New Brookline Beer Bar - Hops n' Scotch?

Discussion in 'New England' started by Prufrock, Mar 25, 2012.

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  1. Prufrock

    Prufrock Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2005 Massachusetts

    Just heard about a new beer / whiskey / comfort food restaurant taking over the old Finale spot in Coolidge Corner, to be opened by the owners of the liquor store next door.

    Anyone heard anything about this? The liquor store in question is not a great spot for beer, so I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical...though of course I'll give them a fair shake once they've opened. It would be great to have another good beer place in Brookline, especially in a prime, T-adjacent location.
  2. seanwhite

    seanwhite Devotee (400) Jan 31, 2008 Massachusetts
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    I thought the liquor store has a decent craft beer selection, especially for the size of the place.
  3. jomobono

    jomobono Disciple (350) Mar 12, 2012 Massachusetts
    Subscriber Beer Trader

  4. CoreyTae

    CoreyTae Initiate (0) Mar 25, 2012

    I actually have been to the liquor store quite regularly and impressed with their craft beer selection. Its not Provisions in Washington sq but then again they are no longer around. I spoke to one of he owners about the restaurant and he was very friendly and approachable. 30 craft beers on tap, various west coast, east coast and local brews. I'll support the considering CC doesn't have much else
  5. maxk

    maxk Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2008 Massachusetts

    I go to the Anna's Taqueria right near there all the time, I'll have to check it out when I go next.
  6. jomobono

    jomobono Disciple (350) Mar 12, 2012 Massachusetts
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    So a one stop shop for going out: have some craft beer and food downstairs, then mozy on upstairs for some scotch or bourbon.
  7. pratyk

    pratyk Initiate (0) Jun 29, 2010 Massachusetts

    I'm looking forward to this spot... A burrito at Boca Grande next door and some brews at this new place.. I might be outraging a few people but Anna's is so meh..
  8. Blanco

    Blanco Devotee (458) Oct 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You sure you don't mean Boca Grande? That's the name of the taqueria near the Finale spot.

    edit: i guess you could mean Anna's but it's a bit further away.
  9. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (499) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    Yeah, I totally agree. When I lived in the neighborhood, I was always pleased with Coolidge Corner Wine & Spirits. The owner (I believe) was always friendly and knowledgeable about the beer, and interested in feedback. For a small store catering to the neighborhood, I thought the beer selection was great. There are more liquor stores near me in Central now, but I'd trade all of them for that place. Anyway, this sounds cool--exactly the sort of thing (a good bar) that that neighborhood was lacking when I lived there.
  10. PaulB

    PaulB Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2002 Massachusetts

    Good for the less than beery CC neighborhood and I'm up for a visit but I honestly think the restaurant name is stupid.

    IMO both Anna's and, to a lesser extent Boca, are weak mission style burritos with zero flavor. Boloco is the authentic mex in Boston ;-)
  11. kinopio

    kinopio Disciple (329) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Coolidge Wine and Spirits is a solid place. Its not a destination but I'm glad to have it down the street from me.

    This bar is gonna fill a big void. Coolidge Corner theater, with their 3 tap lines, is probably the best thing in Coolidge Corner for craft beer right now which is pretty sad. Im not sure how such a busy part of town can have zero good bars.
  12. maxk

    maxk Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2008 Massachusetts

    I have been to Boca Grande, but I park a couple blocks down and walk to the Anna's.
  13. jomobono

    jomobono Disciple (350) Mar 12, 2012 Massachusetts
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    Tentative opening date is June 15th.
  14. RedMedicine

    RedMedicine Initiate (126) Jun 3, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Coolidge Corner has been in desperate need for craft beer for a long time now. Smart move.
  15. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,096) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    Holy cow, all of you are say the CC area needs a beer bar... do you live at CC and never leave your home?? Publick House is 1 mile down the street. You could walk there. I would kill to have PH anywhere in my town, let alone that close.
  16. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    Publick House is in Washington Sq. not CC.
  17. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Right, but that's a 10-15 minute walk, or a 5 minute ride on the green line or drive. To call an area that close to the Publick House lacking in beer is the overstatement of the year. There are places in downtown Boston where you can't even walk to a good beer bar in 10-15 minutes.
  18. Blanco

    Blanco Devotee (458) Oct 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    it's still only a mile away, and what...5 T stops away?
  19. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    That doesn't change the fact that Publick House isn't in CC. Had someone said Brookline was lacking, you might be right, but they said CC.
  20. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (499) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    When I lived in Coolidge Corner, I walked to the Publick House all the time, and I really miss having it so close--it's easily still one of my favorite bars anywhere, and being able to sit at the bar on a Monday night with no crowds spoiled me. Still, while it may be fairly close, it is not in the same neighborhood. The proximity to the Publick House is great, but I think every neighborhood should have a good local bar--as it stands, Coolidge Corner does not.
  21. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,096) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    We'd all love for every neighborhood to have a great beer bar. But most neighborhoods and street corners don't and won't. And most areas don't have anything like PH in even a nearby town. So to say that CC, which has PH 1 mile away, is "desperate" for a beer bar, sounds funny to me. It's just my suburban mindset at play here because my definition of "local" probably doesn't match everyone else's. I'm more than happy to drive the 20 minutes to get to PH, and this thread makes me picture people living in CC complaining that PH is too far away.

