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B-Side to be sold? Say it ain't so

I heard that the B-Side Lounge is being sold and that the new owners will change the concept, more fancy beer bar than cocktail lounge. Can anyone confirm this? That would be tragic news in my book. We owe those guys so much for what they did to put serious cocktails back on the map in this town.

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  1. It's a done deal, although I don't know what, if any, changes the new owners are planning. I do know they own a bar in Western Mass.

    1. Oh no! The Windsorettes will roll... let's all keep watch for a timeline, so folks can pay homage beforehand.

      ObFood: I had my first Sloe Gin Fizz there. It was so easy on the gullet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: enhF94

        A bartender at another restaurant told me they'd be closing at the end of August. He also said a lot of good people would be out of work, so I guess the new ownership either doesn't want to keep them around, or the concept is different enough that they wouldn't be comfortable staying.

        I think there was a thread about this earlier, where we speculated that due to the high prices, business wasn't very good. The last time I was there on a Friday night, it was half empty.

        I will truly miss this place. I loved their mac and cheese, their Sidecar was the first great cocktail I'd ever had, it remains my favorite drink, and it got me into mixing and experimenting with cocktails at home.

        I was just reading the thread about the Marliave, and it sounds like the one area where they're floundering is with the cocktails. I sense a great mutual opportunity for the bartenders at B-Side and the owners of Marliave.

      2. Please, please, please, don't let this turn into another beer bar. There are more than enough places to get a good beer around here and what sets the B-Side apart is its great cocktail selection. My nightmare is that they'll turn it into another "Tavern on the Square" style knockoff with a generic bar menu of crappy burgers and pizza. B-Side is pretty unique and I'd hate to lose that.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Sgt Snackers

          I was talking to one of the staff there and they were saying it's changing hands too, but didn't know what will happen to place.

          I just hope the staff and the ambiance doesn't change (too much), and we don't end up with some generic chain instead (imagine a CVS there!). However, the last few times I eat brunch there (last year) I didn't think it was up to the B-Side's usual standards and was so disappointed that I haven't eaten there since. But, the drinks are still great, and the lads at the bar are the coolest barmen about.

          Long Live the B-Side.

          1. re: Sgt Snackers

            The story I heard had "the beer bar" sounding a lot more like the Publick House type of place (actually, it sounded like The Ginger Man in NYC to me) than "Tavern on the Square".

            1. re: jgg13

              This will probably be removed by the chow team because it's speculative.

              I noticed in SmokeDawg's reply that the owners have a place in Western Mass. I wonder if it could be the Moan and Dove/Dirty Truth owners. That would be incredible - both of those are premier beer bars - far better than Publick House, in my opinion.

              1. re: DoubleMan

                According to BoDubya's response below that's not speculation :)

          2. There are a few good places to get a good beer around, and there are a few good places to get good cocktails. I'll be sad to see it go, but i can't say it'll be a good or bad thing overall. MC Slim is right, we owe them for putting cocktails back on the map, and this mission has been well accomplished. Thanks, B-side. I have to assume that it's being sold because the folks in charge want to move on, and i wish them well in future endeavors.

            1. That is way sad, I really love the B-Side, though I must admit that of late I have not eaten there that often because at least on the food front I felt the prices were a bit high for what you got.

              1. Aw, I'm sad! It was my regular for the first three or four years it was open and I have a lot of affection for it, even though it's a shadow of what it used to be. There was the period where chefs changed really fast, and they always had "closing time get out" music (loud punk) even at 7pm, and I stopped going so much. But I had so many good times there. sniff

                We went last weekend for old times sake, and it was almost empty on a Sunday night! You used to not be able to find a spot at the bar most nights. The food was still good, though not super, but the drinks of course were fantastic. It just seemed, well, neglected.

                1. BTW there was a thread a few months back talking about this which also described the new ownership group's current spot(s?) but I can't find it now. IIRC they said that they had unsuccessfully tried to purchase the Other Side Cafe and turned their attention to the B-Side. Actually, IIRC the OP intentionally didn't mention the B-Side but intimated that was the spot (but then I had further confirmation from a friend of mine who is in the know).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jgg13

                    Yeah, I tried to say that it was the B-side that was mentioned in this article by local beer writer Andy Crouch, but kept getting my posts nuked by the moderators. http://www.beerscribe.com/2008/06/11/...

