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McGreevy's could re-open as upscale farm-to-table scratch kitchen

The Boston Licensing Board could decide tomorrow whether to let a restaurateur re-open McGreevy's with a new concept that is nothing like the sports-focused college bar the place was until the pandemic hit last year.

The new restaurant, tentatively and eponymously called A.T. O'Keeffe's after new owner Andrew Timothy O'Keeffe, will be a "chef-driven, sit-down scratch kitchen restaurant," featuring fresh, locally sourced food, attorney Andrew Upton told the Boston Licensing Board this morning. "We no longer want to be a college bar or a sports bar."

No longer a bar with a restaurant, the new place would be a restaurant with a bar, he said, adding the new places "well capitalized" investors will be spending $250,000 to $300,000 on "the refresh" of the formerly Sox-themed bar, one of a series of Boylston Street watering holes that shut down in the spring of 2020.

"It will be an upscale place to go with an upscale restaurant and upscale name," he said.

Still, he acknowledged that the new owners did discuss keeping the old name with McGreevy's majority owner and Dropkick Murphys musician Ken Casey. Ultimately, however, Casey said there were too many complications with the ownership of the name, he said. He added that O'Keeffe and Casey are still talking about Casey possibly helping with marketing the new place.

Nobody spoke against the proposal. The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay voted to not oppose it, as long as the new place makes sure to keep any outside line that might form along the wall of the place, rather than letting people crowd Boylston Street.

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Comments

afraid I might actually have a reason to spend a night out in the Back Bay again.

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Voting closed 10

The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay voted to not oppose it, as long as the new place makes sure to keep any outside line that might form along the wall of the place, rather than letting people crowd Boylston Street.

Private enterprise doesn't have the standing to enforce that. All they can do is ask nicely.

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how little you know about how this town works, son.

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I'm pointing out the broken part. You're making my point.

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They literally signed a voluntary contract promising to enforce the line outside. If they don't have a better plan than "just asking" then they shouldn't sign.

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There's literally two (expletive) choices beyond inaction: "Just asking," or force.

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"It will be an upscale place to go with an upscale restaurant and upscale name,"

I'm not a fortune teller but it will be neither of these things as the history of Dad's Diner, Foggy Goggle or McGreevy's are not to be forgotten. It's not like dozens of HiSo college kids will be pouring in with their parents' money on the dingy part of Boylston St. to somehow transform its culture with their chef-driven spending when we already know that it's the booze-driven revenues that prop up the business model.

I'm all for investment and renovation in the area and I understand the conversational tone needed to get approval for these things but let's not kid ourselves.

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But it's close to Trader Joe's and the Pru, so it will be easily on the radar of both neighbors and tourists. Krasi and Capital Grille are on either side of it, so I predict it will be popular.

Now if only the Pour House would reopen, so a certain group readers can relive their youth.

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That's all fine and good but I also remember that Cactus Club, Pour House, Lir and Whiskey's were close to Trader Joe's and the Pru as well but they no longer exist.

But what we're talking about is the business model of a chef-driven restaurant versus a bar that caters mainly to the college and Red Sox demographic, because of its geography and appeal, and that baseball isn't as popular as it once was and the tastes of college kids has changed significantly over the past two decades.

Starting a restaurant is hard enough, keeping it going very hard, and when you have to cover not only the rent for the space but also the rent for the liquor license, because the landlord owns that as well, it becomes extremely difficult unless you're mainly selling booze to a steady stream of customers. Good luck to them trying to reinvent as a foodie place though.

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TV ratings are down, and the obsession isn't there anymore, but Fenway attendance remains high, enthusiastic, and based on what I saw in five visits this season, younger than before.

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Bring back the Honey Lounge! Where I used to get bathroom to table cocaine for years!

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