How does a new bar in a tiny town on the island of Martha's Vineyard get a major mixologist to design their drinks program-and their bar? Serendipity, that's the answer.
A year or so ago, Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru, and his family were vacationing during the off season on Martha's Vineyard, an island off Cape Cod. While walking along Oak Bluffs' main street, Pogash noticed a sign in the window of a building being renovated, seeking an expert in mixology-a word he didn't expect to see in an old New England town like this.
Pogash went in and met owners Renee and John Molinari, who were expanding their coffee shop-and-design business to include a restaurant and cocktail bar-part of their growing "Beetlebung" empire (named for a well-known crossroads on the island).
Luckily, the Molinaris were able to take over the historic A&P supermarket building in a great location in central Oak Bluffs. They and Pogash worked together to create an ideal workspace enabling speed and precision for the bartenders; it has two identical wells, a glass rinser on the stainless steel bar rail with a drain system and an ice machine underneath. The lengthy zinc bar and many of the other furnishings, accents and the elaborate lighting system were created by local artists.
Drinks also feature locally sourced ingredients, and Beetlebung has established its own herb gardens around the building. "It's kind of an avant garde bar program for the area," Pogash admits modestly. He created a dozen craft cocktails for the menu. Two favorites are the A&P with its bright fruit and the gently relaxing Phuket Punch, which customers love to mispronounce (think about it).
Beetlebung Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
53 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs MA 02557
Open for the 2015 season, May 18 through September 20
Daily, 7 am to 12:30 am