BOSTON – It’s been a long and questionable trip for the Beacon Hill Pub. The fact that’s it’s been able to survive since time immemorial (at the very least since dinosaurs and Keith Rchards still roamed the earth) on any street corner would seem miraculous enough. But to survive on Beacon Hill, where even the pigeons will judge you for your choice in footwear, is a mystery defying any conceivable sense of logic.
To put it into perspective; it’s anonymous, like all halfway decent bars should be. It has blacked out windows, like all decent bars should have. And the only food you will find are unidentifiable substances found floating in the bottom of your glass—er, make that a plastic cup—to remind you to always tip your bartender. But it managed to outlive such certifiably Charles St institutions as the Lala Rokh and, more recently, the Hungry I.
Or at least that’s what it seemed like. After a brief closure last October as a result of its sale to City Realty, the Beacon Hill Pub managed to resurrect itself in January to the moderately bepuzzled delight of patrons. Was it dank? Yes. Grimy? Absolutely. Like stepping “into the Star Wars cantina if it was set in hell” (as one review aptly stated which was proudly posted against the unwashed back mirror?) Unquestionably.
And it will be no more.
The Beacon Hill Times confirmed over the weekend that Babak Bina of BINA Hospitality Group (who owned and operated the aforementioned Lala Rokh for 25 years) will be brought in to assist in the transition of the Beacon Hill Pub into “a fine dining establishment, which will have an operator and concept [that] is more in keeping with Beacon Hill,” according to Bina.
“I have agreed to advise [the proprietors] on who might be a good operator and negotiate with them to take over as a tenant and restaurant owner. It will be another neighborhood destination for the residents and visitors alike,” elaborated the hospitality group’s founder.
Nor is the transition limited to the bar itself. The six existing apartments above are also planned for transformation into 16 high-end executive suites, including corporate housing solutions designed to accompany extended stay business travelers (or, as some might prefer to think of them, the corporate equivalent of a halfway house.)
“We’re looking forward to taking a bar with no food service and repositioning it into a neighborhood restaurant with finer dining with Babak’s help,” said Josh Fetteman, City Realty’s director of project development. “We see gap in the market… The Hill has a really good hotel presence…and really strong residential presence, but there’s a market for out-of-town [business people] and patients, family and staff from the hospitals.”
The proposal is scheduled to go before the Beacon Hill Civic Association Zoning and Licensing Committee this Wednesday. Pending approval from the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission., the $5.5 million project is expected to take up to a year to complete.
“We look looking forward to working with abutters and the Civic Association to reposition the property into something that neighbors will appreciate and that will compliment the neighborhood.” said Fetteman. “We want to make this property something everyone can be proud of.”
Because it’s apparently no longer enough to dress your Pomeranian in a Michael Kors sweater to indicate your civic pride.