                  2. the owner of the dirty truth (northampton) and the moan and dove (amherst) bought it. in my opinion - both these places are worth going out of your way for. i'm sure it will be referred to as a beer bar, but i think they'll put a new twist on things. think more deep ellum than publick house. dan should be a welcome addition to the boston drinking and dining scene.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: BoDubya

                      Oh, that's good news! Though the Moan and Dove will never (in my mind, not in reality) compare to its predecessor the Ale House, they certainly fit well with their community.

                      1. re: enhF94

                        Ahh, Gene O'Neil and the Old Amhest Ale House. They opened when I was at Hampshire. El Greco's was still there, too. If you ever happened to see a giant pink polka dot wooden pig on the bar labeled the Old Amherst Ale Pig, it was mine. Man I'm old.

                      2. re: BoDubya

                        Wow, this is almost a dream come true. I really hope they implement the free roasted peanuts barrel at the door like at Moan and Dove. For this to happen, I would not be sad to see B-Side go, I spent many many hours during my UMass Amherst days at Moan and Dove. It was a sweet sweet life.

                        1. re: BoDubya

                          Yeah - all right! My fears have been abated in that case. I'm going to miss the B-Side in its current incarnation but it sounds like they're not going to replace it with another sports bar.

                        2. MC Slim JB -- while I'll mourn the passing of the B-Side with you: the bartenders, the drinks, the gouda, and all the many many memories....I am soooo excited for the Dirty Truth/Moan and Dove peeps to come to town...this is truly a beer goddess's dream come true...we were just crying into our beer at 'Bones how there wasn't a "Publick House-type" place in Cambridge. Huzzah!

                          Can't wait, but we should have a Chowhound meet up for one last fine cocktail at B-Side...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MaineRed

                            what a great idea!

                          2. I welcome my Moan and Dove overlords, here's hoping they leave out the eggs.

                            1. :'(

                              Paul Harrington introduced me to the Sidecar, and that kicked off my interest in classic and unique cocktails. I found a few places around Boston that got *some* things right, but I somehow knew, they didn't quite get it. The B-Side Lounge was the first place I came across in Boston that "got it": no fishbowl size glasses of colored vodka, but civilized well-thought-out drinks.

                              Not that I haven't had a few uncivilized nights at the B-Side. ;-)

                              The bar food has always been great, and I've even had a few excellent worth-more-than-what-I-paid dinners there. (And, yes, a few so-so entrees.)

                              I've met many new friends at the B-Side. I also met my fiancée there. She likes good cocktails, too. Go figure.

                              If the information about the new owners is correct, that at least is promising. Welcome Western Mass Overlords! Love live the B-Side!

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: Alcachofa

                                I knew you'd be especially sad alcachofa. But to everything turn turn there is a season, and I think the B-side is past theirs. At one point they were the place for some killer PEI mussels, a great fondue, and of course greyhounds made with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

                                For those who are familiar with the Moan and Dove, will the bike messenger / full-body tattoo / newsboy cap set be happy there?

                                1. re: yumyum

                                  Don't know about the bike messenger crowd, but expect a hearty handful of beer snobbery and attitude from the owner and the staff. At least that's been my experience at MD and DT. Just what we need, another same old same old beer bar.

                                  1. re: Chrispy75

                                    Hrm, and here I was hoping for more of the "Bukowskis" and less of the "Publick House" in terms of staff attitudes.

                                    1. re: jgg13

                                      My experience at the Moan and Dove and Dirty Truth have tended more toward Bukowski's (especially later in the night) than Publick House. I think the vibe will be closest to that of Deep Ellum - people who love beer but don't treat it so preciously.

                                      1. re: DoubleMan

                                        That's not bad. I was unimpressed w/ Deep Ellum's food & the space/location is not the greatest for me & mine, but a similar vibe in terms of the adult beverages in that space would be cool.

                                        1. re: jgg13

                                          re: Deep Ellum, their prices seem to be creeping up...

