First Wave

Cars tribute act hits Tupelo

The best thing about playing in a Cars tribute act is it never gets boring. The Boston band broke out in the late 1970s with a string of hits that ran the gamut from edgy jangle pop to swirling, ethereal rock, and no song exactly resembled another.

“The Cars had such a diverse palette of musical tastes, you listen to some of their music and sometimes wonder if it’s the same band,” Ken Marchione said recently. Panorama, the band he co-founded, will bring its pristine Cars reproduction to Tupelo Music Hall on Nov. 18, a co-bill with B-52s sound-alike Bikini Whale. “Their music will live on, and even after all these years they still sound fresh.”

That said, anyone looking to tackle The Cars’ catalog, from their eponymous debut to 1984’s Heartbeat City (the last-gasp Door to Door three years later doesn’t really count), should be more than a fan. The variety and complexity of songs like “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Hello Again” can challenge the most talented musician.

The five members of Panorama are up to the task. In fact, their stage act often improves on, or at least cleans up, the original group, as it employs prerecorded multitracking and layered vocals to emulate The Cars’ album sound.

“We want to make it note for note as perfect as we can,” Marchione said. “Because in a lot of ways they really were a studio band.”

Marchione and keyboard player Darren Muise, who are also in the J. Geils Band tribute act Whammer Jammer, came up with the idea for Panorama in 2019. The two were already Cars fans. Muise went to Berklee College of Music, where he latched onto Cars keys man Greg Hawkes, particularly liking his synthesizer work. Marchione picked up the guitar at age 6 and was smitten since “Just What I Needed” hit on WBCN and WRKO.

He marvels at guitarist Elliot Easton. “His solos … are songs within songs that can be hummed; the average listener gravitates to that,” he said. “That’s why I think he’s been so successful as a soloist and a writer because he makes these intricate arrangements for the guitar that everybody can latch on to.”

The first piece in putting the band together was singer-guitarist Darin Ames, who answered Marchione and Muise’s Craigslist ad. Drummer Gary Agresti came next, bringing additional skills as a sound man — he runs the mix at BankNH Pavilion in Gilford during the shed season. Bass player Jeff Ares came in last, replacing one who’d only played one gig.

Ares was a find. “It was fate — he knew about 25 songs when he walked through the door,” Marchione recalled, adding they did a full rehearsal with him the same day. “He just stepped in, he knows every song, he’s a great bass player, he looks the part and he loves The Cars. It was just an absolute perfect fit, and that completed the band.”

The doppelganger band opens its show with a brief Cars history video and uses career-spanning visual imagery throughout the set. They perform a couple of times a month and recently completed a well-received jaunt to Wisconsin. They’ve even received acknowledgement from the objects of their tribute. At a recent benefit concert, Ares and Ames sat in with Eliot Easton for a pair of songs.

At the show, Marchione had a chance to speak with his musical hero Easton.

“I got to ask him a bunch of questions about a lot of the solos that I’ve been playing for years now,” Marchione recalled. “He was fantastic, and a super nice guy. He knew that we had a tribute to The Cars, and he wasn’t in any way upset; he was flattered. That was a bucket list item for me.”

Panorama (The Cars tribute) w/ Bikini Whale (B-52s tribute)
Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.
Where: Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry
Tickets: $30 at

Featured photo: Panorama. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/11/16

Local music news & events

Purple like: Get funky with LoVeSeXy, New England’s top Prince tribute act. The six-piece band also covers Prince-adjacent acts Morris Day & the Time and Sheila E. Backing vocalist Jodee Frawlee does a great job with the latter, as well as with Prince’s duet partner Sheena Easton, on “You Got the Look” and “Love Bizarre.” Thursday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m., LaBelle Winery, 14 Route 111, Derry, $40 at

Storyteller: A common thread running through 1970s rock, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter plays a solo concert that will include reminiscing about being a founding member of Steely Dan; he played on their first three albums before leaving to join the Doobie Brothers in 1974. Baxter got his start in Boston with psychedelic rockers Ultimate Spinach, and his session work includes Joni Mitchell and Rod Stewart. Friday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, $39 and up at

