A Trip to the Baldwin Bar / Baldwin & Sons Trading Co.

If you pay attention to such things, you know that the Baldwin Bar in Woburn, Massachusetts is a semifinalist for a 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program.

You might recognize owner Ran Duan as the award-winning bartender who graced the cover of GQ as well as one of the figures at the center of a highly publicized debate over $4 of Chinese takeout. The controversy involved food from the Sichuan Garden II restaurant, owned by Duan’s parents.

It can be a little confusing at first to navigate the different establishments sharing the historic Baldwin House building. Sichuan Garden II is situated downstairs along with the Baldwin Bar, and the elegant Baldwin and Sons Trading Co. is upstairs in a separate room. This results in the somewhat incongruous combination of regular families out for some Chinese dinner, cocktail enthusiasts looking for the tiki kitsch of the downstairs bar, and snappily dressed enthusiasts heading upstairs for a true experience. Continue reading →