                                          Most of the beers, though phenomenally selected and served are closer to $8, and that appropriate glassware isn't always the standard 16 oz. Menu changes, lunch/brunch items are also up...

                                          It's driving up the tab at a time when, in my humble opinion, you might want to try and hold onto your customers by towing the line if at all possible...

                                          Then again, that new deck, albeit beautiful, can really only hold revenue generating patrons ~ 4 months out of 12....

                                          1. re: okra

                                            I hate to braek the news but that "standard" 16 oz beer mug is a thing of the past, most bars use 12oz mugs. Next time you get a draft and finish it order a 12oz bottle and fill your 16oz mug with it, the results will surprise ya.

                                    2. re: Chrispy75

                                      I guess Bukowski's will get em with the ironic PBRs.

                                      Down with beer snobbery! That's one of the reasons I always liked the bar below Redbones ... I don't know much from beer but they always tried to make me happy. I hope your experience is the exception not the norm.

                                      1. re: Chrispy75

                                        Perhaps M&D has changed since my time in Amherst (before DT opened) but I never found them to be snobs about beer especially since I consider myself to be a beer elitist in training. They always had cans of lawnmower beer available like Schlitz, PBR and Bud I think and I would always see a few people drinking them. The environment was completely unlike Publick House which I was also frequenting on my weekends away from Amherst. Bartenders at M&D were always really nice and laid back.

                                        1. re: avial

                                          "Lawnmower beer." Love it. Hank Hill comes to mind.

                                          Quite honestly, I'll be happy to see a beer bar do really well there, bonus points if they have good food.

                                      2. re: yumyum

                                        I think the mussels were the first thing I ever had there!

                                        It is true that the last REALLY good full dinner I had there was almost two years ago. A braised pork, I think. Followed by pecan pie and a great dessert wine Rob recommended.

                                        I need to get back at least once more for the bleu cheese fries.

                                        1. re: Alcachofa

                                          I need to get back before the switch-aroo too. Does anyone know the timeline?

                                          1. re: yumyum

                                            One Yelper who claims to be friends with the owner reported that the end will come in one to three months.

                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              I was talking to a bartender at another place (which has a staff that's pretty incestous between the two establishments) and he said that it's all a big mess right now and "could take a while".

                                        2. re: yumyum

                                          In terms of crowd, M&D is the nearest bar to Hampshire College, so full-body tattoos may be considered unadventurously conservative. ;) But seriously, you should be fine - though they seemed to make effort to fit with the neighborhood out there (Noho and South Amherst are different enough), so the mountain may come to Mohammed.

                                          1. re: yumyum

                                            I've always had great service and intelligent conversation about beer at Moan and Dove. I've been to Dirty Truth only once a couple of years ago after a Wilco show. We LOVED the place. The beers we had were clean-tasting, bartender was friendly and just chatty enough, and the late night fries really hit the spot. This (former) bike messenger is looking forward to the "freshening up."

                                        3. Did B-Side close yet? The message is still active, but it's way past the end of August. Anyone got a firm date?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: enhF94

                                            Still open:
                                            http://drinkboston.com/2008/09/16/b-s...

                                          2. I was there last night - they're certainly still open and quite mum on the subject of closing. Cocktails were as lovely as ever - a couple B-Sidecars as well as a number of selections from the whiskey concoctions and we were very happy campers.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: gini

                                              I was there last night too and it was as fantastic as ever. A couple of B-sidecars and the smoked gouda and I was happy as a clam.

                                              1. re: gini

                                                I was there last weekend, and, happy to report, the B-Side was as good, IF NOT BETTER than ever...perhaps my judgement was a tad tainted by the five rye (sour, Manhattan, Frisco, Ward 8 & Saratoga) cocktails imbibed over the course of four hours or so...and no, I wasn't driving...

