March 9, 2017

Toast To Bostonian History At The Last Hurrah

The long wooden bar at The Last Hurrah at the Omni Parker House in Boston

photo by: Omni Parker Hotel

The long, elegant bar at the Last Hurrah boasts an impressive whiskey collection.

The Last Hurrah is located on the ground floor of the venerable Omni Parker House in Boston. The hotel dates to 1855, but its last major architectural renovation was in 1927. The hotel may ring a bell for many as the location where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier and where he announced his candidacy for the United States Senate. For others, one may recall that within the Parker House’s walls, the Saturday Club, made up of America’s most distinguished authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson, met monthly.

More recently, it was the unrivaled political hotel and restaurant of Boston, thanks to its location across the street from Boston’s City Hall, built in 1865. People like James Michael Curley (mayor of Boston who is said to be the model for Edwin O’Connor’s protagonist in his 1956 book The Last Hurrah) often frequented Parker’s main dining room. So with as much history and as many claims to fame as the Parker House has, one would expect their bar to be nothing less than an immersive experience into the hallowed history of one of America’s oldest cities.


The exterior of the Omni Parker House in Boston was renovated in 1927.

photo by: Kimberly Vardeman/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The exterior of the Omni Parker House was renovated extensively in 1927.

While the embellished bronze-framed windows of the hotel's exterior certainly suggests that the bar will be a see-and-be-seen display of what makes the Parker House notable, most patrons agree that the Last Hurrah is a “low-key” experience. Perhaps it is the dark wooden paneling and black-and-white photos that can make a person feel as if they’re lounging in a quiet study, or the no-nonsense wooden bar with mirrored shelves that seem familiar and comfortable.

But, if you order a martini, it will arrive on a silver platter along with its elegant shaker, and whiskey aficionados will find the Last Hurrah's selection unparalleled. The Last Hurrah may be low-key, but it certainly is classy.

Location: 60 School Street, Boston, MA

Hours: Monday-Friday, 4:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. (food served until 10:00 p.m.); Saturday, 4:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. (cocktail service only); Sunday, closed.

You’re having: A Scottish Rose Petal Martini, with Hendrick's Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, served in a martini glass with a twist of lemon. Opt for a Boston Cream Pie (which the hotel invented in the mid 1800s), or, if you want something straight and simple, stick with a complimentary bowl of warmed nuts.

Trivia: On April 5 and 6, 1865, an actor named John Wilkes Booth stayed at the Parker House. Accounts say he was seen practicing shots in the alley behind the hotel. Eight days later, he assassinated President Lincoln.

Best Yelp Review: “Old school in all the right ways. I enjoyed the classic menu back when they served lunch. Cocktails are great, servers are amazing and will remember your name. Elegant but not stuffy. Fantastic people watching through the large windows. Comfortable seating.” —Chris C.

Meghan White is a historic preservationist and an editorial assistant for Preservation magazine. She has a penchant for historic stables, absorbing stories of the past, and one day rehabilitating a Charleston single house.

mwhite@savingplaces.org

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