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Coronavirus ends the Jamaica Plain institution of Bella Luna

Bella Luna logo

Bella Luna Restaurant and Milkyway Lounge, which survived a traumatic move from Hyde Square to the Brewery complex, couldn't beat Covid-19: It announced today it's shutting for good because the very nature of its business - a social gathering place - is now untenable due to Covid-19 concerns.

The mission of our business is to gather people together in groups, to foster social closeness - the opposite of social distancing. Gathering in groups is not going to be a safe activity until there is a widely-available vaccine or treatment. We are not comfortable putting our team members and guests at risk of contracting the virus while working and dining in our space. Also, the public health hazards of Covid-19 will exist for over a year; and without being able to operate at full capacity, our business is not financially sustainable.

The restaurant and lounge became a JP meeting spot over its nearly 28-year history, and continued even as it had to shut its candlepin lanes and pick up and move several blocks away in 2008 after a rent dispute with its Hyde Square landlord.

Thank you for making Bella Luna & The Milky Way your second home, for becoming friends with us and our team, for celebrating life’s most precious moments with us. It has been our honor to serve you all.

We are proud of having created a vibrant and safe space for all, founded in the values of generosity, inclusivity, creativity and respect. We are proud of our team members, past and present, who worked with tremendous dedication and commitment to carry out our special brand of hospitality with a purpose. We are proud of our wonderful promoting partners and the countless talented performers who expressed themselves through music, dance, art, spoken word, opera, crafts, comedy, story-telling & fashion, and to all who came to witness and celebrate that talent. Thank you all for having fun and creating community in our space. We are proud of having used our business to support so many amazing non-profit organizations and individuals working to build a better Boston; thank you for giving us the opportunity to help.

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Trying to understand why the JPNDC couldn’t help them out on rent here. What’s the real story?

Voting closed 32

Fer gawd sakes, that Hyde Square location can’t be rented in the last 12 years? It’s a disservice to the area. Landlord obviously doesn’t care about the neighborhood.

Voting closed 9

It seems like there would be plenty of outdoor space there though.

Voting closed 20

Yeah, but looking at a time frame of "over a year" includes winter.

Voting closed 24

We’re talking about that. Maybe it will be a mild winter like last year, maybe you can use outdoor heat lamps. Or maybe you do takeout only for a little while. It just seems like there’s something else here.

Voting closed 15

If you have insight into how a restaurant can survive with limited indoor seating, outdoor seating through a New England winter and the usual tight margins, you would be the greatest restaurateur in the world. You could make millions as a consultant.

Voting closed 22

My real name is Gordon Ramsey and I make millions as a restaurant consultant.

Voting closed 12

Virus or not there should be more outdoor options around Boston in winter. Not everyone is afraid of a little cold weather. It feels good to have a coffee or a beer outside on a winter afternoon.

Voting closed 21

But the restaurant is just one part of who they are. The "club" part (for lack of a better word), is what a lot of people use it for.

Voting closed 15

I am sad beyond words! It does seem like there should be plenty of outdoor dining space-- others have done it!

Voting closed 10

It seems like other legacy businesses are using Covid 19 as the impetus to just retire and let go. Not doubting Covid had a lot to do with it, but maybe it wasn’t worth figuring out solutions. Gotta be exhausting after 27 years. Instead the blanket excuse is Covid.

Voting closed 6

Bella Luna was such a part of the funky fabric of JP. This is a truly terrible loss to the community. I wish the owners well and thank them for all the wonderful memories. This hits hard.

Voting closed 51

How can we stop this from happening? Can we create a gofundme?

Voting closed 14