    But ultimately I'm just as excited as everyone else to hear of this new place opening up and look forward to checking it out!
  22. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    80% of downtown Boston doesn't even have a bar in reasonable walking distance with more than a small handful of local taps... and nothing even on the level of Publick House in the entire city...

    Coolidge Corner is in the lap of beer luxury to have the Publick House a 15 minute walk in one direction and Sunset a 20 minute walk in the other. (Not to mention American Craft / Roadhouse for the last few years, and Deep Ellum not much further away)

    You have to keep it in perspective. It would be great if Boston were like Philly and had an awesome craft bar on every block, but we're a long ways away from that... Tons of neighborhoods need a place before CC...
  23. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (499) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    Yeah, that's all true, but so what?

    Downtown Boston doesn't have anything like those bars, but the rent is much higher and it's far less of a residential area. I agree that it would be wonderful if there were any good beer bars downtown, and more places in the South End/Back Bay (especially now that the Otherside is gone), but I don't see how thinking that Coolidge Corner needs a neighborhood bar means that downtown can't.

    And I'm not saying that Coolidge Corner doesn't have a good bar--it basically has no bars, except for the Clubhouse. I'd love it if every neighborhood had the access to the Publick House that Coolidge Corner has, but what I'd love even more is if every neighborhood had a good, neighborhood bar with a solid beer list.

    We may be a long way from that, but someone in Coolidge Corner is opening a bar there and that's an improvement, so I don't really see the point in pointing out that other neighborhoods may need such a place more.
    dprouty likes this.
  24. kinopio

    kinopio Disciple (329) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Having Publick House fairly close to Coolidge Corner is nice, but there are times due to weather or laziness that you want a bar to be really close to you. Coolidge Corner has NOTHING. I've lived a few blocks away for 2 years and the only places I've drank a beer in CC were the movie theater and a certain Asian restaurant that is super chill with BYOB. That is pretty sad.

    I'm not complaining. Coolidge has numerous excellent beer bars close by. I'm just saying that CC is a heavily trafficked area that has a big void when it comes to bars.
    dprouty and FrankLloydMike like this.
  25. Truh

    Truh Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2002 New Hampshire

    Bring back the Tam!
    braineater likes this.
  26. RedMedicine

    RedMedicine Initiate (126) Jun 3, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    So far it has been really hard for anyone to accept this point. You make it very well and reasonably.

    Just because Public House is a 12 minute walk away, does not mean anyone who wants a beer bar in CC is spoiled, as is being implied.
  27. RedMedicine

    RedMedicine Initiate (126) Jun 3, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Who actually lives in downtown Boston anyway? We are talking about having beer bars in popular neighborhoods to live in, in Boston. If you an afford to live downtown or in Back Bay and choose to do so, you can have your own little beer bar in your house.
  28. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Maybe the bigger point about having Publick House so close isn't the idea of having a craft bar in every neighborhood- but the idea of can a craft bar succeed in CC with Publick House so close? Won't most people just, as noted, walk up the street to PH? Or take the T one more stop?

    Can that area support another craft-focused bar, and will that bar be able to get a foothold in?

    Out by me, a craft/high end liquor store opened up a while back on route 9 in westboro... about 2 miles up the road from Julios. Looks perpetually deserted, and looks to be going out of business soon. While I feel for them, is it really the best business plan to ignore competition?
  29. Jnorton00

    Jnorton00 Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    The one on the plaza next to the old BJs?
  30. jomobono

    jomobono Disciple (350) Mar 12, 2012 Massachusetts
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    True, but craft beer isn't their main focus hence the name, which IMO, is not good. A place where you can get craft beer, comfort food and then finish it off with a nice bourbon might do well in that area. What is this place you speak of off Rt 9? No wonder they are not doing great, I never even heard of them.
  31. Jnorton00

    Jnorton00 Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    Anyone putting a liquor store within a few miles of Julios is pretty stupid imo since they will most certainly fail and go out of business.
    jomobono likes this.
  32. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Correct. I checked it out recently, and really felt bad... I was basically just killing time, and had already met my beer budget for that week. Guy behind the counter seemed nice, asked if there was anything he could help with/get for me.
    But yeah, as noted... not the best plan, opening there.

    And that's what i'm getting at with this new bar in CC. Jomobono is certainly right- it sounds like a good place, and given population density, a place that may well succeed and do great.

