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Boston - Speakeasy central?

According to the "Help a Reporter Out" website, a Boston Globe reporter is looking for information on the following:

Writing a story about the rise of private, speak-easy style clubs in Boston, and I'm wondering why these are coming back into vogue now? (The new great depression?). Is this a Boston-only phenom? And also why there is a renaissance of these old-timey clubs and drinks occurring now.

Is this really happening in Boston or is it simply a topic in search of a story?

Maybe it's happening but since the clubs are "private", I've just never heard of them?

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Writing a story about the rise of people wearing barrels in Boston, and I'm wondering why these are coming back into vogue now? (The new great depression?). Is this a Boston-only phenom? And also why there is a renaissance of these old-timey clothing lines now?

Also, don't Globe reporters read up on American history anymore? Speakeasys (speakeasies?) were the result of Prohibition, not the Depression. Sheesh.

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The cause of which is shitty journalism and stupid reporters.

Sigh...

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A thing of the past, old boy. You don't need to know anything about what happened hundreds of years ago or whenever The Great Depression happened. Especially since it was caused by our separation from France in the 1800's. It's all about the future!

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And airline food? And kids wearing expensive basketball sneakers? And rave parties?

I think the Globe has finally reached the level of Time Magazine: Once they report on a trend, it's officially over.

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I was recently helping my ex hunt for a new apartment, and one place we looked at had an unlicensed bar in the basement (and a full complement of drunk old guys at 10:30AM). Nice guys, but we kept looking.

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But I've been to The Violet Hour in Chicago. AFAIK, there is no similar place in Boston - it's a topic in search of a story.

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Which pop up periodically in police reports when somebody gets shot or stabbed at one ...

But this will drive me crazy: For several years, there was an after-hours club somewhere in the downtownish/Back Bayish area that you needed to be invited to join (no doubt because, as we know, bars open to just any loser have to close no later than 2 in Boston). High priced, oh so exclusive and never any reports of 3 a.m firefights. Maybe it's still around. Sound familiar to anyone? And no, not thinking of the Paul Pierce place.

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I have a speak easy at my house about 8pm every night....

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I remember reading about the things you're talking about, maybe in the early oughts. As you say, it was an invite-only, after-hours dance club, frequented by people who were scenesters who wanted to continue their nights. (Or maybe they started their nights there, I don't know)

The hook was that there was no alcohol served-- it was just dancing and a "scene," so it wasn't really a speakeasy in the sense that the reporter is fishing for.

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I think that place was called The Loft? It was somewhere near the Hard Rock Cafe location behind Back Bay station? Only went a few times. Most people there wanted to keep partying and didn't want to go to a juice bar! Got the feeling that many of them had taken steps to be in an altered state before they arrived!

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That's the rough location, and yes, I remember party-performance enhancing substances were mentioned in the account(s) I read.

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I remember the Loft well, late 70s early 80s. It was behind 209 colombus ave near the police station. It was a private club that you still paid admission and there was no charge for whatever you were drinking, It was multi level, and I remember leaving in the daylight many times.

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I think you're talking about Rise. It was an after-hours club in Park Square, above where the Viga is. From what I've heard, it's no alcohol, just dancing. http://www.riseclub.us/

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Thanks, will be able to get to sleep tonight after all :-).

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An after-hours club is a different kind of thing.

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This place:

http://riseclub.us

I recall there being some editorial kerfuffle with them back in my Weekly Dig days when one of our freelancers wrote a blurb involving coke and toilet seats. Oops.

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I was hoping we'd get the exurban hausfrau take on this one.

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How's Foley's, JJ?

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Yes it was called the loft. it had 2 floors and a roof deck and was open all hours of the night until the sun came up. I remember it being so hot in there you could see moisture pouring down the walls. it had the greatest d.js and everyone was on lots of drugs. I always thought the floor was going to cave in. Years later a place called rise opened in the south end next door to Flash's but nothing could ever replace the loft

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The only place I know of is the Chippewa Club in South Boston and that place is neither new or hip.

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the chippewa club is not for any of you and if you aren't irish american you definately never will be. and forget about it because your wife or girlfriend cannot go in. nor if they let you in, will you even be able to bring your own brother with you for at least a year and a half.. so leave it alone.. don't mention it and steer clear.

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Speakeasy-style bars and restaurants are actually popping up all over the country. I was recently at Tavern Law in Seattle (our friends over at Drink Boston reviewed it back in November). It's a pretty cool mixology-focused bar downstairs, but for the real fun you need to be "in the know." You walk up to a heavy vault door in the back and pick up the old-school phone next to it. No ring, someone picks up, and if you're on the list, they buzz you in. Down a tight, wood-paneled corridor and suddenly you emerge in a 20s style lounge with great furniture, fantastic style and amazing food and drinks. It is admittedly a pretty disneyfied version of a "speakeasy." But I think that's what the reporter is asking about when referring to "speakeasy-style." I have heard about similar bars popping up in Chicago and San Fransisco.

Closer to home Stoddard's also jumped on the bandwagon with their men's only member's only speakeasy style downstairs dining area. It's something different and makes for a stylish, fun hang-out. There seem to be more and more of them about, but by no means is this a brand new phenomenon.

As for actual unlicensed bars in basements, I don't know, but that might make for some interesting reporting.