Tail-wagger: Whether covering old-school soul or doing an original like “Without You,” Fox & the Flamingos can get a party started. Fronted by fluffy-tailed singer Maizy Rae (she often sports one, along with furry ears), the group charms with vintage favorites like “Tell Me Something Good” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Their reinvention of The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” is a revved-up delight. Saturday, Nov. 18, 9:30 pm., Peddler’s Daughter, 48 Main St., Nashua (21+); see

Soft rock: Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock formed Air Supply after touring together in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1975. They topped the Australian charts soon after the musical closed; big hits include “Lost in Love” and “All Out of Love.” Sunday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m., Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord, $68.25 and up at

Indie songs: Judging by the musicians she’s collaborated with, singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson is truly special. Her most recent studio album was produced by Peter Asher, who guided Linda Ronstadt into superstardom, with a band including Jim Keltner and The Section’s Leland Sklar and Waddy Wachtel. Sunday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m., The Press Room, 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, $15 to $20 at (21+).

The Marvels (PG-13)

Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau team up, much to Ms. Marvel’s teenage-fangirl glee, in The Marvels, a mostly fun adventure movie in spite of some Marvel Cinematic Universe “did you do your homework?”-ing.

I came to this movie slightly more prepared than usual with these Marvel movies that have TV series tie-ins, having seen — and absolutely loved — the Ms. Marvel series all about high schooler Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a comics-making, Avengers-loving Pakistani-American girl from Jersey City. I did not see the Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)-centric Secret Invasion or WandaVision, where I gather we meet the grown-up Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). But it’s fine; the movie recaps enough about who everybody is and their relationships to each other — like, for example, that Monica still thinks of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) as Aunt Carol Danvers, best friend of her mother, the late Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), who died during the five years Monica was Blipped away.

Monica has superpowers now and works for Nick Fury at the S.H.I.E.L.D.-in-space-like S.A.B.E.R. Carol/Captain Marvel is still traveling the universe looking to help people, basically alone except for her cat, Goose, who is a tentacle-mouthed Flerken. Kamala is still in Jersey, still in high school, still making comics when she should be doing homework — as her loving and rightfully suspicious mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) reminds her.

Muneeba, Kamala’s dad Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) and Kamala’s older brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) are deeply confused when, after a crashing noise upstairs, Captain Marvel comes down from Kamala’s room. At the same time Kamala finds herself floating in space, where Fury, watching from a space station, had expected to see Monica, who is suddenly on the strange planet where we had just seen Carol. It seems that some kind of space-time-portal-thingies have entangled Carol, Kamala and Monica and whenever they use their powers, they change places. This phenomenon has something to do with the bangle (one identical to the one Kamala wears) that Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), our antagonist, has dug up and put on. Dar-Benn, a Kree warrior/leader person, is trying to use the power she gains from the bangle to transport, via wormhole, resources from other planets to her people’s dying homeworld, Hala. From a Skrull planet, she steals the atmosphere. From another planet, she attempts to steal the water. From Earth’s solar system, she intends to steal the sun.

(OK, so — Skrull, Kree, Flerken, Blip? Translation: The first two are warring aliens who appeared in Captain Marvel and other MCU properties, a Flerken is a cat that’s really an alien and the Blip was the whole Thanos thing. And, Thanos? Look, I don’t feel like this is anybody’s MCU entry point but if it is maybe just take notes for post-film Wikipedia-ing. It took catching a bit of Captain Marvel for me to remember “oh, yeah, Hala is a thing we know.” Meanwhile, we are introduced to a brand new planet, Aladna, and an alien people who communicate largely through song and I feel like, if we want to pile on the lore, why not go with new, delightfully weird lore like that?)

Monica and Carol haven’t reconnected since Monica was a child and of course everybody seems a little uneasy about bringing teenage Kamala to intergalactic battles. But the three women eventually realize that their tangled powers mean they need to work together.

The movie has some fun with the powers-tangling concept. The scene that sort of introduces the three superheroines to each other features a prolonged fight with the three swapping places throughout, occasionally pulling bad guys with them, which is how the Khan family ends up fighting Kree and how Goose ends up at the family home, at one point eating some Khan family knick-knacks. It’s choreographed for maximum fun, with the three characters figuring out the rules and what their powers are and who they’re fighting. Later we get a training montage of the three learning how to use the position swaps so they can mount a fight against Dar-Benn.

