PHOTOGRAPH by Darren Pellegrino
At this Burlington steak house, serious food and a touch of eccentricity work in perfect harmony. While the Bancroft does offer traditional steak house staples, like a whopping 40-ounce tomahawk ribeye steak for two, along with sides like garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, the sophisticated touch of executive chef Mario Capone—whose résumé includes working for Lydia Shire and Daniel Boulud—lightens and modernizes the classics while broadening the offerings. The posh décor features mismatched furniture, from custom-made plush banquettes to chairs wrapped in cowhide. Even the floors are a patchwork of different materials, from tile to throw rugs to dark wood. But everything works together to create a warm, sophisticated experience that leaves diners plotting a return trip.
15 Third Ave., Burlington, 781-221-2100, the-bancroft.com
Barrel House American Bar
The Barrel House raised the bar on cocktails on the North Shore, and it’s no surprise that they’ve stayed at the top of their game with a top-notch bar program that continues to delight regulars and newcomers alike. True to its name, Barrel House has a mighty impressive whiskey list, not to mention several barrel-aged cocktails (try them, trust us). Expect to find expertly balanced classics like the gin-based Aviation and rum-heavy Painkiller, as well as house creations that show off freshly made syrups, bitters, and infusions. Local distillers are well represented, so Barrel House is an excellent place to try Ipswich’s Privateer Rum or Gloucester’s Ryan & Wood Rye Whiskey. An assortment of vintage cocktail glasses adds a nice touch, and expert bartenders are only too happy to share a taste of their latest concoction or recommend an esoteric beer from their curated list. Barrel House remains a shining star, so raise a glass to their continued (whiskey) smashing success.
252 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-998-4627, barrelhousebeverly.com