    But just in this thread alone, look how many people noted the proximity of one of the best beer bars in MA. That's tough competition!
  33. Jnorton00

    Jnorton00 Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    I went in a few months ago and they really didn't have much for craft beer and what they did wasn't anything that great or special. The place in that outdoor mall in westboro has a pretty decent selection of beer too but again I have no idea why these people are trying to compete with Julios and now Wegmans to a lesser extent.
  34. kinopio

    kinopio Disciple (329) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Deep Ellum is closer to Sunset than this bar is to PH and Deep Ellum has been doing so well that they opened another bar next door. CBC, Lord Hobo, and Meadhall all successfully coexist in the same area.

    This bar doesn't even have to be as good as those to do well. Even if its just pretty good it should survive because there is literally nothing else in that neighborhood.
    FrankLloydMike and Auror like this.
  35. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Ah, indeed- I have been to that other place as well.

    When you've got such an established institution- wether it be Julios in the Westboro/western suburbs area, or Publick House in the Brookline/C-line area... opening a similar establishment that will inherently compete with one of those institutions can be a daunting task.

    Which I think is a very key point than in terms of wether Hops n' Scotch can succeed.
  36. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    A ton of people live in downtown Boston. More than Coolidge Corner, that's for certain. North End, Leather District, Bay Village, Back Bay, South End... I don't understand this myth about people not living in Boston. The only area people don't really live in Boston is in the Financial District. Brookline has a population of 50,000. Boston is over 600,000.

    Plus, hotels. You have tons of travelers staying in downtown Boston every night.

    Plus, commuters. Mon-Fri sees tons of people hanging out in bars after work.

    Plus, tourists. Boston is not exactly a ghost town on weekends, especially at night.

    Basically, there are hundreds and hundreds of bars/restaurants scattered all around Boston that seem to do quite well for themselves. Mid-level beer places like Jacob Wirth or Bukowski's have been kicking for years. To suggest a single high-end craft bar wouldn't do well has always struck me as odd.
  37. RedMedicine

    RedMedicine Initiate (126) Jun 3, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    1. Yes it would do fine, I think mainly b/c of tourists, commuters etc. When I think downtown, I think Govt Center/Financial District/Theater area. I just don't think you would find many folks considering a beer bar in "downtown" Boston their local go-to, walk-to bar. And that 600k you are talking about includes every Boston neighborhood, Dorchester, Allston/Brighton, Roxbury, West Roxbury, South End etc. All neighborhoods btw that are in need of more craft beer than downtown is, IMO.

    2. I don't see why Coolidge Corner getting a craft beer bar means these other places don't need or deserve them. Boston needs more craft beer period. I just happen to think downtown needs it least. How is that Stoddard's place btw?
  38. Auror

    Auror Defender (642) Jan 1, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    What would do really well downtown is a Sunset/Mead Hall/Yard House type location, imo. Lots of taps and an energentic atmosphere. I guess Kenmore is close enough with the new Yard House... the edge of downtown really.

    Hops n' Scotch seems to fit Brookline's vibe a little better. Plus now I can do a Regal Beagle/Hops n' Scotch date night hopefully.
  39. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I think the conversation has diverged quite a bit at this point. This all kind of stemmed from people in Coolidge Corner saying they badly needed a beer bar, when in fact two of the best beer bars in the country are in short walking distance away. Meanwhile, the entirety of Boston doesn't even have a single one of the 5 best bars in the T-accessible area. Probably even 10 best... Of course I wish every neighborhood in the area opened up another beer bar, as more beer bars anywhere is a good thing, I'm just pointing out that people in Coolidge Corner are sitting in a very sweet spot compared to the people hanging out in an entire major city.

    Stoddard's is 'ok'. You will find a lot of local taps, a couple of occasional bigger regional brand flagships, and a super popular Belgian tap or two (like Duvel or Delirium). Never any rarities though, and they keep the list pretty mainstream. A few casks, but they use a breather or some gas or something that makes it a quasi-cask... But it has a few major issues unrelated to the beer - for one it is very pricy (beer and food), for two it doesn't cater to a beer geek crowd as the place tends to get crowded with "suits", and they focus a lot on mixed drinks. It's also very hard to get a seat unless you're eating. Small/crowded bar... It's just not a comfortable "relax at a table with a nice strong beer" kind of environment like you want from a beer bar.

    Scholar's is probably the best beer place in the area these days. But again, it's just a lot of local taps and flagships. I'm not sure there's a single bar with a Boston zip code that would ever serve anything barrel-aged... (aside from an occasional bottle at Bukowski's)
  40. charliedvrs

    charliedvrs Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2009 Massachusetts

    Has anyone here actually ever walked from Coolidge Corner to the Publick House? That's a big hill to haul a beer belly up. At least you get to roll back down later.

    This place is going to do well - at least in terms of location. It's a huge foot traffic area packed with 20 something year olds with virtually no bar scene even outside of the craft beer world. It's sandwiched right between BU, BC and all the Fenway area schools. Not to mention the Publick House is constantly packed with people during peak hours. There are plenty of drinkers to go around in that area.
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