Methuselah Bar And Lounge Brings Rustic Chic To North Street
Jennifer Galvagni, Yuki Cohen and Gabe Lloyd.
By Amy Krzanik
Most restaurants and bars need a while to get on their feet, a few months to find their niche or to attract a loyal following. Methuselah Bar and Lounge on North Street in Pittsfield never seemed to need that time. The bar’s “soft opening” on February 7 drew a crowd which hasn’t abated, filling the hip nightspot with friends eager to support owner Yuki Cohen’s new venture.
Cohen, who moved to the Berkshires from Manhattan in 2007 with then-husband Josh Cohen to open Moe’s Tavern in Lee, now considers herself a local. After earning an MBA from NYU, Cohen worked at the Bank of NY in stocks research. “The stock market always seemed glamorous to me while I was working in New York,” she says, “and while I was very successful, the rat race got old.”
Photo courtesy of Methuselah.
The atmosphere of the Berkshires appealed to Cohen after her years in New York’s finance sector. “I had a very disciplined upbringing, and it’s the same way in the corporate world,” she says. Cohen’s parents, who emigrated from North Korea — crossing over the border to South Korea smuggled in an American tank — and moved on to Brazil, finally settled in the U.S. in 1980, where they owned a bodega in Brooklyn. “My parents never wanted me to own my own business because they know how much work it is,” she says, laughing.
Cohen, who still works in finance as an advisor at Alexandra Dest Capital Management, loves connecting with people. “What I missed most about Moe’s was the gigantic bar where you have the chance for meaningful conversations.” Cohen tried to recreate the community atmosphere of a hometown tavern with a communal table and large bar in Methuselah’s front space, and a casual lounge area in the back with couches and low tables.
Pork Carnitas and a Jack Rose cocktail.
Adam Medina of Medina Designs helped Cohen reimagine the former Y Bar location with clean and modern lines and colors that allow the more rustic wood elements to add warmth, creating a welcoming rustic chic interior.
Methuselah’s manager, Caitlin Harrison, is a level one sommelier who used to manage Mission and helped open Y Bar. “I call her the Wikipedia of wine and cocktails,” Cohen says. Harrison’s beverage choices highlight organic winemakers that use minimal additives and preservatives in their vintages. The wine selection ($6-$11 by the glass) and 16 beers on tap ($4-$8) change seasonally, and the full bar offers specialty cocktails and surprise concoctions such as a “Love is in the Air” cocktail for Valentine’s Day, springtime sangrias and my favorite, the “Jack Rose,” a medley of Laird’s Applejack Brandy, housemade grenadine, lemon and Peychaud’s bitters.
The bar’s tapas menu was created by Lina Aliberti-Paccaud, owner of the former Spigalina restaurant in Lenox. “I don’t pretend to be a chef, but Lina attended CIA and has a passion for food,” says Cohen. Gabe Lloyd from How We Roll is co-chef, and the bar recently brought chef Amber Hemenway on board.
Methuselah’s Turkish Delight is a winner.
Standout menu items include Turkish Delight, a colorful plate of carrot hummus, beet tzatziki, edamame and feta spread (difficult to pick a favorite among the three, because they’re all so good) arranged around a plate of homemade pita chips ($10); Pigs in a Blanket, which features Red Apple Butchers’ brats and Hosta Hill crimson kraut in a croissant-like puff pastry, served with grainy mustard on the side ($8); and Chicken Tacos or Chile Pork Carnitas ($10 for two/$18 for four).
Cheese and charcuterie plates, salads and sandwiches including the popular Cubano-style Pork with slow-roasted pork loin, prosciutto and gruyere ($10) round out the menu. Desserts include Flourless Chocolate Chambord Cake with raspberries and chantilly cream, or the Goat’s Milk Cheesecake with seasonal fruit salad (both $8), as well as Villa Dolce Gelato and assorted sorbets ($4-$6). Cohen and her chefs hope to introduce oysters to the menu soon.
“This community has so many talented and generous people. It would cost a fortune in New York City to do what I’ve done here,” muses Cohen. “Methuselah is a reflection of who I am, but other people really helped me bring this to life.”
Methuselah Bar and Lounge
391 North Street, Pittsfield, MA
5 p.m. – 1 a.m. daily