Hey, there! Log in / Register

Edgy new bar thinks Bostonians ready for some homeless-alkie chic

UPDATE: It's not even all that edgy. The Bukowski Tavern had the same idea a few years ago, only with a 40 of malt liquor in a bag.

The Herald interviews the general manager of a new Theater District bar that is trying to give Bostonians the "cosmopolitan and worldly" feel of New York, through drinks such as the "Hobo Experience:"

A vodka-based beverage with Combier, papaya, basil and lime - all combined, rebottled and brought out in a brown paper bag, so you sip as if you were hanging on a street corner.

Neighborhoods: 
Ad:

Comments

Why does he not have a companion drink called "cardboard box"? A whiskey-based beverage consisting of three different types of whiskey with a shot of tequila and where the imbiber drinks in said box while people throw quarters at him or her?

up
Voting closed 59

and yet for years Sunset Bar and Grill sold a hobo special in the for of a 40 oz of Mickey's Malt liquor served in a paper bag, and no one ever said squat about that.
Yeah the place closed recently but that's only because it sucked, not the hobo special.

up
Voting closed 26

Another clueless hipster douchebag who thinks flaunting the privilege in this town will help him make money.

Except...hey....

A little further research into this little nitwit yielded this interesting passage from the Zagat Thirty under Thirty in Boston in 2015.

" Peter Szigeti, 26
Beverage Director, Committee

Budapest-born Szigeti pursued a passion for photography before catching the bartending bug. He was hitting the global cocktail competition circuit by age 19, and now at the Seaport hot spot, he approaches mixing drinks like composing a photo, filling unique vessels (think shark-shaped stemware) with lusciously layered spirits, seasonal housemade tinctures (brown sugar and butternut squash purée, anyone?) and attention-grabbing garnishes, from candied bacon to dehydrated fruits set aflame before guests’ eyes. His dream: to found a bartending school that teaches the unique histories of cocktail cultures from cosmopolitan cities around the world."

The guy plays with booze and seems to know shit about anything outside his little comfort zone of hipster idiots and their enablers in the press.

up
Voting closed 49

probably not a hipster douchebag so much as a rich prick

up
Voting closed 17

He is the classic hipster douchebag type, and just as stupid as some I've encountered. How rich can he be living off of tips?

up
Voting closed 20

he's an immigrant.

up
Voting closed 18

Roman comes out his hole to make a comment on statements I never made, but makes him feel better about being a bigger asshole than I am.

up
Voting closed 21

Does Boston really need another bar?

up
Voting closed 12

Sure, this is a dumb idea that will go the way of NEWS Cafe in the Leather District.

However, The monopoly of licenses in Boston vs NYC makes experimenting with new and different ideas for businesses impossible.

That's why you get the same, boring style of eatery one after the other with very few exceptions.

NYC was great for finding small, hole in the wall joints at 3am that were run by a couple punks and a turntable.

You just don't get that diversity and vibrancy here.

up
Voting closed 47

Then maybe you can enlighten us all about the need for one more place to pay $9.00 for a beer?

up
Voting closed 35

It would be a good Uhub topic.....

Where are the best deals for beer (or draft beer) in the Boston area? Although I am a huge IPA guy, and probably buy multiple 64oz growlers a month, I am not ashamed to admit that I love a cold Bud Light draft.

Anywhere left that has a bud light draft less than $3? Or how about an IPA less than $6?

up
Voting closed 6

Coogan's

up
Voting closed 7

Dot Tavern?

up
Voting closed 8

Yeah its Union Sq. Somerville but they have pitchers of really good craft beer for like $14. Don't know how anyone is gonna beat that.
The Tam still has $3 drafts I believe, High Life or some such...
The days of places like The Avenue with 5-6 $1 drafts to choose from and 25 cent wings are long gone my friend.

up
Voting closed 10

JJ Foley's. $2 PBRs last I went. Other prices are reasonable.

