Restoration Hardware grand-opening party too successful: Fire Department shuts shindig

The last thing you want to see at an event are Police and panicked PR girls. Photo by Sean William."The last thing you want to see at an event are police and panicked PR girls." Photo by Sean William.

Apparently Restoration Hardware, um, RH, had more people stuffed into the restored Museum of Natural History than it was permitted for, so fire inspectors started shutting the thing down shortly after 8 p.m. - barring people from going in, even if they had already been in but stepped outside.

At 7:47, Priya Sisodia tweeted:

At the Restoration Hardware opening, so freaking crowded can barely move. At least the wine's good. On the lookout for celebs and athletes!

At 8:08, Cheryl Fenton tweeted:

Omg restoration hardware party insane. And not in good way.

JGC adds:

A maelstrom! Arrived early to a standing-room only crowd. Couldn't see a damn thing in the space!

PR maven Janet Prensky concludes:

this will go down as one of the all-time worst planned events in boston party history

The Herald reports party planners figured people would come, stay for a bit and then leave, freeing up more room for other people on the invite list. But people didn't leave and the store wound up several hundred people over its 2,000-person temporary occupancy permit.



Free tagging: 


Oh my head

Not a good night to be fashionably-late. We got in before 7pm, thank goodness. They over-invited - probably nervous they'd have a full room.

It was a Brian Rafanelli event - you can say "poorly planned" but, hey, he's been around the block a couple times, he mostly knows what he's doing.

That building was also

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Aside from having once been the Museum of Natural History, that building was also the home of upscale department store Bonwit Teller, from the 40s to the late 80s.

For s short while after that it was men's clothing store Louis of Boston, which had moved in from it's nearby Boylston St. location.

Yes, I bought myself my first

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Yes, I bought myself my first string of pearls at a Bonwit Teller's sale. For a Southie girl, I felt I had really arrived!


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Yes, and remember those lovely bags with the purple flowers? If you paid with cash, they would put it in the little vacuum containers that sucked it up to the cash room!

RH Party

Yup it was a bit of a drag. My friend went out to the coat room to retrieve his cell phone from his coat pocket and fire dept would not let him back in. So he phoned me and we both left. We wanted to hear the band! So packed--it was like sardines. Couldn't get upstairs either....stairwell was jammed. Dangerous for sure.

for sure

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Who the hell leaves their cell phone in coat check? Sorry you wanted to hear the band, but what a bratty bunch to whine about what a drag it is for the BFD to enforce fire codes. Hope you and your schmoozy pals desperate for free booze on a rainy Wednesday night are never involved in an actual fire. Good luck to you.

Wouldn't that be retro?

Have an over crowded social event to up in flames, killing scores of people? Hey, it would be like the Titanic with fire instead of ice!

This is the kind of person who would look at a flames racing up one end of the room and think it was part of the show and start clapping.

Boston does tend to be anti-fun in many ways, but shutting down an actually overcrowded party not one of them.

Ya think?

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I didn't see it mentioned here by name so thought I'd throw it in the mix. If I missed it, then sorry. I can't read any links to twitter here at work.

So sorry to have disrupted your day.

Try hovering your mouse over

Try hovering your mouse over the second link in his post. Read the name of the URL. You don't even need to click on it. You're welcome.

Smart move...

you know, because you can't put out a fire by throwing $800.00 brass door knockers at it.

Also, will we see the same crowd at the opening of the next Home Depot? Or is the party planner for Home Depot on the "Not Hot" list this week?


Take that, Allston! Restoration Hardware knows how to throw a party!

And nobody got stabbed, which is better than you usually do, chumps.

Wonder what the building capacity is

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There was some question whether the inspectors would even allow the event to start. They agreed, around 5:00 or 5:30PM. 2500 people were expected, and most of them showed up. I can see why the event was shut down. It's not a space like the Park Plaza Castle, and with flower arrangements, bars and the big clunky furniture taking up room there was not a lot of space to move around. It must have cost them a fortune, Rafanelli isn't cheap.

Intentional Publicity Stunt?

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Just speculating, but getting shut down for extreme overcrowding at a grand opening is a great way to stoke interest in the new venture, especially when it's shut down early enough that nobody is hurt. My guess is that far too many invitations were sent out on purpose. Fines, if any, will be well worth the free publicity.

Stunt or not....

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I will not be spending my money on their knockoffs. Maybe I would have gone in there to think about buying something, but the irresponsibility and lack of concern for safety makes me think why bother? I'll spend my money on etsy, auction, or with people that have respect for their consumer. With that kind of money, they could afford multiple events, or straight up VIP. Ridiculous.

Ball less wonder

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I gather you look at thr glass half empty, get a life!

Thanks for the pic..

Miss Publicist Face has the panicked look of someone who was just ignored by the unfashionable BPD.

"You cant shut us down! An intern at the Inside Track just tweeted that Ernie Boch Jr tweeted that Giselle might be coming!"

Contrasting coverage

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Herald: Cops shut down posh store’s overcrowded debut party:

A rave success turnout for Restoration Hardware’s ­debut bash — with an estimated 2,400 people swarming its new Berkeley Street digs — turned out to be a buzzkill, when authorities were forced to act like snooty doormen, barring even the well-heeled from getting back in.

