Boston, MA - There’s more than a few establishments in Boston that consistently offer solid whiskey selections. And for the novice, the choices can be bewildering. The average glance at the drink list of Brandy Pete’s, for example, is just as likely to set your eyes back... as much as your wallet. But there have been precious few which offer it as the very backbone of their drink offerings.
The Westland in Symphony Hall is aiming to change that.
The latest venture from Red Paint Hospitality Group (also responsible for Brighton’s White Horse Tavern, Last Drop and Harry’s Bar and Grille,) the Westland is a fairly late bloomer to Boston’s dwindling bar scene—so late, it’s taken some seven years to open. But with a perfectly good rationale, according to Red Paint owner Doug Bacon.
After initially securing a license for the Westland in 2012, Bacon decided to place plans for renovation on the restaurant on hold to focus on his other ventures. ““They [the city of Boston’s Alcoholic Beverages Licensing board] more or less told me that they would revoke my license if The Westland didn’t open,” Bacon said. “But it’s here, and it’s great.”
“The goal for this location is to be an American restaurant that has French influences and tavern influences. We’re not going to be a fine-dining location. We’re not going to be a special event place. My goal is to be a neighborhood restaurant.”
Remember all those times your slightly “off” uncle informed you that “while all bourbons are whiskies, not all whiskey is bourbon?” Well, yes. He was right. This time, at least. And while the price for an ounce of 23 year old Pappy Van Winkle at $95 will likely ensure you don’t forget those words, there’s over 50 other options to choose from which won’t put as substantial a dent in your wallet—from Japanese single malts to artisan ryes from High West and Whistle Pig to big barrel bourbons from… well, the usual suspects. And beyond.
Naturally, you can’t live off whiskey alone; despite what your uncle—or I—claim to the contrary. Bacon secured the help of chef Danielle Dorcil (formerly of South Boston’s Fat Baby) in overseeing the creation of Westland’s menu, which announces itself as “bringing international comfort food to the next level.” To this end, the focus is on shareable platters, including oysters casino, pork belly fries and fried pickled vegetables alongside more substantial entrees such as steak frites, beef bourguignon and porchetta over sweet potato purée.
If the address for the Westland looks familiar, you may remember it from the old Symphony 8 restaurant that occupied its premises until 2012—alongside its basement bar, Prohibited. Bacon vows that the basement will soon operate as a second bar in the not so distant future (hopefully sooner than seven years.)
“I’ve got a very good feeling about this restaurant,” he said. “I’m very happy with the team we have here, and I’m very happy with how the space looks.”
The Westland is located at 10 Westland Ave in Boston, and is open daily from 4:00 pm - 2:00 am, with dinner available Sunday - Thursday between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm and Friday - Saturday between 5:00 pm and 11:00 p. For more information, visit westlandboston.com