up
Voting closed 6

That's not too bad, I had no idea. Even most divey bars in Dorchester I go to don't have any less than $3 that I can recall off hand.

up
Voting closed 6

I actually have never been to Coogan's. I spend most of my time in bars north of the river, or when I do go out after work it's usually a different place closer to my office that we go to for either holiday or retirement type parties. I think I paid $6 and change (before a tip) for a Wormtown Be Hoppy IPA there last night. But I know Foley's has cheap PBR, and I also went to the Dugout with some friends when a comedy night was happening (it was a Saturday 2-3 years ago), and those PBR pitchers were cheap, too. Good ol' Newtowne Grille up in Cambridge is always reliable for cheap pints and great pizza, too.

up
Voting closed 4

Wicked cheap BL pitchers

up
Voting closed 19

Right on Broadway. Called the Clock Tavern. Smokers outside welcome you and hold the door for ya, waitress calls you luv.

$5 guiness or sam - $8 if ya want a shot dropped in your Jack's abbey. (taplist is not limited to the macros)

up
Voting closed 16

up
Voting closed 17

...and I'm not sure why this concept is being compared to a NYC experience. People use black plastic bags/brown bags in lots of cities. I've even seen it on the streets of the Back Bay in the 90's.

up
Voting closed 15

But a new Spy Museum just opened up that's pretty cool, and would work in Boston. There are other artsy, or foodie (etc) things that happen here that can easily work in Boston. I drink, so I don't have anything against bars but how about adult fun outside of that?

up
Voting closed 24

If you're drinking for effect, then drinking like a hobo is the way to go!

up
Voting closed 4

I've been waiting for someplace to wear my Derelicte by Mugatu clothes!

up
Voting closed 49

up
Voting closed 34

3 nips of Smirnoff 100 proof root beer and a natty daddy aaand you.are.sorted

up
Voting closed 33

Making sport of the homeless is offensive making profits over the plight of the homeless is obscene.

up
Voting closed 10

Is drinking out of a paper bag making fun of the homeless? Lots of people do it all the time.

up
Voting closed 8

lots of homeless people, correct? 'Cause they last time I had a whiskey on the rocks it came in a glass.

up
Voting closed 4

Just because you're a guy who never drank a beer on a corner in a bag doesn't make you an expert on homelessness & what's outrage worthy. It just makes you pretentious & yeah, I drink out of a glass too. Big deal.

up
Voting closed 25

Visit NOLA ever? You can drink out of an unmarked cup walking around the streets.

If you have a branded bottle it has to go in a bag.

up
Voting closed 0

In the 1980's I knew middle class suburban high school kids who would take the train into Boston to hang out in Copley Sq. and drink out of brown paper bags. They weren't homeless.

up
Voting closed 21

up
Voting closed 19

          ( for a true experience, patrons should be denied use of a restroom! )

up
Voting closed 5

No. What's obscene is Quincy snobs blocking rebuilding the bridge to the homeless shelter.

up
Voting closed 7

I thought this was a joke when I first saw it, like something from the Onion. This is beyond tasteless and beyond clueless. What kind of bubble does this clown live in? Who says "hobo"? And I guarantee you no substance abusing homeless person is drinking anything with "Combier (whatever that is), papaya, basil and lime". Here's hoping this plays fails immediately.

up
Voting closed 45

n/t

up
Voting closed 12

I find this offensive. Vodka is by far the most boring spirit.

up
Voting closed 6

How is that cosmopolitan? This is for the 508 crowd. What they call bridge and tunnel in NY.

up
Voting closed 30

Throw a bunch of weird shit together and call it gourmet!

"the Box Office, a butterscotch and bourbon libation mixed with chocolate wine and blood orange, topped with popcorn and served in a movie concession box"

Szigeti sounds like a poser. I guess this means we've passed Peak Cocktail.

up
Voting closed 36

This will become the hot new thing to take Snaps and Insta selfies with.... Circle swings? Check!
Swigging from a bottle in a brown paper bag in swanky new bar? Check!