I also appreciate that the movie pulls the Khans into the adventure, as Kamala’s family was so central to her story. Plus Shroff’s Muneeba is great and I found myself wishing that the movie had given her some superhero-ing of her own. Muneeba’s “you’re not allowed to go on a space adventure” protectiveness also helps to root Kamala’s character in her teenagerness.

The chemistry between the three women is nice too. We don’t get some antagonism-for-the-sake-of-antagonism shoved into the relationships. Instead, we get Carol and Monica reckoning with their past and all three of them learning to work together and value each other’s contributions. It’s a small thing but it keeps the movie relatively light and fun.

The Marvels mostly keeps its head above the Kree/Skrull-ness MCU soup but it does feel like a struggle. The whole business of Dar-Benn’s planet and Captain Marvel’s past feels like it gets in the way of really setting this movie free to be the buddy-adventure it wants to be. B

Rated PG-13 for action/violence and brief language, according to the MPA on Directed by Nia DaCosta with a screenplay by Nia DaCosta and Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik, The Marvels is an hour and 45 minutes long and distributed by Walt Disney Studios in theaters.

Featured photo: The Marvels.

Build the Life You Want, by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey

Build the Life You Want, by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey (Portfolio/Penguin, 208 pages)

Trying to make sense of the career path of Arthur C. Brooks can make your head hurt. Brooks started out as a classical French hornist and for a while played for a Baltimore brass quintet before joining an orchestra in Barcelona. From there, he was a music teacher in Florida before deciding to study economics. A master’s degree and Ph.D. later, he became head of a conservative think-tank, then a Harvard professor, and he’s now written a book with Oprah Winfrey.

The only connective tissue in all of this is that Brooks, in his own life and professionally, is a master of the pursuit of happiness, which qualifies him to teach the subject at Harvard and to write about it for The Atlantic. It is through his column there that Oprah Winfrey attached herself to his train. Their collaboration, Build the Life You Want, is a compendium of Brooks’ research on happiness, presented O magazine style.

They begin with by recounting the last days of Brooks’ mother-in-law, who had a challenging life and was confined to a bed at age 93 yet insisted she was happier than she’d ever been. Brooks questioned her and learned that her happiness came in part from her sense of agency, and her cultivation of relationships, work and religious faith.

Happiness, Brooks and Winfrey contend, in the many sections of the book that teeter dangerously toward platitude, is not a destination but a direction.

“You can’t be happy — but you can be happier,” they write. This requires nurturing the three components of happier-ness: enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose, all of which require some degree of struggle. It is throwing off the idea of happiness being an achievable, sustainable state that allows us to be happier, to their way of thinking.

They delve into arguments that feel a little tired, such as the importance of not being led by emotions. They frame this within the concept of metacognition — “thinking about thinking” — viewing emotions as something to control, rather than letting them control you. To do this requires practice, Brooks and Winfrey write, offering four ways to develop the ability: becoming more observant of your feelings, writing about them in a journal, tapping into happy memories and looking for “meaning and learning in the hard parts of life.”

Their next recommendation, choosing better emotions, is a bit trickier, but they maintain this can be done. How? Practicing gratitude (more journaling required), finding ways to laugh, and choosing hope over optimism. The latter are not synonyms, they argue, saying “Hope involves personal agency, meaning it gives you a sense of power and motivation.” Like an earlier section, in which they insist that enjoyment and pleasure are different things, this assertion can send you down a rabbit hole of disagreement unrelated to their general point. Best not go there.

You can also get bogged down in their descriptions of how sympathy differs from empathy, which is different from compassion. But their point is that compassion combines empathy with a stoic tolerance of uncomfortable feelings associated with another person’s pain. “To be a more compassionate (and thus happier) person, start by working on your toughness. To be tougher in the face of another’s pain doesn’t mean feeling it less. Rather, you should learn to feel the pain without being impaired to act.”

Brooks and Winfrey challenge the common assumption that difficult times call for more “self-care.” Research has, in fact, shown that focusing on ourselves excessively does less to improve our sense of well-being than focusing on others. They offer suggestions for breaking this cycle, such as “avoid your own reflection” (this includes things like taking selfies and Googling yourself) and refraining from making constant judgments about the world.

