Nowhere Special Opens On Mass Ave

man behind bar
Nowhere Special's spirits selection

man working behind a barTongue firmly in cheek, Nowhere Special Cocktail Lounge (608 Massachusetts Ave.) opens today in the former Libertine Liquor Bar spot on Mass Ave, hoping to fill the craft-drink deficit left by its predecessor as well as the bygone Thunderbird and Bar One Fourteen. It joins Ambrosia, Bocca, and The Commodore in a family of sophisticated nightlife spots owned by Dan and Anna Cage.

The inspiration for the watering hole was a noir-ish night out—Dan envisioned a taxi driver asking for a destination and the passenger answering, “Oh, nowhere special.” In this case, the loner would open a door on Mass Ave with a cryptic, Art Deco “NS” logo and descend to a discreet basement hideout that seduces immediately with mystique (by Indy’s hospitable standards). Four rooms and a handsome bar spread about between brick openings reminiscent of catacombs after an HGTV intervention. Every inch feels special with long banquettes, swanky club chairs, a slick fireplace, and the requisite green wall for Instagram backdrops.

A boundary-pushing bartender mixes a list of pretty, camera-eats-first “originals,” twists on classics, and mocktails. A sommelier assembled a tight, smart beer and wine list, too, but the hard stuff puts the “special” in the name. A rum-and-pineapple Pirate’s Punch drifts into culinary territory with the addition of falernum, orgeat, and tiki bitters. The rye-based Gogo Yubari shows the staff’s confidence in playing with gochujang honey and soy sauce. The smoky Ocean Martini, poured over a single tumbler-sized iceberg, features “coconut-abused” vodka and a pear liqueur. Among the classic riffs, the signature dirty martini is made with a house brine, and the Old Fashioned is concocted with barrel-picked Old Forester.

a cocktail and potstickers
The Ocean Martini and pot stickers

A menu of bar snacks by Pax Ongley shows the chef’s Caribbean and Southeast Asian influences in a succulent one-big-bite dumpling and tangy cucumber salad.

Just don’t call it a speakeasy. Nowhere Special is more polished than that—and, wink wink, it knows.