|Oak Long Bar + Kitchen in The Fairmont Copley Plaza|
The new space focuses more on light, featuring a new glass door on the St. James Street entrance, a glass vestibule and light wood paneling that has replaced the dark painted plaster. “This is the first real oak in the room ever,” says Suzanne Wenz, Regional Director for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. (The former space was known as the Oak Bar and Oak Room.) However some details remain - a semi-circle copper track in the floor at the entrance marks the original location of the Merry Go Round Bar that dated back to 1934.
Oak Long Bar + Kitchen executive chef Stefan Jarausch has created an upscale contemporary American menu, offering an array of small plates including sea scallop crudo with passion fruit and arugula; a variety of flatbreads from the hearth; charcuterie; and main courses of steaks, seafood, pasta and an Oak Burger. Prices range from $19-$39 for entrees.
A light marble oven is central to the dining room, which nearly runs the length of the building. A wall was knocked down, and an 83-foot copper-top bar overlooks the hearth and backlit liquor wall. Waterford chandeliers catch the light, and as a result the original coffered and Beaux Arts plaster ceilings appear as museum-quality showpieces.
There are different seating choices: 28 oversized leather bar stools, including a double-stool for lovebirds, are at the bar. Sofas and red-stuffed chairs surround low marble cocktail tables, and mustard-color leather banquettes and red leather directors chairs surround wooden tables. For the first time, the Grand Dame has a high-top communal table - showing a willingness to join 21st century dining. A sidewalk patio is slated to open in the next few weeks.
The luxury details are apparent from the Italian linen napkins to the marble cocktail tables that can raised or lowered to your dining preference. But let’s be clear: there is no stuffiness here. The Grand Dame of Boston has become young again.
The Copley Plaza Hotel, which opened in August 1912, is celebrating100 years. Since its opening, the Oak Long Bar + Kitchen space has always been a restaurant or bar.
138 St. James Ave., Back Bay; 617-585-7222