I never knew Hawthorne existed until I went last week for a friend’s birthday party. It’s an extremely chic bar and lounge tucked away in the basement of Hotel Commonwealth. The place seemed so familiar even though I’d never been there before.

When I said that out loud, my friends all laughed at me; apparently Hawthorne was once a euro-chic bar called the Foundation that I frequented with my European roommate during my freshman year of college. No wonder I had strange, vague memories.

Anyway, the place is decorated like I might decorate my house someday. It’s absolutely adorable–very minimalist. I was totally smitten.

I arrived early to the shin-dig with a few friends after ducking out of our night class. We ordered a few drinks and some appetizers; I got a champagne cocktail (its name escapes me but it was similar to a Kir Royale with rum) and between all of us we split whipped ricotta with veggies for dipping (Including radishes! My favorite!), deviled eggs, pretzels with mustard, and asparagus toasts. Everything was incredibly tasty and ornate.

a few of our appetizers

a few of our appetizers

Of course, splitting a few appetizers is never enough to quell hungry monster that lives inside my stomach. I decided to order the fingerling potato skins, which were an obvious choice from the very beginning. If there are potato skins are on the menu, you better believe I’m ordering them, hungry or not. I had no plans to share– and it was a good thing, too, because I wolfed down the entire plate in under a minute. They were absolutely DIVINE! I wish I had taken a photo before I tore into it. Teenie weenie fingerling potatoes, sliced in half, topped with whipped potato mixed with whipped horseradish and bacon bits. DE-LISH.

Everyone seemed to love their drinks. The cocktail menu was expansive and had something for every taste, very similar to the menu over at Eastern Standard. After my champagne cocktail I was craving a martini of the cucumber variety, so I spoke to one of the mixologists who confidently proclaimed they’d conjure up something to my liking. The “cucumber martini” they served me was hardly such–it barely contained any muddled cucumber. It was essentially cloudy gin in a martini glass with a few cucumber seeds floating around at the bottom. Luckily I was already one drink deep, so I braved it. Everyone else seemed happy with everything so I decided against complaining about it.

I had mentioned to our server early in the evening that our group was celebrating a birthday. When things started winding down, our server appeared with not one but TWO plates of macaroons for the table, one of which was adorned with a candle! We sang happy birthday and dug in–the selection was delicious (the one I chose was chocolate and coconut). We had a large group, and it was nice that everyone would get at get at least one.

One of the best parts about the whole experience: our server made the check-splitting experience quite bearable. Our check was pre-split–the server kept track of who got which drinks, and divided up the appetizers between everyone. Smart move on their part!

All in all, I will definitely be returning to Hawthorne for the atmosphere and the appetizers. Even though I was disappointed with my cucumber martini, I suppose I’ll give the drinks another shot (or perhaps just take a shot.)


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