Perhaps most helpful, particularly as we head into the holiday season, is their advice on family conflict. Families can be morass of unmet expectations and simmering resentments even when there aren’t larger problems like a “values breach,” which is the rejection of other family members’ deeply held beliefs. People often try to ignore conflicts like these, assuming they will age out of them, but in most cases these points of contention become more fixed over time. The authors recommend regular conversations to try to work out small conflicts before they become large, accepting others’ values, and they say, “don’t treat your family like emotional ATMs.” They also warn against “chronic negativity,” which requires a degree of emotional separation to overcome.

Finally, Brooks and Winfrey offer tips on categorizing friends as “real” or “deal” and cultivating friendships that contribute to happier-ness because they are “deeply real.” Meaningful work — “work that is love made visible” — and spirituality round out what is needed for happier-ness.

It is unclear how much of Build the Life You Want is Brooks and how much is Winfrey, although the scattered “A Note from Oprah” pages throughout the book suggest Winfrey mostly lent her name to the project. Some passages, the authors acknowledge, have already been published in The Atlantic. There’s nothing groundbreaking here for anyone familiar with the authors, but also nothing that isn’t worth a reminder. Then again, with such star power, it’s a bit disappointing that it doesn’t dazzle more than it does. B-

Album Reviews 23/11/16

Sick Boss, Businessless (Drip Audio Records)

Brandishing not just post-rock but indeed post-apocalyptic sound adventures a la That F-king Tank, the meanderings of this Vancouver, B.C., six-piece outfit are mostly loud and sinister, nicking from Jimi Hendrix, 1970s-spaghetti-crime flicks, Primus and really anything they can wrap their instruments around. Slotted into the fusion jazz category for reasons of convenience, this bunch is led by guitarist Cole Schmidt and includes trumpeter JP Carter (who’s collaborated with Destroyer), as well as a violin guy and a cellist; all six of them are terrific improvisers when they’re called upon to put in two cents toward realizing the noise-stomp-meets-Ennio Morricone ideas put forth. Par for the course for any outstanding group of this sort, static-noise jams give way to passages of beauty and vice versa; there are hard riffs, proto-emo chill-outs (“CJ Blues”) and other related-or-not things that complete a picture of a very interesting instrumental group that’ll be around a while with any modicum of luck. A+

Art Feynman, Be Good The Crazy Boys (Western Vinyl Records)

Art Feynman is an alter ego of producer Luke Temple, and it’s a lucky thing I even found that out when I skimmed the press release for this LP; anyone who reads this column knows that I’ve had a soft spot for the Salem, Mass., native since I first heard him years ago and likened him to another artist you’ve never heard of, one Winston Giles (I’m waiting for just one reader to finally get into Giles and express their eternal gratitude in sonnet form in my Facebook messages). This one was recorded live in the studio with a full band, a first for Temple; the record’s nervous but basically carefree feel recalls Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, which was a touchstone in the writing process. The tunes are meant to touch on “the part of the modern collective consciousness that’s struggling to maintain balance in a toxic, chaotic world,” but it’s a lot lighter-hearted than that; “In CD” feels like a Vampire Weekend demo intended for approval by B-52s. Infectious, massively accessible, genius-level stuff. A+


A seriously abridged compendium of recent and future CD releases

• Nov. 17 will be a day of new CD releases, try to stay calm, with regard to all the new music! It’s almost Thanksgiving, fam, and in order to honor that pumpkin-spiced holiday in the most appropriate way possible, Hollywood released a movie named after it, and the soundtrack was done by one Brandon Roberts, who handled the soundtracking for a bunch of other nonsense-horror movies, including A Quiet Place and The Woman in Black. At present the soundtrack isn’t available, probably because no one would buy a CD of a soundtrack about serial-killer turkeys or whatever it is, but, just saying, I did look into it for you. In fact, I’m a little surprised that there was an actual professional soundtrack for that movie, but you just never know what’ll happen when those Hollywood guys start drinking at Spago’s, you know?

