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It’s hard to say which is the more impressive transformation: Tammy Miller’s or that of the bar she owns and operates, the Dorman Street Saloon. About a decade ago, the historic Cottage Home dive hid under a shroud of patchwork remodels. Miller? “I didn’t even know what color was whiskey and what color was vodka.”
Hardly an auspicious beginning, but, like a good cocktail, Miller and her husband Shawn—preservationists whose interests run from classic cars to landmark properties—shook things up. “It was just time for me to do something different,” says Miller, who had worked as a gallery owner and an IT recruiter. Without an iota of bar or restaurant experience, she oversaw a restoration that returned the establishment to its former glory.
With one remodel under their belt, Miller and her husband are putting the finishing touches on their second effort, the Liberty Street bar, in a Mass Ave building they’ve owned for 30 years. Most recently, the space held Cajun-Creole eatery Yats, and it was a gallery before that, but it was home to a bar back in 1897. Miller says the Liberty will embody the look and feel of the turn-of-the-century original. When the bar opens soon, patrons can raise a toast to yet another Miller transformation.
Tammy Miller's Favorite Things
1) Magazines: I've kept National Geographic magazines for years."
2) Cars: "I love the '41 Cadillac, and I think the Auburn is the prettiest."
3) Diet Coke with ice: "You'll rarely see me without one."
4) The Phoenix Theatre: "They tackle issues that people are talking about."
Photo by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the December 2013 issue.
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