                                              2. It's official: the B-Side closed for good last night. I'm sorry I missed the swan song, glad I managed to visit a couple of times in the last few weeks. Here’s the award I gave the B-Side in stuff@night’s recent annual Dining Awards issue:

                                                "Biggest Loss: the Sale of the B-Side Lounge

                                                The 1998 opening of the B-Side lounge spearheaded the great revival of Golden Age cocktails that Boston is currently enjoying. Now-mourning cocktail connoisseurs may console themselves with two thoughts: 1) Bartenders are still plying their B-Side-honed skills at similarly artisanal cocktail bars like Eastern Standard and Green Street. 2) Incoming owner Daniel Lanigan, proprietor of Western Massachusetts beer-geek bars the Moan and Dove (Amherst) and the Dirty Truth (Northampton), vows to maintain a classic cocktail list even as he adds 40 new craft-brew taps. R.I.P., B."

                                                I'd ask Hounds to keep an eye out for the B-Side's former bartenders: I'd love to know where they land. Those are the kind of skilled folks I like to follow around.

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  I hope the new owners saw my threat that heads will roll if that beveled glass disappears.

                                                  Are the old owners just getting out of the business for good?

                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                    As I understand it, the owner sold for personal reasons, not because the place wasn't doing that well, though clearly its It Place days were behind it. It would be good to see him get a fresh start in another venue.

                                                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    Rob - Chez Henri on Mondays
                                                    Cousin Dave - Deep Ellum

                                                    1. re: ponyboy

                                                      The Marliave should hire Rob as its bar manager. Dave has been working at Deep Ellum for a while now.

                                                      I heard the news last night, too late for me to head over. If I had heard just a hour or two earlier that last night was going to be it , I would have headed there. :'(

                                                      1. re: Alcachofa

                                                        .....If you pay a visit to Marliave, in the past couple months an aforementioned Jacky (from the B-Side as well) is there day in and day out as the bar manager. Her cocktails are great- and as far as the bar goes I like what she does.

                                                        ...She took with her a couple B-Side bartenders that you'd all be familiar with when they opened too.

                                                        1. re: vanessa m

                                                          If it's the woman I'm thinking of, I think she also worked at Grotto before moving over to Marliave.

                                                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Oh, no! I've got a date there this week! Any suggestions for a replacement?

                                                      Best case scenario, in order of priorities:
                                                      1)Cambridge/Somerville (maybe Arlington),
                                                      2)not as crowded and noisy as River Gods.
                                                      3)cocktails or wine - not as beery as Cambridge Common
                                                      4)not as obviously pricey as, say, Upstairs on the Square or Gargoyles.

                                                      Help?!

                                                      1. re: enhF94

                                                        Highland Kitchen
                                                        Green Street
                                                        Bar at Chez Henri
                                                        Central Kitchen
                                                        Middlesex Lounge
                                                        Cuchi Cuchi

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          I might add The Independent, too.

                                                          1. re: DoubleMan

                                                            We made it to the B-side on closing night and heard that some of the bartenders would be moving to the Independent. Not yet confirmed, but thought it was worth mentioning.

                                                        2. re: enhF94

                                                          Also, West Side Lounge - got that dark lighting there, like a....lounge.

                                                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                            I'll add Gargoyles in Davis Sq. to the list.

                                                      2. FWIW, I was at deep ellum last night and one of the bartenders (not sure which one, I know the names and I know the faces, but I'm not sure which names go to which faces - he definitely was ex-Bside though) was saying that he had been inside and the place was completely gutted - even the bathrooms and kitchens, so the new configuration will be completely different.

                                                        Personally I always thought the layout of the B-Side was a detriment, so this pleased me, but I could tell by the way he was remembering said layout fondly that this wasn't the time to voice that particular opinion :)

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                          His name is Cousin Dave. I was sitting on the other side of you talking to him. I miss his tie uniform, but thankfully he said he as all the ingredients at Deep Ellum to make B Sidecars. In fact, it was a stipulation in his taking the job. All hope is not lost.

                                                          1. re: gini

                                                            Hah! Yeah, that was you all as I remember the B Sidecar convo right as we were leaving.

                                                            1. re: gini

                                                              I miss Dave. Is that his only gig or is he working multiple spots? Any idea where Rob ended up?

                                                              1. re: tallullah

                                                                I think Rob's at Chez Henri, but not sure how many nights.

                                                                1. re: dulce de leche

                                                                  Rob is definitely at Chez Henri on Mondays, possibly other nights.