• If you spend a lot of time on Twitter or basically any other social media site that isn’t Facebook and is thus possessed of a little bit of street credibility, you know that Dolly Parton is now Taken Seriously by Serious Internet Posters because she’s rattled off a few virtue-signaling posts about something or other, which resulted in a noticeable uptick in her cred! Yes, her coolness factor is now at Tom Jones level, and all sorts of younger musical artists are hopping on the gravy train, like when Lady Gaga recorded the duet with Tony Bennett for no rational reason whatsoever, but good for her! Yikes, just look at the roster of rockers who contributed to her fast-approaching new album, Rockstar: her version of “Let It Be” features the last two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Magoo or whatever his name is; it basically just sounds like Dolly Parton doing a Vegas version of that tune, in case you ever wanted to hear such a thing. But wait, folks, there’s more, Rob Halford from Judas Priest and Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue appear on the third single, “Bygones,” and it’s pretty funny but serious, like you end up thinking “why did they let Dolly Parton start randomly singing on a disposable heavy metal song,” not that she doesn’t do as good a job as you could ever hope for with it; she sounds wildly out of place, but yes, she does keep pace, singing fast over the metallic riffing, boy did I land on the wrong planet.

• Ah yes, Smoke Fairies, we’ve dealt with them before, to a most pleasant outcome in spite of the fact that the indie-folk ladies rose to fame mostly owing to the fact that famous hamburger-gobbling person Jack White decided they were cute and he simply had to have them on his record label! Who cares, either way, yes, they’re cute, toward an Emily Perkins I-am-the-world’s-weirdest-dorm-mate fashion, so I welcome the chance to hear them sing new songs about ghosts or whatever it is. Carried In Sound, their new album, is on the trucks headed to the stores as we speak, and it will feature a new single, called “Vanishing Line,” a haunting tune that combines Loreena McKennitt’s ren-fair shtick with Enya’s multi-tracked technique. You know, if you’re a pale-skinned goth who’s never listened to these gals, do yourself a favor and check ‘em out; they’re completely crazy but don’t let that stop you.

• We’ll end the week with Salvage Enterprise, the new album from The Polyphonic Spree, a huge-ass “choral rock band” from Dallas, Texas! On Nov. 17, they released the single, “Shadows On The Hillside,” a really pleasant tune that’s pure ’70s acid-AOR, recalling Nilsson and, quite frankly, The Who’s Tommy album. It’s pretty deep and wide, well worth checking out.

El Diablo

This is a classic tequila drink.

This time, I’ve substituted mezcal for tequila, because I have a really nice bottle of Siete Misterios that is making me very happy. Mezcal is in the same family as tequila and works nicely in this particular cocktail. In place of the traditional crème de cassis, I’ve used sloe gin. All of this is slightly beside the point, because the star player here, the lynchpin that holds everything together and keeps it from dissolving into a puddle of entropy, is the ginger beer.

If you are new to the world of ginger beer, you could be forgiven for supposing that it is more or less the same as ginger ale. “Beer/ale,” you might say to yourself, “Tomato/tomahto.”

This would be a mistake.

Ginger ale is what your mom brought you when you were sick, to help calm your stomach. It’s what you drink when you want a soda that doesn’t make any demands on you. It might be lovely, but it will always be mild and unassuming. That’s sort of its whole point.

A good ginger beer, on the other hand, is anything but mild. If you ever popped open a bottle of ginger beer thinking it was ginger ale and took a big gulp of it to cure your hiccups, you’d definitely get rid of them, and maybe make your heart seize up for a second.

Ginger beer is all about the ginger.

“OK,” I hear you say, “I like ginger snaps and gingerbread; I really don’t think this is a big deal.”

All right, the next time you go to a juice bar, ask the juice barista (or whatever the technical name for a juice jockey is) to give you a straight shot of ginger juice. She will raise her eyebrow but will do her thing behind the counter and hand you a shot glass with a milky, beige liquid in it. Don’t sip it. Throw that baby down your throat.

It will change your point of view so profoundly that you might quit your job and become a matador. (It’s delicious and very spicy.)

Really good Caribbean ginger beers will often add a little cayenne to intensify the experience a little bit. Do yourself a favor and go to a bodega and pick up a couple bottles of the good stuff for this drink. You’ll be glad you did.

1½ ounces good tequila or mezcal – right now I’m really enjoying Siete Misterios

½ ounce sloe gin

½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

3 to 4 ounces excellent ginger beer

Mix the mezcal, lime juice and sloe gin in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake for about 30 seconds, then strain into a Collins glass, over fresh ice.

Top off with excellent, just opened ginger beer. Stir with a chopstick.

