Ask a Bartender: Bleacher Bar’s Josh Millman
Don’t expect to find a drink named for the Green Monster at Bleacher Bar. Cute winks and nods to the Red Sox just aren’t necessary when your pub is located directly beneath the center field stands of Fenway Park. Rather, bartender Josh Millman recommends enjoying the live field-level view with the classics: a Miller High Life and a shot of Jägermeister. Now with baseball season well under way, we touched base with Millman to talk drinks and get a sense of what it’s like to work at the bar with the world’s most unique view.
As far as location goes, you guys have some of the most prime real estate on earth, never mind in just the neighborhood. What’s it like tending bar at field level inside Fenway Park?
It’s pretty awesome year-round to have that view. Once it warms up during the season, to have that garage open, get that breeze, the smell, it’s pretty cool. I couldn’t ask for a better office day in and day out, year-round. During the off-season, whether there are concerts or the Frozen Fenway, there’s always stuff going on. To be able to open it up when it’s warm enough and just take in the sights and sounds of Fenway, it’s awesome. I’m going to stay here until my knees and back give out, that’s for sure.
What’s the atmosphere like inside the bar, especially when the Sox are performing well on the field right outside?
It’s pretty electric. It’s never quiet. There’s never a dull moment in here. When the Sox are playing, especially well, it gets a little nuts. Whether it’s the first pitch, the third inning or the end of the game, up until the last pitch, everyone’s kind of hanging on, especially by the garage door. Everyone wants to hang out and get a view of the park. It’s never quiet in here. We’re busy on game day, all day. People are coming in from doing the tours at Fenway, or they’re going to the game and they want to pop in. It’s just a big meeting place to hang out. It’s fun for me, so it’s got to be quite a thrill for all the fans in there. Sometimes it’s just so busy, I don’t even get to notice the game. It’s like Mardi Gras all the time during a game in here.
What would you say is the bar’s signature drink?
I don’t want to say we’re a dive bar, but if you ask us what our signature drink is, we’d tell you, like, a High Life and a shot of Jäger.
That goes well with most everything, but what do you like to pair on the menu with a High Life?
We specialize in our sandwiches here. The Reuben here is fantastic, I always recommend that. Then there’s the Cuban and the meatball sub. Those are my top three that I would recommend. We’ve got good bread, good amount of filling, quality fillings. There’s just something about a good sandwich and a cold beer.
A beer and a shot isn’t all you can whip up though.
People can come here when they want to hang out and just get a beer or a Captain and Coke or a Jameson and ginger. But at the same time, people will come in that haven’t been around, like everyone’s on about the Mad Men Old Fashioned, and we’ll do that for you. None of the people who work here are beyond making a drink like that, or a Moscow Mule, or whatever the rage is right now. But our regulars, they know they can come in here and just get a simple drink and hang out and catch up.
When you’re not working, where in The Fenway do you go for a post-work drink?
If I want to get a cocktail, I’ll go to Eastern Standard. Their beverage program over there is probably second to none. Then the service they do over there, whether you’re dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and a hat, or a three-piece suit, they give you the same respect. It’s a good place for me to unwind because they make you feel so comfortable. I’m a Sazerac drinker and they make a good Sazerac. I’ll also go across the street to Cornwall’s. If I just want a beer, they’ve got good rotating beers. And I can shoot some pool over at Cornwall’s, that’s always on my mind.
Catch up with Josh at Bleacher Bar this summer, because what’s better than beer, sandwiches and baseball?