                                                                  Dave Cagle is one of the great ones. I believe he has done some shifts at Highland Kitchen and possibly The Beehive. Been a while since I crossed paths with him somewhere other than Deep Ellum.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    I so miss the days of shooting the stuf with Dave and Joe about the Sox, crushing on Dylan and Patrick (Dave's cousin), and getting housed drinking gin gimlets. Solving the Lone Star puzzles with Dave's help was always a highlight of the night.

                                                                    *sigh*

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      MC--

                                                                      You are thinking of Joe McGuirk. He know works at HK.

                                                                  2. re: tallullah

                                                                    I believe Dave is the bar manager there.

                                                              2. AS of this past week, everything is ripped out and it's gutted.

                                                                1. The new name is Lord Hobo, found the following info re: recent licensing hearing and current status of the project:
                                                                  http://www.beerscribe.com/2009/04/10/...

                                                                  Inman Sq. needs a restaurant featuring high quality beers as well as cocktails, look forward to checking it out when it opens.

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: PaulB

                                                                    Terrible name, but it won't go unnoticed.

                                                                    1. re: PaulB

                                                                      Looking forward to it (I don't get the name either). To be honest, if I lived near there, I wouldn't want them to be open until 2. I hope they can still do good business with last call at 1 - won't be a problem if they deliver on the high expectations.

                                                                      1. re: nfo

                                                                        1am last calls are a bit annoying though w/ a location like that. If you stay until last call you can't really get to any 2am place early enough to make it worth it, so you have to bug out early.

                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                          Any word on when we can expect an opening? I can crawl to that location, and could do with having a reason to.

                                                                      2. re: PaulB

                                                                        I like the name, reminiscent of medieval pubs that have nonsensical names like. Can you imagine saying to your friends, "Let's go to Lord Hobo tonight!". I can and it'll be great.

                                                                        1. re: avial

                                                                          Ok, so I met the chef/part owner the other night at a coed softball game. He's formerly of Mistral, Sorellina, and recently Teatro. He's set on hopefully 140ish beers in bottle and on tap and cocktails and great wine list. Gastro-pub kind of menu. He seems to think that they're spin on a gastro pub will be different than the others of greater Boston. I wish them luck and can't wait 'til it opens.

                                                                          1. re: msgcook

                                                                            Please let the food be better than Sunset Grill. 140 beers? I have a feeling we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer.

                                                                            1. re: tallullah

                                                                              Seems like a pretty safe assumption that the food will be better than Sunset! I don't think they are looking at the Sunset when comparing themselves to local gastropubs (or beer bars). Sunset is a burger/wings/nacho eatery that focuses on beer quantity at the expense of quality.

                                                                            2. re: msgcook

                                                                              I drove by last nite and was happy to still see the beveled glass. Let's hope that stays (how could it not). He's got some swanky credentials.

                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                Drove by yesterday and the doors were open. It's been totally gutted down to the studs...bar and all.

                                                                        2. Bumped into a friend last night who will be bartending at Lord Hobo. He said it will be open in about a month.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jgarnache

                                                                            Can't wait for this place. And a block from work... hooray!

                                                                          2. Any word on when they're opening. I live a couple of blocks away and can't wait to have another neighborhood destination.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: CambridgeKathy

                                                                              took a peak the other day. I would say at least three weeks. ran into the contractor and he said there was a lot of work left to do. looking good though

                                                                              1. re: negrazer

                                                                                I live across the street, and I've seen several liquor deliveries and the the dumpster was emptied on Sunday - the dumpster in back, not the construction dumpster in front. Something must be going on, but peeking through the window it sure looks a long way off.

                                                                                1. re: SmokeDawg

                                                                                  I'm entertained that so many of us live within a block or two,.

                                                                                  1. re: zebedee

                                                                                    I teach nearby and walk my preschoolers by often. They were fascinated by watching the tearing down and building of it all and I kept getting thirstier every time I went by.

                                                                            2. Anyone? They've taped over all the windows so we can't get easy updates anymore. Someone must have heard SOMEthing?

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: zebedee

                                                                                It's still taking a while, according to my friend doing construction for the Lord Hobo people.