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Gem Opening This Weekend

Read about this place via Urban Daddy that is opening up this weekend at 42 Province St. in Downtown Crossing. The place is selling itself (hard) as an ultra exclusive upscale supper club with a strictly enforced 'upscale and stylish' dress code. It's from Big Night Ent. Group, the same people who made Red Lantern, which I haven't checked out yet.

Anyone planning to check this out? How cool do you have to be to get in?

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    1. Only in Boston do you see the classic amateur night: 'upscale and stylish' dress code.

      Just plain silly, as I am sure the place will be and likely the clientele as well.

      9 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        The dress code seems silly, but then, I am shocked at the often complete disregard people in Boston have for their personal appearance.

        Like for instance, I saw a guy at Russo's the other day - grown man with a teen-ish daughter in tow - wearing pajama bottoms. Really? No, really?! You were just so busy that pulling on a pair of jeans and having to deal with a button and zipper were too challenging this morning?

        Anyway, according to the eater.com article, the food will be:

        "American Brasserie fare with eclectic international flourishes" and trend-nods as in shrimp & grits with tater tots and Russian dressing. Also on the menu: grilled pizza and duck confit quesadilla.

        So I guess the international flourishes are French for the quesadilla and Russian for the grits?

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Bob, you need to remember that we were voted the worst-dressed city in America. :-)

          I'm going to miss Kennedy's in an odd sort of way. I know it wasn't the greatest place, but it seemed low-key and comfortable, and the food wasn't terrible.

          1. re: hiddenboston

            I didn't even realize Kennedy's closed. That's sad. First The Littlest Bar gets taken over by an ugly condo building and now Kennedy's is gone too.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              You have to admit: Russian dressing on tater tots is bold, iconoclastic, groundbreaking. It says, "I refuse to be bound by Escoffier's hidebound old rules on the canonical grade-school-cafeteria croquette dip!"


              1. re: MC Slim JB


                Gonna just pop on my pajama bottoms and head over.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I need to find my pajama bottoms that have pockets, just in case I need to take some tots with Russian dressing home with me.

          2. I'm guessing it's of like JP Morgan?? being asked what it costs to own a yacht. f you have to ask, you can't afford it.

            If you have to ask how cool do you have have to be, you're probably not cool enough..:)

            Purely meant in jest, and no hurt intended. I'd guess if you dress nicely, reasonable fashionably, they'll be happy to allow you in.

            The short term term history in Boston of; Yvonnes..back of Locke Ober's to Saint to Stoddards (male only) "private" clubs has not proven a great business model.

            1. "Upscale and stylish" in Boston can mean anything: your least-wrinkled chinos, your formal fleece, your Brady replica jersey instead of your Bledsoe one. This sounds like a typical local nightclub dress code, which lets the door arbitrarily decide who they want to come in, most often with the goal of preventing the crowd from being too heavily male. It can also be used, as it was at Cure Lounge, to reflect the owners' racism. There are few things more ridiculous than fake exclusivity; I imagine this code being "strict" (which is hard to gauge without a list of rules) only as long as the initial crowds last.

              Devra had a good line about Red Lantern: she called it "an R-rated P.F. Chang's". The food is highly variable, but the good dishes (dim sum, noodles) were better than I expected from nightclub people. Terrible cocktails, though, and it can feel kind of cheesy with the "decorative" servers, which they apparently bus up from their Foxwoods nightclub on weeknights.


              1. An when you're done at "GEM", you can head over to Strega for a nightcap. OY! Include me out!

                1. F this place. Kennedy's was awesome for a burger and a beer.

                  1. I have have to admit I was really apprehensive about going to this place last night even for early drinks and apps with work folks based on the posts here, however, I was pleasantly surprised.

                    The staff were very friendly and the service was quite good. Our group of 8-12 was promptly seated in the mostly empty dining area (that remained that way). The overall aging bordello look of the space, the women working behind the bar wearing corsets (and not a lot else), ever-changing lighting levels, and the constant background of nondescript, euro-techno beat music (think early 2000s in a W Hotel lobby) were a really odd mix of style choices but kind of interesting / entertaining nonetheless.

                    The beers they poured for our table seemed to come from fresh kegs and clean lines, and the specialty martinis they mixed up using some of the many flavored vodkas so proudly lined up behind the bar were enjoyed by the younger members of our party.

                    After I interrogated the waiter about the ingredients / mixing / garnishing of the Negroni and Manhattan I wanted to order, both made properly (except for their policy of shaking of everything served up, but I anticipated that and didn't mind) in generous portions (that they should be at $14 each) and were above average relative to most nightclub cocktails.

                    The range of apps we ordered (four different variants on potatoes, red and white flatbread style pizzas, and mac-n-cheese) to share were as hot, fresh, and satisfying as bar food in a nightclub atmosphere needs to be.

                    It was pretty desolate there when we arrived around 6:30p (as expected) but filled up by 9p except for ALL of the mysteriously "reserved" high top tables in the bar area that remained empty the ENTIRE time we were there (???) - there was also a friendly-enough bouncer at the door by the time we left, but no dress code appeared to be in force at all - there were LOTS of jeans and sneakers in the bar by 9p.

                    I am not sure what GEM is really trying to be, but I don't think it is exactly what may be successful over time in their location - it is OK if you want good service, decent drinks, and fresh bar food at downtown prices for a large group in a slightly odd but comfortable setting.

                    1. This place has one of the most ridiculous menus I've seen outside of Vegas & Reno.

                      $35 for steak frites? $18 for tuna tatare with "crispies? $350 for Tanqueray with bottle service?

                      I'm all for a snazzy, upscale spot, but c'mon, guys.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                        Haha, the beer list is neat.
                        A Harpoon draft and a Bud Light bottle cost the same ($6)
                        A Guinness draft and a Bud Light Platinum bottle cost the same ($7)

                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                          While I have not eaten at GEM, there are at least a dozen restaurants in the Boston area serving tuna tatare appetizers for $18 or so. The other items you mention do seem pretty high. Isn't bottle service almost always a huge ripoff?

                          1. re: Gordough

                            If I was ordering tuna tatare at O Ya for $18 (theoretically) I'd be a lot more okay with it than a place like GEM that also has tater tots and bar pizza. Finely-chopped uncooked tuna with "crispies" for $18 is kinda silly. And yes, bottle service is a massive ripoff. $100 for bottle service of 12 bottles of beer (I'm sorry, 'biƩre')?

                            1. re: Boston_Otter

                              Sorry, but give me back my Kennedy's $8.50 hamburger and a cup of Clam Chowder...

                              1. re: Boston_Otter

                                But of course, you aren't paying for the booze so much as the seat in which you can drink it. You have to really, really want to be there (or not be paying) to justify bottle service in a club.

                                1. re: Boston_Otter

                                  Seems a certain Chris Rock quote would apply here.

                            2. Having not read about the dress code beforehand, finding myself in they city, and curious about a place of which I'd never heard, I made a reservation for half an hour from now. (Syncronicity!) I'll report back unless I'm turned away... At 5:45...

                              ETA fooled by being exactly one year out of date!