The ginger beer really is the star of this show, with the mezcal or tequila playing a strong supporting role. The spiciness of the ginger stands up to the smokiness and bite of the tequila. The lime juice brings the acidity that this combination needs. The sloe gin adds color and the faintest hint of fruitiness.

This is the drink that you would be drinking all the time, if you had made some different life choices at a couple of critical times in your youth.

John Fladd is a veteran Hippo writer, a father, writer and cocktail enthusiast, living in New Hampshire.

Featured photo: El Diablo. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Kyle Burnett

Kyle Burnett’s passion for cooking developed during his time at Lakes Region Technology Center, where he took culinary classes. Growing up, his mother wasn’t much of a cook, which inspired him to learn for himself. Since April of this year he has been working at Sonny’s Tavern in Dover, where is an executive chef for the first time in his career.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A comfy pair of shoes. When you’re on your feet for 10-plus hours a day, they are essential.

What would you have for your last meal?

A homemade Hawaiian pizza.

What is your favorite local eatery?

If I had to pick one it would definitely be Hong Asian Noodle Bar in Dover.

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?

I would definitely enjoy seeing Matthew Lillard eating something I’ve made.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

My personal favorite is the short rib risotto. It definitely hits the spot on some of the colder nights.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

The use of micro greens as garnish for food.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Chicken pot pie, mostly because it’s my wife’s favorite and I enjoy cooking for her.

Crab cakes
From the Kitchen of Kyle Burnett

1 pound of crab meat
½ cup of corn
1 red onion
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup cilantro
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs

Finely chop red onion and cilantro. Mix together mayonnaise, corn, red onion, cilantro, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and egg. Mix until well combined. Gently fold in crab meat. Form into 1½-ounce portions and press into a round coin shape.
Pan sear on medium heat with just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan until browned on one side, then flip over and cook the other side.

Featured photo: Kyle Burnett, executive chef at Sonny’s Tavern. Courtesy photo.

Out with the old, in with the new

815 Cocktails and Provisions in Manchester has reopened

815 Cocktails and Provisions in Manchester reopened its doors this September after closing to undergo renovations, now having officially retired its speakeasy style for a modern approach with a more functional open space and the same classic cocktails.

After a combined 30-plus years of bartending experience, Sarah Maillet and Ryan McCabe originally opened 815 back in 2015.

“We wanted it to be more of a relaxing place where people could come, enjoy and have classic cocktails,” Maillet said. “It has always been in our mind an ode to where bartending began and where it is today.”

The duo spent months researching the market and classic cocktails while trying all kinds of spirits they had never heard of, to create their own cocktail menu that now consists of drinks like Starr Gazer, with Bacardi rum, raspberry liqueur, lychee, lime, demerara and grapefruit bitters, and 815 Old Fashioned with Nebco bourbon, demerara, bitters, orange peel and luxardo cherry. Provisions include flatbreads, such as tomato burrata and pimento pork, salads, tacos, like mushroom carnitas and Brooklyn bodega, a charcuterie and cheese board and more.

“We decided to go back to the old speakeasy theme,” Maillet said. “The entrance was a little bit secretive, there was a phone booth in the hall and there were sliding fake brick walls so it didn’t look like there was an actual restaurant or bar behind it.” Patrons would enter the phone booth, press the button and be asked for that week’s password, which would be posted on 815’s social media pages. After about four years, the password system proved to be a hassle.

“There were always techy kinds of issues,” Maillet said. “I started to feel like, as far as locals go, it wasn’t appealing for them to wander into their local restaurant or bar if they had to jump through hoops to look up a password every week.”

They decided to do away with the password on weekdays, saving it exclusively for weekends. This worked for a while, the speakeasy aspect making 815 a weekend destination theme, but with the arrival of Covid things were complicated further.

“I told Ryan, if there’s ever a time when we can change something and not have to explain it to anybody, now’s the time,” Maillet said. “So at that point we decided to get rid of the password speakeasy aspect of 815, and not just [for] the fact that we were changing and evolving, but it would have been an absolute nightmare … if we had to go into the phone booth … and clean and sanitize it.”

