Photo of patio seating at Eastern Standard near Fenway Park in Boston
Walk into Eastern Standard Boston in Kenmore Square near Fenway Park, and the first thing that you'll notice is that it's big and beautiful.
Golden lights glow above the long creamy white marble bar.
Dark wood paneling, sparkling mirrors, lots of leather, and touches of red warm the huge space adjacent to the equally gorgeous Hotel Commonwealth.
If you remember Kenmore Square from its grungier pre-gentrification days, you may recall that the Rathskeller once occupied this space. Locally dubbed "The Rat," this legendary dive bar/music club hosted everyone from the Ramones to Tom Petty to the Talking Heads.
The Rathskeller days are long gone, but you can now sit at Eastern Standard's very grown-up, quite glamorous bar and order "The Rat" - a coke and Fernet Branca cocktail.
Although you would never mistake Eastern Standard Boston for a sports bar, you can keep track of what's happening at nearby Fenway Park on the bar's two high definition TVs.
Eastern Standard Boston combines the satisfying food and sophisticated drinks of a French brasserie with what may be the best service in the city.
The bartenders specialize in classic and vintage cocktails, as well as contemporary concoctions.
The menu offers you lots of different dining options. Most dishes are small plates, so you can mix and match as you please.
Not too hungry? Just sit at the bar and have a beer and burger, or a grilled cheese on rye. Or the amazing charcuterie platter, or if you're more adventurous, some crispy frogs legs with smoked butter sauce and fennel slaw.
Want to try one of the specialty cocktails or perhaps champagne, with something sophisticated to nibble on? You'll find some terrific raw bar offerings, such as oysters, ceviche, or a shrimp cocktail. Another great choice that you don't usually see on Boston menus is half a lobster.
However, you can also find plenty of substantial options for a full dinner if you choose. Start with the butter-poached escargot with fennel, capers, and a baguette, or perhaps the seared fois gras or moules provencal with tomato, fennel, and white wine.
For a main course, try the suckling pig confit with succotash and strawberry mustard, or the veal schnitzel, or the baked rigatoni with lamb sausage. Steak-frites is also a great choice.
Among other options, you'll find some pure comfort food - meatloaf and mashed potatoes, a rib eye steak with asparagus and onion rings, pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and mustard greens.
Vegetarians will find a couple of options - a roasted beet salad with blue cheese and apples, or baked raclette, also with apples. Vegans will probably be limited to some of the vegetable sides - green beans, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and fries.
Desserts focus on classic favorites - black cherry cake, creme brulee, and a fabulous strawberry shortcake.
In addition to the wide range of cocktails, you'll be very pleased with the rather extensive, carefully selected list of mostly European wines ranging from affordable to splurge.
You'll also appreciate the wide ranging beer selections, with an especially impressive offering of Belgiums.
As a seasonal treat, Eastern Standard offers outdoor patio dining during warm weather.
Despite the Comm Ave location, you'll feel like you're sitting in a secluded garden. This is also one of the best places to watch the Boston Marathon.
All in all, Eastern Standard is a restaurant - and bar - that you'll want to return to again and again. Judging by the happy crowds that fill the space much of the time, you'll be in good company.