This makes me not sad I moved out to the suburbs last month. Guess I'm officially old and out of touch if I don't think this kind of thing is cute nor funny.

up
Voting closed 12

Bukowski's version, while still silly, at least makes some kind of sense -- a 40 and a hot dog.

up
Voting closed 8

oh NY, so cosmopolitan and worldly.... also, overrun with tourists and posers. This guy needs to go screw.

“No disrespect to Boston or Bostonians — I love this city — but they have trouble deviating from what they know,” General Manager Peter Szigeti told the Track. “They love their sports bars, vodka sodas and Southie parties.”

Turns out people love those things because they work, simplicity is not trendy but it lasts. I don't want chocolate wine topped with popcorn, whatever that is. One vodka soda for me, please.

Full Disclosure - I'm a born and raised New Yorker who wouldn't step foot in this ridiculous place.

up
Voting closed 20

I'll save you the Googling: Combier is nothing more than a fancy-shmancy name for Triple Sec.

up
Voting closed 27

Sammy's Follies was a Bowery bar with a "Gay 90's" (as in 1890's) theme that opened in the 1930's. Owner Sammy Fuchs hired former vaudeville performers and circus-like folk and well-heeled uptown folks came down by the busload to "slum" it with real bums. No quotes needed for bums, they were enabled by this bar, though Sammy would feed them and buy them clothes once in a while.

It's been done before. But would this new bar at least even buy clothes for the needy?

Sammy's Follies closed in the 1970's. Recently, the Paulaner Biergarden was there.. not sure, now.

up
Voting closed 8

"the joint has a legit champagne vending machine that has had bubbly fanatics buzzing with anticipation" soooo how many "bubbly fanatics" did the Herald interview? Joke. Total fabulism.

up
Voting closed 16

They even called this column "Inside Track".

Which was already a joke of oblivious whoring, decades ago.

up
Voting closed 19

What is with the obsession with NY?

up
Voting closed 0

Because we all know poverty and alcoholism are hilarious parts of life. Is he going to create a drink celebrating rape too and call it the roofie?

up
Voting closed 31

Maybe you should have a drink of something not in a paper bag. Something that doesn't trigger you so much.

up
Voting closed 8

My new bar was going to be outside a T entrance or a 7-11 & I was going to serve Listerine based drinks in a plastic CVS bag. We would pass out synthetic Marijuana and use the people that OD as step stools. Fights would break out over drugs every few minutes & there would be a guy who could barf to the tune of whatever Cardie B song was hot at that time. It was going to be so cool. Just like NY!

up
Voting closed 6

On top of the free outdoor entertainment they could have ourtre and avant guard drag performances featuring the fabulous Listerina.

up
Voting closed 7

Newmarket Sq at Mass ave stole your idea a long time ago!

up
Voting closed 0

If he'd even be seen dead in Boston.

Boston's hottest club is Ghost! Inspired by a Shakespearean revenge fest, this place has everything: Bourbon and chocolate wine topped with popcorn, camera lenses filled with banana-infused tequila, Derelicte by Mugatu, and the Hobo Experience!

What's the Hobo Experience, Stefon?

It's that thing where hipsters drink a $50 cocktail in a brown paper bag and wake up at the Pine Street Inn eight hours later.

up
Voting closed 36

WORLD CLASS, BABY !!!

up
Voting closed 17

I guess they called it "The Hobo Experience" because calling it "The Homeless Experience" would really have been beyond the pale and "The Lying In My Own Vomit On Canal Street After Shooting Up Experience" is too long.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm going to give the guy a break here because he's a bartender and also he's clearly an idiot.
Someone smarter than him should be assisting with any and all of his interviews. He needs some maturity to learn how to speak to people in ways that sell his products without offending his customers before they walk in the door.

