I have lived in Boston my entire life. Whenever a new bar or restaurant opens I am always excited to check it out, but hardly anything blows me away.
All that changed last Wednesday.
I planned to meet a friend after work at the new bar in the Nine Zero Hotel called Highball Lounge. We had tried to go about a month before, but it was closed for a private party.
We arrived at 7pm on the windiest day of the winter and were ready to warm up with cocktails and treats.
You can enter Highball from Tremont Street or through a door in the hotel lobby.
You make your way up an illuminated staircase with the most stunning antler chandelier dangling over the landing.
When you reach the top, the dining room is straight in front of you. The decor is very simple. It's a mix of high top tables, lounge-style seating and of course, the bar.
The bar is backlit (always a good choice) and the night we were there the seats were constantly full and turning over with new patrons.
We sat at a high top table in the dining room area and our waitress brought us some menus. The Highball menus are made of paper and are covered with pin up style cartoons.
A very sultry lady adorns the bar snack list and an ethereal goddess leans against a highball glass on the bottom of the cocktail menu.
There are several fantastic drink choices, but if for some reason you can't decide, you can elect to spin the wheel and the bartender will mix you something special.
Since we were ordering food, our waitress kindly brought us plates for sharing and two sets of utensils. These red and white napkins have become so popular in the last two years. I see them at every restaurant.
To kick things off, I ordered the Tea-Ball which is Grey Goose vodka and early grey soda.
This drink was dangerously good. Flavor-wise it's everything you love about hot tea, but it's served ice cold and spiked.
After placing our food order (more on that in a minute), our waitress encouraged us to visit the bar's game room. She told us we can select any board game in there and bring it back to our table.
I sent my friend to make the choice and she came back with Guess Who?
After about ten minutes, our food arrived, starting with the kale salad. The dish came in an interesting presentation. The kale (buried at the bottom) was topped with avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, toasted seeds and a ring of cucumber slices. The salad was then spritzed with lemon juice.
I loved the way the cucumber slices hid all the goodies underneath. The salad was fresh as can be and the flavor combo of the cheddar, cucumber, avocado and kale was excellent.
Next we shared the crispy Brussels sprouts, served in an iron casserole dish. These were also topped with shredded cheddar. The finishing touch was horseradish.
The sprouts themselves were very small, almost miniature. This dish was good, but not great.
Naturally I saved the best for last, the Tater Tot nachos. These puppies are topped with cheese sauce, creme fraiche, sliced olives, pickled onions and guacamole.
The tots definitely could have been crispier, especially to support all of the toppings, but I am positive if we'd had these at the end of a night of drinking, they would have tasted like pure heaven.
In addition to the fun vibe, awesome cocktails, great grub and throwback games, Highball Lounge has a sick DJ. The night we were there Kupah James was spinning (you can follow him on Twitter here) and he was playing one killer song after another. I couldn't sit still in my seat. I was dancing in my chair and singing along the entire night.
He totally won me over when he did a Jackson session - Jackson 5 "I Want You Back" followed by Michael Jackson "Billie Jean" and then Janet Jackson "Escapade." Nailed it!
The entire time we were at Highball Lounge I kept thinking, "I am in love with this place and I can't wait to let everyone in on the secret."
Not only is Highball Lounge the perfect place to unwind after a tough work day, but it would make a great starting point or ending spot for a night out downtown.
Visit Highball Lounge at the Nine Zero Hotel at 90 Tremont Street.