Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“This swanky Mediterranean restaurant might put some people off at first glance, but please visit, it’s worth it!”
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Address: 545 Boylston Street
Date of Visit: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Bartender Name: Travis
Vlora’s sunroom-looking dining room is tucked down a set of stairs below the structures that house such entites as Globe, GNC, Wendy’s and Burger King right in Copley Square. This swanky Mediterranean restaurant might put some people off at first glance, either because of their perception of it being too high class for their tastes, or the fact that they think it’s in a basement, but please visit, it’s worth it! The dining room is set with large, white, fluffy chairs, and through a window in the bar we could see another small dining room that was quickly filled with a private party.
The low-lit room has unique accents, such as tiny fiber-optic strands over bar-high tables immediately as you enter the bar area and the stacked marble tile back splash behind the bar. This part of the restaurant has an open feel, which makes it great for large groups. The glass-enclosed wine cellar is a nice touch, giving the space character beyond the modern feel that the bar “stools” put off. We’d recommend visiting Vlora for cocktails, as their beer list is very small; that being said, the beers they do keep on draft are well-known craft brands, so don’t be afraid to bring a beer drinker along with you.
Valerie’s Drink of Choice: Chai Latte
Ingredients: Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur, Vanilla Vodka, Bailey’s
Review: Chai Liqueur? Whatttt? Those were my thoughts upon seeing this drink on the menu. Chai Latte = love. This drink was phenomenal and was unlike any other cocktail I’ve had before, despite the other two more common ingredients – the closest thing I have to compare it to is 6B’s Von Otto Express. While the first sip comes off with a lot of Bailey’s flavor, the more complex chai liqueur quickly takes over, resulting in a sweet yet refreshing drink that tastes exactly like it’s namesake with a pleasant kick. This drink is smooth, the flavor is delicious, and the bit of cinnamon on top is a nice touch to finish it off.
Eric’s Drink of Choice: Cafe Royale
Ingredients: Patron XO Cafe, Coffee Liqueur, Frangelico, Bailey’s
Review: “That’s awesome, he’s lighting my drink on fire,” were the first words out of my mouth as I watched Travis, the bartender, create this tasty and enchanting concoction. The best way to describe the Cafe Royale is as somewhat of a dessert margarita, with a s’more type flavor that had hints of creme brulee due to the wonderful toasting of the top of the cocktail. I’ve always been a fan of Patron XO Cafe, but have never thought to make something quite this delicious with it. The varied flavors were all perfectly balanced, and the cocktail’s texture was a perfect balance in terms of its creamy mouth feel. The subtle bite/burn of the tequila was quickly tempered by the creamy liqueurs used in the drink, and while I thought the cocktail would have a strong coffee flavor, it was underwhelming in a good way. This delicious little s’more in a glass might not be something to order every time, but if you’re in the mood for a dessert cocktail, this very well beats out some of the best espresso martinis in the city.
Wine Prices: Nine whites, one rose, and seven reds are available by the glass for $8 to $10 each – no bottle prices were listed. Champagne is available by the glass and bottle and they also have red & white Sangria by the glass, half carafe, and carafe.
Beer Prices: There are four beers on tap (Rapscallion, Sam Adams, Blue Moon & Heineken) for $4.50 and $5 each. Eleven bottled beers are also available for $4.50 to $6 each.
Other: Vlora has fourteen cocktails/martinis on their drink list. These include options such as a Caramel Apple, Gingerita, Key Lime Pie and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. These drinks are all in the $9-12 range.