That being said, this is a terrible idea. I see where he's going: he wanted something new and interesting rather than the same old...Boston has a ton of cocktail bars and a ton of places where you can get a great drink. But he took it too far and made it a gimmick, which isn't going to work for more than a month or two, at best. AND he made it worse by sounding like Bostonians are out of touch and crass, sitting around with nothing but our Bud Lights and too stupid to know that there are finer drinks out there. I'm not going to touch the Hobo stupidity of a cocktail in a brown paper bag. Not even going to go there.

He thinks he's being original but went too far. It's a shame. I bet if he had just one of those things there (I'd be interested to see what a champagne vending machine was like), it would have been ok. Everything else is too over the top. Also I would bet money that all of these crazy drinks are going to be impossible to execute well in any high volume environment.

up
Voting closed 30

The Bukowski Tavern has been doing the same basic thing for several years, only with malt liquor instead of vodka and frou-frou flavorings.

up
Voting closed 17

Didn't Douglass Adams write in one of his books that a sign of the decline of civilization are celebrity chefs. He was close but perhaps the real sign are celebrity bartenders.

up
Voting closed 23

with the telephone sanitizers, in the first wave.

up
Voting closed 5

"Homeless alkie chic"-seems a bit oversensitive - that's one drink out of the overall "experience" concept. It's not like he's encouraging meth addict cosplay.

up
Voting closed 31

The internet nerd brigade who've never owned a business let alone a bar /restaurant love getting outraged. Except the Hobo Special at Bukowski never bothered anyone nor should it.

up
Voting closed 14

Actually, I fondly refer to myself as a "nerd" so I consider your comment a high compliment.

It has nothing to do with owning anything. There is a level of tastelessness acceptable by society (or perhaps your bar (no pun intended) is so low it does not really matter to you) that no one should venture near. And this bloke just hit it.

And, ya, anything named the "Hobo Special" is still offensive (and I am about as low PC as one can get).

up
Voting closed 13

I'm sorry you're offended. I sincerely hope you get over it and have a wonderful weekend. The Hobo's in DTX told me to tell you thanks.

up
Voting closed 6

With "Hobo Life" as one of their craft offerings? I agree this isn't a great look, but a the same time, it's not like he's the only offender in this regard, he's just the only one we're bothering to get worked up over.

up
Voting closed 6

If you want to be outraged take a look at real homelessness in this country. Take a look at drug addiction. Take a look at Big Pharma or the Healthcare industry. This Hobo thing is just more fake internet bullshit outrage and those whom do nothing for the homeless people you see every day yet are ready to boycott a bar over a drink are hypocrites and morons.

up
Voting closed 4

I don't think that it takes too much effort to at least acknowledge that it's at best a bit tacky.

up
Voting closed 34

up
Voting closed 16

up
Voting closed 18

IMAGE(https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/little-hobo-adorable-toddler-dressed-as-walking-railroad-tracks-44447363.jpg)
IMAGE(http://www.emmaraeshalloween.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/baby-hobo.jpg)

up
Voting closed 20

It's not like boycotting a bar drains your energy for other endeavors. You just...don't go there.

up
Voting closed 19

When the article leads with an insult to Bostonians (ie potential clientele) - it is not a good look.

"They love their sports bars, vodka sodas, and Southie parties." - That may be the most intelligent summary/generalization I have ever read.

OK fella, now I definitely want to check out your enlightened hipster bar.

This spot has been many under many names (and styles) over the years. This will be the latest version, and will likely meet the same fate.

gimmicks fade quickly in this town - now where did I put my vodka/soda?

up
Voting closed 5

snobbery. There's plenty of room in every bar scene, from shot-and-a-beer joints to places serving pricey, historically-accurate pre-Prohibition cocktails served in antique glassware and built with thoughtful choices of ingredients, garnishes and ice, and everything in between. You can favor burgers, bar pies, wings and nachos without thinking lavish multi-course tasting dinners are stupid, and vice versa. We're blessed with rich diversity on both the dining and drinking fronts. How dull life would be if it were all one thing.

