Boston bar royalty Jackson Cannon — best known for orchestrating the lauded bar programs at former Kenmore Square icons Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the Hawthorne — is readying a new cocktail bar called Equal Measure to open in Fenway in 2023.
Eastern Standard and its sibling spots, all located within Kenmore Square’s Hotel Commonwealth, shut down during the pandemic as lease negotiations fell apart between restaurateur Garrett Harker and the building’s landlord. This past summer, New York restaurant group Blue Ribbon began sliding into the three spaces where the crowd-favorite Kenmore Square spots once stood with an outpost of Blue Ribbon Sushi. (The group’s second of three planned restaurants, Pescador, should open soon.)
Before the first Blue Ribbon restaurant even got its doors open, Harker announced plans to return to the neighborhood with four new venues just down the street, in the Bower real estate development at 771 and 775 Beacon Street, practically within glaring distance of the Hotel Commonwealth. Equal Measure is the Cannon-led cocktail bar included in that new lineup, set to open in late spring 2023.
The cocktail veteran declined to provide further details on the bar to Eater, citing the early timeline, but he tried out new recipes at an Equal Measure pop-up at Troquet on South’s speakeasy-style bar, Offsuit, in the Leather District on Monday nights throughout October. (The final pop-up was on October 24.) Drinks at the pop-up included an everything margarita with bagel-spiced agave, and an espresso martini made with regional favorite Allen’s coffee brandy but “no stupid beans” on top, per the menu description.
Cannon is a high-profile figure in Boston’s cocktail scene. He opened Eastern Standard as bar manager in 2005, and then followed that up with Island Creek Oyster Bar in 2010. One year later, he partnered with Harker in opening the Hawthorne, which was a semifinalist for the James Beard Awards’ outstanding bar program several times and won a Tales of the Cocktail award for best American hotel bar in 2017. Cannon has received recognition for his work putting a national spotlight on Boston’s cocktail scene from publications including Wine Enthusiast.