Intimate cocktail bar Farmacia opens in the North End


The nine-seat, European-inspired house in North Square opened Friday.

Phillip Rolfe opened his nine-seat bar this weekend with a lineup of refined cocktails showcasing the flavors of Italy. Courtesy/Farmacia

This weekend, a brand new intimate, apothecary-themed cocktail expertise opened within the North End.

Farmacia, which can function Wednesdays via Saturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, is presently solely reserving pay as you go ticketed reservations. For $50 per individual, visitors get a 75-minute time slot, three cocktails, some little bar snacks, and “some surprise fun stuff,” mentioned creator and bar director Phillip Rolfe.

While the little nine-seat bar has seen many house owners through the years, it was as soon as a bootleg apothecary, mentioned Rolfe, therefore the title: “pharmacy” in Italian. 

“I kinda lucked out—I’ve been staring at this space for a long time,” mentioned Rolfe.

An authorized sommelier, Rolfe brings his in depth foods and drinks expertise to the enterprise, crafting cocktails from housemade elements proper in entrance of his visitors for a extremely customized expertise. 

After working in wine for a lot of his profession, Rolfe lower his enamel within the cocktail world at Wink & Nod and Parla. At Farmacia, he cold-presses his personal juices, infuses his personal liquors, and in any other case meticulously sources each ingredient on his menu solo. 

“This is a hyper-personalized project,” mentioned Rolfe, who primarily runs the bar as a one-man present.

That’s what he says is so distinctive about Farmacia—visitors get a “vertically integrated experience,” chatting with the man who not solely made their cocktail, however who made the complete menu, each sourcing resolution, and even each design resolution within the house.

Guests get to study the “why” of every libation they drink.

When he has the time and house, mentioned Rolfe, he’ll settle for some a la carte prospects, however he’s principally filling up on the ticketed $50 expertise. He hopes the pay as you go tickets will take away a number of the financial stress from decision-making on the bar. 

“I’ve been in so many situations where people seem like they’re agonizing over a $2 difference between cocktails and I really want to take that financial pressure out of the situation,” mentioned Rolfe.

The drink selections nonetheless may not be the best, as Rolfe has a particularly curated lineup of tantalizing cocktails in retailer. His first menu (he’ll change out menus each few months) relies on Italian summer time flavors, with highlights like a melon and basil tequila drink, a brilliant pink negroni with pineapple juice, and an impressively unique espresso martini. 

One of the creations at Farmacia. Courtesy/Farmacia

Rather than a strict tasting menu, mentioned Rolfe, “the idea [that the menu] is laid out in such a way that you can pick three as you go down and they should end up in the right order in terms of lightest to heaviest.”

“I’m attached to using fresh, more herbaceous driven stuff,” mentioned Rolfe of his present menu of 11 fragrant, delicately flavored cocktails. The intimate dimension of his house means he’s completely happy to speak with a visitor about their cocktail preferences—and if a visitor doesn’t see one thing they like on the menu, Rolfe can take it off script.

Some of his bar snacks will embrace roasted nuts, pickles, dips, and gelato. 

While Farmacia is its personal house, Rolfe is working beneath the LLC of neighbor Ciao Roma.

Reservations are already reserving weeks out, mentioned Rolfe. He plans to attract crowds of principally locals, versus the neighborhood’s tourist-heavy patronage. 

“That gives me a little more leeway to play around with some stuff,” mentioned Rolfe.

Farmacia’s small scale will enable Rolfe to remain true to himself whereas operating a real neighborhood watering gap. If he’s on trip, he’s closed.

“I don’t work Sunday through Tuesday, I’m just closed. If I’m sick, I’m closed,” mentioned Rolfe. “It’s very European.”

“It’s an authentic experience in the North End,” he mentioned, “and I feel like that’s what people are looking for.”

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