When they first established 815, the pair made do with the layout of the bar and worked with what they had. After occupying the space for several years, they had a better idea of what would ideally work best for them. With the bar needing new subfloors, they decided to take this as an opportunity to renovate, revamp and rebrand 815 entirely, building a bigger kitchen and more comfortable bar, adorning the walls with pictures and murals, removing bulky furniture and doing away altogether with the speakeasy aspect.

Despite the changes, 815 is still the same at its core, continuing to serve cocktails that are both classic and creative.

“I’ve never really let go of that creativity,” Maillet said. “I have an idea of what I like the cocktail menu to look like and keeping it balanced … and I like to think that I have a decent amount of experience under my belt to make a balanced menu and things that people enjoy, that are fun, unique, … approachable, … adventurous, whatever the case may be.”

815 Cocktails and Provisions
Where: 815 Elm St., Manchester
When: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight.

Featured photo: Photos courtesy of 815 Cocktails & Provisions.

The Weekly Dish 23/11/16

News from the local food scene

Bottle signing with Robert Irvine: Celebrity chef Robert Irvine will be at the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Bedford (9 Leavy Drive) on Friday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. for a bottle signing.Featured products include Irvine’s Precision Vodka and Irvine’s American Dry Gin. Visit eventbrite to reserve your spot.

Tour of French wines: Tour the flavors of France and learn about the history and culture of French wine making with wine expert Elizabeth Schneider and Serge from Serge Dore Selections on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Nashua (Willow Spring Plaza, 294 Daniel Webster Hwy.). Tickets are $12 and can be purchased via eventbrite.

Italian feast: The Hills Restaurant at Hampshire Hills Athletic Club (50 Emerson Road, Milford) is hosting an Italian feast on Wednesday, Nov. 22, serving your choice of Caesar salad or Italian wedding soup, with entrees being eggplant Parmesan or chicken Parmesan over linguine, meatballs and Italian sausage with linguine, and fettuccine alfredo. For dessert, choose tiramisu or limoncello cake. The cost is $30 for adults and $15 for kids under 12. Visit

Holiday tree lighting and supper: Enjoy dinner, a tree lighting and a cash bar at The Barn at Pickering House (116 S. Main St., Wolfeboro) for their 6th annual holiday tree lighting innkeepers supper, featuring chef Krisztina Perron of the Wooden Spoon Catering Co., on Saturday, Nov. 25. Doors and the cash bar open at 5:30 p.m. with the tree lighting taking place at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased via eventbrite.

Holiday chocolate: Tour the factory, taste the chocolate and decorate chocolate cabins under the guidance of experienced chocolatiers during the two-hour chocolate holiday cabin class at Van Otis Chocolates (341 Elm St., Manchester) on Saturday, Nov. 25. Class times are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $100 each and can be bought at

Hogwarts Yule Ball: Enjoy dinner and dancing at the Hogwarts Yule Ball at LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The four-course meal includes Cornish pasty paired with LaBelle Americus wine, Great Hall pumpkin bisque with LaBelle riesling wine, Yule Ball grilled pork chop with LaBelle Red Alchemy wine, and sticky toffee pudding paired with a Butterbeer cocktail. General admission tickets are $114.48 and you must be 21 years or older to attend. Get your tickets before they sell out on

Brunch and crafts: Paint your own New Hampshire-themed ornament with Sarah from S. Fenerty Art at Northwoods Brewing Co. (1334 First New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood) on Sunday, Dec. 3. While your ornament dries, enjoy a breakfast buffet made in house, including quiche, scones, cinnamon rolls, crullers, sausage, bacon and more. Tickets start at $65 and can be purchased on

Treasure Hunt 23/11/16

Dear Donna,

I have over a dozen rolls of this used/old paper. Toss or keep? Do you know if anyone would have a use for it?


Dear David,

My logic always is there is someone who might have a use for it.

Your wallpaper is from a really good company. It’s been around since the 1800s. I think judging by the pattern it looks to be from around the 1960s or 1970s.

The nice part is you have so many rolls that I’m thinking it could be useful if someone is looking to do a complete room.

Old wallpaper has a collectible market. Age, pattern and condition all factor into the pricing. I have seen many early fragments or partial rolls bring really good money.

Because you have a good amount, if it’s in good condition I would say the value is in the range of $200+. Now you just have to find a collector or a renovator who could use it. Possibly an antique shop could help with that.

David, thanks for sharing.

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