Whenever I travel back to Boston (my hometown), I’m lucky enough to be taken out by my friend who works as an event planner in the city. The best part of her job — at least in my opinion — is that she is required to be in the know about pretty much every restaurant and bar that is/was fantastic. On my most recent visit, she brought me to The Beehive, an artsy bistro, bar and live music venue housed in a former boiler room in the Boston Center for the Arts.
Opened in 2007, The Beehive is still riding on the buzz that surrounded it when it first hit the scene. Dimly lit and continuously packed with people sitting elbow to elbow at cafe tables, this two-floor bistro/bar is all contrast: Twinkling chandeliers dangle from exposed pipes, and videos are projected onto aged brick walls. The bars are made from recycled wood, and regal red curtains frame the stage on the lower level. Even the crowd at The Beehive is a pleasing mixture of bohemian and preppy – the bustling but laid-back vibe makes it a spot where the post-work suit-clad folks can clink glasses with the vintage T-shirt crowd that’s there to see the band.
Check out the menu and more after the jump…
My friend made us reservations for a late dinner, and we were seated on the upper level in a table that overlooked the vast lower floor, offering us a great view of the jazz trio that was performing that night. (The best seat in the house, according to our waitress.) The menu was a gourmet twist on rustic American comfort food thanks to vision of executive chef Rebecca Newell, who prides herself on plating up “fun food that people really want to eat.”
To start, our table split the prosciutto, provolone, and olive oil-covered flatbread pizza, which I followed with the gigantic, juicy Beehive prime burger served with a pile of crispy frites seasoned with sage and sea salt. My friend ordered the famous grilled cheese, which was a gooey combo of farmhouse cheddar and fontina cheeses sandwiched between two thick yet airy slabs of fluffy brioche. And keeping with the simplicity of our food choices, our other friend opted for the oven roasted chicken with corn pudding and gravy (which is no longer on the seasonal menu, but you can still try other delicious items like the grilled salmon with curried lentils, dill, and lemon). To top it all off, we split a side of the perfectly salted grilled asparagus. It was a meal of fresh ingredients, well-balanced flavors, and hefty portions.
We passed on dessert but lingered with another drink so we could listen to the music. Later, as we squeezed out past the jam-packed bar and the door line that was beginning to snake around the corner, I was glad we’d been able to take in the scene from the comfort of a table. So if you ever decide to make your own pilgrimage to The Beehive, eat first and then play.
541 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
Tel: +1 617 423 0069
Dinner 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., bar to 2 a.m., entertainment nightly.
Photo: Nodame via Flickr