On Tap for the Summer

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Going to Canada might not be the most patriotic way to celebrate Independence Day, but my friend Brian and I have been doing it since shortly after graduating college. No, we’re not thumbing our noses at the most quintessential of American holidays – the Fourth of July just happens to fall during the Montreal Jazz Festival, which we’ll be leaving for bright and early tomorrow morning.

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That means a few things. First, after four days of nothing but jazz, there’s a slight chance I’ll be able to get that “Call Me Maybe” song out of my head (but part of me knows…it’s not going anywhere). Second, I’ll have another “One for the Road” post when I get back, chronicling a couple of Montreal bars, the biggest jazz festival in the world, and Brian's and my Canadian adventures/shenanigans. And third, I won’t have time for a full post this week. But that gives me a chance to clean out the BBH notebook and let you know about a few things I’m excited to write about in the coming weeks.

First, a bunch of awesome-looking bars have opened up in Boston recently, and I'm planning on more fully exploring them as soon as I can. One of the most intriguing is the Tip Tap Room, which executive chef Brian Poe thoughtfully opened mere footsteps from my office (thanks dude!).

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I've stopped in to sample from their 36 taps and extensive bottled beer selection, but there's no way I could do a full review of this place without trying the food. Tip Tap Room's daily special features a rotation of such oddities as yak tips, elk tips, and emu tips, along with more conventional fare, like steak tips and turkey tips.

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Another interesting newer place is Gem. Gem opened up in late March in what was once a dive bar called Kennedy's. If you ever went to Kennedy's, you sure won't recognize it as Gem. The theme here is opulence, from the decor to the cocktails.

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I've stopped by at an odd hour one afternoon, when I think I was the only customer, and then late on a Saturday night, when it was packed with people gettin' their groove on. I'm curious to see what it's like after work and in the early evening.

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One of the first ideas I had when I started this blog was doing a series on bars with outdoor seating. It's now July, and I’ve been thinking, you know…it might be nice to get that under way before the summer’s over. I hope to have it off the ground when I get back. In the meantime, here’s a couple of shots from the back deck at Grand Canal, just to prove that I’ve been working on it.

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In addition to new bars and those with outdoor seating, I have a slew of old favorites to write about. One of those will be Saloon, Davis Square’s speakeasy-themed bar.

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I mention it here because at least once every few weeks, someone asks me “Have you been to Saloon?” Yes – I’ve gone, I’ve drank, and someday soon, I’ll post about it.

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In other news, I was humbled to discover that Boston BarHopper was nominated for a Boston A-List award. If you enjoy reading this blog, I'd be honored to have your vote. And if you like another Food and Drinks Blogger better, then vote for them – I'm sure they'd appreciate it, and I don't think any of us do this to be competitive. (Just the same...I'd prefer you vote for me.) Here’s the link:

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BEST Food and Drinks Blogger

Now I’ve heard that voting can be a royal pain in the ass – you'll click on "vote" and you might get a message saying you’re already logged in, and you'll click around in hopes of simply casting your vote, and finally give up in frustration. It's only later that you'll realize you received a confirmation e-mail, with a link to prove that you're not bostonbarhopper voting for himself 1,000+ times (not that I've tried). But once you get past that, you can vote and click "confirm" and I'll be a happy bloggah.

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Winner_John Parsons with winning cocktail_Violet Hold

Speaking of contests, congratulations to expert mixologist Jon Parsons of Sam’s at Louis, whose “Violet Hold” cocktail scored him a trip to New Orleans to compete in the Marie Brizard USA Cocktail Challenge Finals. I was invited to watch the Boston semifinals, and though I couldn’t make it, the organizers were kind enough to send me some pictures and a lowdown of the showdown. If Jon wins in New Orleans, he’ll get to go to Bordeaux, France, to represent the United States at the 28th Annual Marie Brizard International Bartender Seminar and Competition. I’ve never met Jon, but I’m rooting for him. I’ve also never been to Sam’s, but needless to say, I’ll be sipping cocktails at this waterfront restaurant sometime soon.

Finally, it recently came to my attention that a few people who like my Facebook page didn't realize it was possible to "Follow" the blog. If you're not a blog follower, you're missing out on countless untold benefits (too innumerable to list here). So scroll up, click "Follow" on the upper right-hand corner of your screen, input your e-mail address, confirm it when you get a confirmation e-mail, and start enjoying some real fun.

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Anyway, a long weekend of jazz, beer, and poutine awaits me. I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and relaxing Fourth of July. Thanks for reading!