Globe: Restoration Hardware opening party draws a crowd

Who knew home furnishings and bath fixtures could be such a big draw? The new Restoration Hardware store on Berkeley Street officially opened Wednesday night, and the place was overrun with VIPs who, we’re betting, already have all the luxury bed linens and ceiling fans they need.


You left out the part where the Herald writer used the exact same tweets in their story as you did.

clue me in

I thought RH has been open in that corner space on Boylston across from the Hynes, did it move? Was wondering why a place that's been there would be having an "opening party", I saw someone say Berkeley St, assuming it moved to the Louis Boston bldg?

You got it

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They moved from down near the Hynes to the old Louis/Museum of Natural History building.

Old location

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I think the previous location on Boylston closed a while ago, maybe in 2007?

Guild's Drug Store

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The Boylston and Exeter location is a Tannery now. Prior to it being Restoration Hardware it had been Guild's Drug Store which was there for years.

Grand opening party @ Restoration Hardware

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in the fabled old Louis building? I can smell the pretentiousness from here. Did any party goers deign to grab a doggy bag of d'oeuvres for some of the neighborhood homeless people? Perhaps they could just toss or throw it at them from their SUV.

JC Penney would make bank at

JC Penney would make bank at that location. Contrary to popular belief, Newbury St's demographic is not solely dependent on the wealth of the residents that live there. Newbury has also become a destination for fashionable bargain shoppers and tourists alike due to the Forever 21 flagship anchoring the far end of Newbury.

I do realize that jcp is a stretch for this particular location, but there should be one downtown... somewhere.

We could use a Penneys

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I don't know why the downtown area now turns up it's nose at stores like JC Penneys. I still miss the Downtown Crossing Woolworths. For some reason people think they are too sophisticated for such stores now. I'm as artsy as anyone else, but we need practical things also, and downtown Boston now lacks that sort of thing. Marshalls and TJ Maxx don't really cut it.

Ribbon cutting canceled?

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The 11AM ribbon-cutting at the store was dropped from the mayor's schedule. Was it canceled or did the mayor decide he wanted nothing to do with the place after last night's fiasco?

I made the mistake of driving

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I made the mistake of driving through the Back Bay while this was happening. The event shut down traffic in the surrounding blocks. There was a tented walkway from the front of the building down to, and along the whole block of Berkeley street. There were traffic cops at all intersections, it was nuts.


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Who is a "celebrity" in Boston? It always makes me laugh to see what passes for a celeb in Boston, aside from Tom, Giselle, and Bob Kraft. Hairdressers? Assistant Managers at Banana Republic, maybe a mid-level manager at Fidelity, a few interior decorators, liquor account executives (if you read Improper Bostonian, and maybe a news anchor? Give me a break. I think Attleboro probably has as many "celebrities."

Overcrowded, overserved

They had a guest list so they were at least keeping track, although who's to say if they were monitoring actual numbers. The police / BFD no doubt could tell just by looking that it was over capacity. The first floor, at least. I was never allowed upstairs. LOL!

Literally all of you who are

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Literally all of you who are bitching and making negative comments have no idea what happened or what's going on there. It's embarrassing to spread bullshit like this about an amazing company just because you heard something that probably wasn't true. Nothing that happened was RH's fault. The inspections weren't getting done in time and the LAZY, "I'm better than everyone but don't want to do my job" union "workers" that were there didn't get half the job done on time so everything was pushed to last minute. I'm sorry if some of you can't afford the product, but that doesn't mean the people are stuck up or bad. If you take your left overs to homeless people good for you. Not everyone is a saint. There's rich people and poor people. Throwing a lavish, expensive party is not something to put down or talk bad about. It's part of life. I'm in shock people actually comment on these things like its personal to them. Shut upppppppppp

You must work in sales

The winning charm gives it away.

Blaming the hired help because you couldn't figure out how to do 'exclusive' properly is just pathetic. Clearly you didn't manage to get into the finest schools or you would at least have been taught that tiny morsel of social grace.

PS: Only C-listers scramble to be seen at a shop opening, even on Newbury Street. Only D-listers scramble to defend them.


PS: Only C-listers scramble to be seen at a shop opening, even on Newbury Street. Only D-listers scramble to defend them.

That's so totally awesome! Ya burnt!


I think you should just take your ball and go over and play with the other kids!

So, whose fault was it if not RH's?

Nothing that happened was RH's fault

So whose fault was it that too many invitations were sent out, or too many people were let in? I hope your answer isn't "the fire department".

Amazing company?

"Can't afford the product"?

Wow. Someone seriously has their "I'm better than thou" hat on today. It may surprise you to hear this: Not all of us want a copy of a mass produced product. Especially when it exploits people in countries with extremely low wages, such as China. I'm sure you're typing this from your iPad, iPhone, or whatever else and don't care about these people. So I'm amazed that you've actually taken the time to come on to Uhub and scold everyone here.

Just wondering

What kind of shrinkage would a store expect from such an event? I'd wouldn't be surprised, given the reported crowding, if more than a few upscale doorknockers went missing from inventory afterward.


I was going to post the exact same thought! The well heeled are a lot freer with their fingers than you'd think.

I've seen millionaires fight over free t-shirts and sneakers.

start a bonfire with their catalog

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I bought a doorbell online from this company and they started sending me their 5lb yuppie consumptive porn magazine of a catalog. I'm sorry to rant irrationally on UH but we don't need this affluenza hotspot.