Oak Long Bar + Kitchen Ushers in Next Century for Fairmont Copley

August 28, 2012

Now occupying the former space of The Oak Room, the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is a fitting addition to the Fairmont Copley Plaza on its centennial, offering a contemporary dining and drinking experience while paying tribute to past incarnations of the storied room that has served as an eating and drinking establishment since the hotel opened in 1912.

“Knowing how important this place has been to the City of Boston, we wanted to be very mindful of the history during the restoration process,” Fairmont Copley Plaza spokesperson Suzanne Wenz said. “The interior designers did an amazing job incorporating original details into a new and refreshing space.”

One such detail is a semi-circular copper track for the eponymous revolving machine that once graced the Merry-Go Round Bar, which remains the longest tenant to date after occupying the space from 1934 to 1978. The track was uncovered during the rehabilitation and subsequently incorporated into the new design.

“So many people have mentioned the merry-go round, we just wanted to pay homage to what it meant to Boston,” Wenz said. “People still say they remember how slowly it moved.”

Cooper was also refurbished in the frames of the room’s vintage 17-foot Palladian windows, inspiring the centerpiece of the new establishment – an 83-foot copper-topped bar. Along with local beers and more than 25 wines by the glass, the bar serves handcrafted cocktails, including the ones that became synonymous with the old establishment.

“People knew [The Oak Room] for its martinis, and we’re certainly going to continue that tradition,” Wenz said.

While many have asked what became of the wood that once adorned the walls, Wenz said the material was in fact painted plaster and the paneling that replaced it is the first real oak ever used in the room.

The menu, under the guidance of Executive Chef Stefan Jarausch, includes farm-to-table American fare, priced at between $23 and $38 for entrees, and an in-house Wood Stone hearth oven churns out morning pastries, flatbread pizzas and the signature fire-roasted lobster, among other food items.

“The talented culinary team put together a menu that has a lot of choices for people at any time of day,” Wenz said. “All the farms and food purveyors that supply the restaurant are local, and the menu changes seasonally, depending on what ingredients are freshest.”

Meanwhile, Wenz said the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is an establishment befitting of the hotel on this milestone year.

“All spaces, especially restaurants, evolve over time,” Wenz said. “To have such a significant restoration done here is a really exciting way to kick off our next century of service.”

The OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is located on the first floor of the Fairmont Copley Plaza at 138 St. James Ave. For more information, visit www.oaklongbarkitchen.comor call 617-585-7222.

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