Were I this guy's media consultant, I'd encourage him to make the place seem welcoming to everyone, but ready and able to lead vodka/soda drinkers to exciting, novel experiences. The location suggests he's going to need the custom of the nightclub crowd, which skews young and fairly simple in its tastes. Not every one of those customers will want to take that journey, but not insulting their current preferences is a better place to start.

My favorite craft bars in town do this beautifully: they'll serve you what you want, but are always ready with an enthusiastic, non-condescending suggestion of something not far off from your usual that you might just love, and maybe could open up a new world for you.

up
Voting closed 3

up
Voting closed 22

but there appears to be plenty of that sentiment in this thread. It's a common reaction to fanciness in food and drink here. We're Bostonians, wary of pretension, proud of our salt-of-the-earth, common-sense ability to spot pricey bullshit and laugh at it. It sometimes bleeds over into a kind of culinary anti-elitism, a myopic underappreciation of sophistication in technique and intention in food and drink. Sometimes we mistake craft for puffery.

I've long said that our scene is only properly understood across the range of its types of restaurants and bars, high to low. I often slag the self-styled foodie types who spend all their time chasing after the latest trendy downtown spot and ignoring the more modest neighborhood hangouts and places where immigrant chefs are cooking for other immigrants, not dumbing it down for longer-situated locals. To appreciate the richness of our scene, you have to go high and low. The analogous mistake I'm warning against is shunning sophistication.

My usual at my local, which I'm at at least weekly, is whiskey neat with a beer back, but I also frequent places like Drink and backbar and The Hawthorne. Be open to the virtues of both, is what I'm saying, even when one schmuck's ideas about promoting his own fancy place are risible and even repellent.

up
Voting closed 22

Gee this is kinda tasteless.. "hobo" is a slur that I was told eons ago wasn't very appropriate (or as we say now..."not PC")

Technically it isn't directly a homeless person, but poor migrant worker or a homeless vagrant. Just someone with no home on purpose going to place to place. Typically working odd jobs or begging enough to have income to eat and travel and get by.

Verses a Bum, who doesn't work or Tramp, who only works when forced.

All of these terms were popular post Civil War US (1860s) as the railroads expanded.

But these days, most equate it to a homeless person, the same as bum or tramp.

up
Voting closed 6

rest of the cocktail menu's high-conceptness doesn't particularly bother me -- if the drinks are actually delicious. I recently had a cocktail at Bar Le Lab in Montreal that was served in a Chinese take-out carton, which might be stupid if the cocktail weren't a delectable, original riff on a 30s-vintage Tiki cocktail, well worth the C$14.

This GM's previous stint was running the bar at Committee in the Seaport, where he hoed a slightly less outré row with drinks. I had two issues there: I didn't like most of his original specialty cocktails (they looked interesting on paper but were usually too sweet: rookie-drinker concoctions in craft-cocktail drag); and his lieutenants were mostly sub-par, lacking solid technical and hospitality chops. I suspect they were hired more for their looks.

At this new place, he's starting with a really solid veteran in Moe Isaza as his bar manager, so maybe he learned something. Moe is also known for training his underlings well, unlike some places where you'll get a stellar drink if you sit in front of the star, and maybe a dud from anyone else.

But the, ahem, bar in this town is a high one if you want to be creative and charge big-ticket prices for cocktails. Boston went from zero craft-cocktail culture 20 years ago to a pretty rich, diversified one with a much cannier audience today. If your drinks aren't as well-balanced as they are flashy, and if your staff isn't uniformly both technically polished and able to make any customer who walks in feel welcome and loved, you're going to be a flash in the pan. Nothing wears off faster than flimsy novelty at $15-$17 a pop.

I'm going to try this place, because I have to try every place. I'm keeping an open mind, despite this initial misstep.

up
Voting closed 6