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Throughout the United States, November is a very big month for aspiring attorneys who have taken the July bar examination. Generally, these are first time takers, new law school graduates, who are looking forward to legal careers (or careers outside of the law, but for which a law license is an excellent credential). Some of these folks have taken the bar more than once, others are taking the bar for the first time after being out of school for several years.
My friend Pamela (who kindly gave permission to be identified in this piece) was one of the folks in the last category. She successfully completed law school some years ago, but only this year decided to sit the bar. The “girls” (read, middle-aged women) in our building coached, encouraged, exhorted her, and I confess that I was especially vocal, telling her “look, just take the bar, and then adjourn to one,” a play on words the legal punster in me could not resist. I became more specific, suggesting Eastern Standard and Scampo in Boston (both restaurants with adult beverage menus). Now that her pass or fail letter (or e-mail) is soon on its way, I am sharing with the greater aspiring legal community the reasons for these suggestions.
Garrett Harker’s Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (in Kenmore Square, with a convenient entry from the Hotel Commonwealth) manages to have a lively, polished (both the 46 feet of marble and its patrons) bar and cozy red leather banquettes (separated by glass panes). The impressive cocktail and mocktail list is inventive (the Blueberry Thrill is especially recommended, and may be converting this writer to being a gin drinker), and a good prelude to dining (dads might especially appreciate the Grilled Rib Eye with herb butter and Maine potatoes atop wilted greens or one of the daily specials, like the Friday Lobster Gnocchi with Meyer lemon browned butter and leeks).
Photo Credit: Adam Gesuero
This polished gem is sophisticated at night (everything from jeans to dress up is welcome), and welcoming of all ages for breakfast (the heartiest eggs Benedict to be had, with luscious fruit salad to defend against a cardiology emergency).
Scampo, in the Liberty Hotel, may be the most hilariously set restaurant this former criminal lawyer has ever dined in — the hotel is housed in a former jail, and Scampo keeps the wit in the décor.
Chef Lydia Shire offers Italian-inspired food that ranges into the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The showcased open kitchen turns out appetizers and starters from a mozzarella bar (highly recommended is that with prosciutto, purple vine tomato and shaved artichoke hearts with aerated lemon aioli), a range of pastas (including gluten free), and a variety of plates and specials that come with attractive and healthful sides (the parsnip puree with, baby carrots, and greens work a treat with the Saturday night baby lamb).
Perhaps most impressive is a wine list that includes a commendable dessert wine list (the first time this author paired a dessert to wine, a hard to find Inniskillen from Canada) paired well with the harvest pear almost cake.
From my point of view, passing the bar by going to it at Eastern Standard, or enjoying the symbolic escape from prison at Scampo is an excellent idea; for those who do not get favorable results regarding their examination, releasing oneself into one’s own recognizance after dining at the latter, or dining at the latter after passing by Eastern Standard’s well-appointed bar, seems equally appropriate.
Demetra M. Pappas teaches in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at St. Francis College, where she was named the 2011/2012 Student Government Association Faculty Member of the Year. Dr. Pappas holds a JD from Fordham University School of Law, an MSc in Criminal Justice Policy from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the LSE (from the Department of Law and the Department of Sociology). She has taken and successfully passed the New York and New Jersey bar examinations and used to grade the Business Law section of the CPA examination.