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This is exactly what I imagine the article is about. I was at a similar one in Washington D.C., (well, Alexandria), above a gastropub-y fish and chip place. There's nothing illicit or "after-hours" about it, the fish and chip place's website even had a link for info on the "speakeasy," if you knew where to look.

It's a Disneyfied version and it isn't a bad thing. It was actually quite nice to be able to get a well-made, interesting, mixed drink in a classy place with nice places to sit and music at a low enough volume you could talk to your friends. I'd happily go back, and maybe even doubly so if they could do away with the "speakeasy" artifice and just make it a classy place to get a drink.

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There's a place my friends were telling me about near Symphony, I think, that was supposedly a "speakeasy." But when they described it to me, it sounded more like the back room of some bar, and it was themed as a speakeasy, with some weird silly door. I want to say Westland Ave., but the only place I know there is the Thai place, and I don't think it's in a Thai place.

In any case, why is it now the readers' jobs to do the research?

EDIT: found it. Only in the 21st century would you need facebook to get into a speakeasy.

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Aside from the most obvious-- and important-- reason (laziness), here's a former newsperson's take on the answer:

-Reporters nowadays are under more pressure to turn around more copy more often; there just isn't the time to go out and do actual shoe-leather research that there used to be.

-Given the above, fewer reporters have any idea how to do it, or even why. (And, to be fair to the reporters, since that they're not given the time to do proper research, one could argue that there's no reason for them to develop a skill they can't use)

-Fewer and fewer reporters at the Globe, or anywhere else, have anything resembling roots here, now that reporting has been "professionalized" and reporters at big city news outlets tend to be graduates of colleges elsewhere, and/or reporters who got their start elsewhere. This isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, but it's noticeable in terms of reporters who, skilled though they may be, clearly don't know the city's history at all. This is less of a big deal in Dayton, but a pretty big deal here.

-Asking readers for help reinforces the notion-- or, depending on your viewpoint, attempts to create the illusion-- that the news business is a two-way street, and that readers can and should be involved in the process. Again, not inherently a bad thing, as there's a lot to be said about letters to the editor, the role of the ombudsman, etc., but I agree with you that asking readers for help on the Web is a lame substitute for actually going out and talking to people.

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Isn't asking for help on a web site the new version of talking to people?

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yeah, you have to like pass by some bouncer types, say a magic word and then they move a faux bookcase that conceals stairs down to a bar and lounge area. sort of lame, sort of fun.

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In any case, why is it now the readers' jobs to do the research?

At what point in the history of the newspaper were the sources for articles categorically not themselves members of the readership?

The only difference here is that the appeal is made broadly, rather than individually-- not necessarily out of laziness (although not necessarily NOT out of laziness, either) but mostly because now the capacity for mass market two-way communication makes it feasible to do so.

With only a few exceptions, the role of the privileged reporter who can get a story because they are "in the know" or because they "know the right people" is largely over. Plenty of other people are just as likely to know what the reporter needs to find out, and broad appeals like this are a practical way of reaching them.

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Help a Reporter Out Terms of Service:

3.2. The FIVE RULES OF HARO ™ . Keep them as a sign upon thy hands. The FIVE RULES OF HARO are:

1. You will get three emails a day, M-F, with reporter queries from reporters and outlets from all over the world. Scan the emails, and if you're knowledgeable about any of the topics, answer the reporter directly.
2. Don't SPAM reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries.
3. You MAY forward queries to friends, but DO NOT post them on blogs or anywhere on the web.
4. You're not allowed to harvest the reporter email addresses in the HARO emails for any reason.
5. Be excellent to each other.

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Could have been inspired by a newsletter targeted for a Boston audience from Daily Candy that went out earlier this month:

http://www.dailycandy.com/all-cities/article/83772...

Granted none of the locations are local but maybe the reporter thought if it is happening in other cities then it must be happening here.

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If you do have access to a private drinking club, the last thing you want to do is talk to a reporter about it. A private dining club member blabbed to the Globe about it in a story last year, leading swiftly to the club's demise, as it, and any private speakeasy, is in fact illegal.

I've been busting on the trends of non-private bars that mimic the trappings of speakeasies for a while: unfortunately, some of them have gone beyond passwords and period decor to include the practice of serving lousy drinks.

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Is in today's Globe fluff section.

To answer why this is happening, the answer seems to be lots of rich old farts who want to get drunk without all those rude young whippersnappers around.

“A big inspiration for this comes from my own lifestyle,’’ Trustman said last week. “After dinner, I often want to have a liquored up cappuccino or a fabulous glass of port and hang out with my friends. I don’t want to sit at the dinner table anymore, and, at 53, I certainly don’t want to go to a club. I need somewhere in between.’’

Speakeasy-like? Sounds more like an airline club room. Or a country club in Weston. Free from the hoi polloi, and quiet enough so those of waning auditory abilities can still maintain a civilized conversation about their waxing prostates.

Membership at Townhouse will cost $2,400, according to Trustman. After paying, a customer’s dining and drinking bills will be deducted from that total.

I'm obviously not the market for this. In other news, McGreely's is a great place to watch the Cup.

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The Loft in Boston was awesome, every Friday night from 2am-6 rolling may face off!!!!

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