There was a time when drinking felt deliciously illicit: an inconspicuous tavern, a door with strange markings, windows of diamond-paned glass. Inside, the light was low, the crowd conspiratorial. Bartenders clutched silver shakers, arms pumping like rods on a steam locomotive, pausing to pour. No televisions, no darts, no soda guns spraying Sprite. It was last Saturday night.
There’s nothing short of a contemporary cocktail revolution going on right across from the Senate House State Historic Site. The Stockade Tavern, located at 313 Fair Street in Kingston, is bringing old-school cool back to Uptown. Paul Maloney and Giovanna “Jenny” Vis, a married couple, are the owners and tenders of this classy, classic American watering hole set in a former Singer sewing machine repair shop and notions store.
Their aim is simple and sweet: “Happiness for the masses – and knowledge!” said Maloney, in between pours on a busy night. The tavern is modeled on Drink, a Massachusetts throwback bar where he learned the craft of the cocktail and the subtleties of topnotch service. So when you sit down at the Stockade Tavern’s thick, curved black walnut bar, you’re soon handed a short glass of chilled water and a menu divided into sections: whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, brandy, absinthe and “house” (specialties).