Beer Garden in Boston

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by mcintire78, Jul 30, 2014.

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  1. mcintire78

    mcintire78 Zealot (563) Dec 16, 2006 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I know this comes up all the time, but on nice days in the summer when people are scrambling to get seating on sidewalks in front of bars and restaurants with exhaust getting blown in their face it really kills me.

    What are the largest obstacles to opening a proper, Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden-type operation in Boston ( Is there any scenario in which it could happen? Maybe we could trade in the next ten pseudo-Irish pubs that want to open (offering local, organic fare!) for someone to give it a go? I know Redbones was talking about something like this in Malden but I heard it got nixed.

    I've even got a location (you can see it when you're running along the river toward Watertown)--corner of Western Ave and the Leo Birmingham Parkway. There are a bunch of abandoned buildings that would be perfect.

    Bars and restaurants open up (and close) in this town like nothing. So what's the hold up?
  2. emannths

    emannths Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2007 Massachusetts

    That's kinda the idea behind the "taproom" opening in Assembly Square:

    I think the biggest obstacle is the cost of running a nice-weather-only place in Boston. It's hard to find cheap real estate close to public transit, and it's hard and expensive to get a license. The American Fresh place gets around this with a special seasonal license that falls outside of Somerville's quota.

    The other issue is that most towns shun places that focus on alcohol sales and won't even grant a license without a commitment to 50% food sales. Cambridge would laugh you right out the door if you came proposing a place whose main goal was to serve liters of beer with a few sausages or pretzels.
  3. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    I think it's the weather. You'd have to make it big enough inside that it is still viable year round. That means the outside can't be huge. Still, something would be nice.
  4. WeymouthMike

    WeymouthMike Devotee (460) Jun 22, 2004 Massachusetts

    I agree with this. Also, that plot of land is 1.5 million, would leave no parking if you wanted to open an outdoor operation, and would be a destination spot as there would be little foot traffic.
  5. Jbrews

    Jbrews Disciple (351) Aug 6, 2013 New Hampshire

    Cambridge Brewing Company
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  6. seanwhite

    seanwhite Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2008 Massachusetts

    NYC has a number of beer gardens, wouldn't the weather excuse hold true there too?
  7. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,943) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Never mind something outside, I'd love a German beer hall period. Even a Hofbrau house would be excellent.

    I realize there's Jacob Wirth's, but that's not even close to what I'm referring to. Bronwyn in Union Square has German food, liters of Weihenstephan Original, and an extensive German beer list. But the size and the price make it a hard sell for me. And their "outdoor garden" is the size of a closet, as is the indoor bar.

    Harpoon has a gorgeous beer hall and is exactly what I'm referring to, except it's not geared towards German beer obviously. But the decor is perfect.
  8. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    That intersection is a bitch to navigate. With Brighton Landing opening up in the next few years that spot might be great, but as is, it's kind of in between a lot of areas and not near much residential. Unless I'm missing something.

    That said, love the idea. :slight_smile:
  9. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    And there's a beer garden in Albany, NY. So it can work anywhere.
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  10. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Defender (669) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    Sadly, this nanny state doesn't let us have any fun things, especially when it comes to enjoying alcohol.

    Must be too unseemly for those who know better than us :rolling_eyes: to not want to see people outside drinking large beers. Whatever would children think? And what if those people get in cars and drive afterward??? :grimacing:

    But I guess overpriced hipster interpretations of German beer gardens (Bronwyn) are OK, as long as they're priced prohibitively enough to keep the riff-raff out.

    Count me in as one who wants to see a real beer garden here too. But not holding my breath for it happening any time soon.
  11. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (472) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    There is one (or was a couple years ago) in Harvard Square. YEah, I know that's Cambridge, not Boston, but still.
    I think a lot of the problem is A) weather - you can really only expect something outside for less than half the year and B) cost of real estate, and lack of any sort of open space to have something like that at any kind of reasonable rent.
  12. jbertsch

    jbertsch Poo-Bah (1,594) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    You mean the Brighton Beer Garden down the street isn't exactly what you want in a beer garden? :rolling_eyes:

    I've been saying to my wife and friends for a few years now if I was to start my own business, it'd be a proper German restaurant (with a good attention to beer) somewhere within the 95 belt. Being born in Germany and my family from there, I figure it's my duty. Hell I just really want to. Lord knows Wirth's and Bronwyn aren't delivering. But I can't deny I have no experience in the restaurant industry. My father grew up in it and he says "Stay Away!!". But the more he says that, the more I want to do it. Maybe...
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  13. jefffalcone

    jefffalcone Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 Massachusetts

  14. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (384) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    Another disappointment a bit down the hill: That's not actually an Irish village.
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  15. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (278) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

  16. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,943) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    They could easily plunk a Hofbrau house in Boston prop. I'd take it over Bronwyn or Jacob Wirth's.
  17. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (960) Mar 17, 2009 Massachusetts

    Are you talking about the beer garden at Charlie's?
  18. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (47) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    I've got a great location for one. The whole fucking government center plaza!
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  19. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,943) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Haha, yes.
  20. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (384) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I'm wondering whether the effort to open an expansive biergarten space around here is reliant upon a successful pre-existing business to carry the note. I imagine it could be prohibitively expensive to get something like that up and running as a start-up venture, at least within the city.
  21. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (47) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    The strict laws around serving beer here are probably the most stifling aspect.

    That could change under Walsh. I was worried about a sober guy taking charge, but he's already done more for the Boston nightlife scene than Menino ever did as far as I can tell (late night T, these new licenses, etc)
  22. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (278) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    I can think of an pre-existing business that could open up a beer garden: Boston Beer Company. The fact that there isn't a Sam Adams bar in Boston makes no sense to me.
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  23. Auror

    Auror Defender (623) Jan 1, 2010 Massachusetts

    Yeah, I mean they have that relationship with Doyle's but... they have to be looking at that Harpoon Beer Hall quite jealously.
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