New England bars. (A working title for this South End venture was Scofflaw, as Boston Restaurant Talk has noted.)
Mountain, a 20-year hospitality veteran, was most recently beverage director at Back Bay Harry’s. The cocktail program drives the place, inspired by New York City hotspots like the Dead Rabbit and Employees Only, per a company rep. Lion’s Tail is named for his favorite drink: Mountain’s version of the classic, with Old Forester bourbon, lime, and a house-made allspice liqueur and gomme syrup, will be the bar’s signature.
Diego Orsono (Restaurant Dante) is on board as executive chef. Expect a range of upscale bar bites, like corn-and-cheddar fritters with tarragon cream and curried Vermont maple; and plates to share, like rock candy-braised pork belly with a pear and habanero pepper waffle and pea shoots, and crispy crab-stuffed falafel with fresh hummus and za’atar-spiked tzatziki. There will also be entrée options, like chocolate-braised beef short rib with black cherry späetzle; and swordfish tails with clams, guanciale, and potato gratin; as well as a few sweets.
Nayak, interior designer (Back Bay Harry’s, The Poynt Newburyport, etc.) and Food Network and HGTV star, envisioned the chic, sleek space. Lion’s Tail will accomodate about 120, at a long, curving bar that spans the room, two communal high-tops, and dining tables with tufted black leather banquettes. There are also drink rails along the windows. The bar will have low, glowing lighting, as well as industrial-chic wood elements and exposed brick. Marking the restaurant with just a lion’s head emblem on the door, the team is going for a speakeasy vibe, the rep says.
The cocktail bar is located next door to Fuji. Mountain hopes Lion’s Tail becomes a neighborhood and restaurant industry go-to—it will be open until 2 a.m. every night of the week, with food available until 1 a.m.
Lion’s Tail, opening mid-December at Ink Block, 300 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston, lionstailboston.com.
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