Jason Waddleton, owner of Boston's only Scottish pub, the Haven in Hyde Square in Jamaica Plain, tonight detailed his plans to move into the much larger space at the Brewery Complex left vacant when Bella Luna closed a year ago.
In a Zoom meeting with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council's Public Service Committee, Waddleton said the new, larger space would let him create new neighborhood gathering space featuring an expanded menu of Scottish and comfort food - including pizza - events ranging from comedy and musical performances to an expanded Burns Night and a far larger collection of the single-malt scotches the Haven's already known for.
Waddleton said JP might even end up with two Havens - the original one which has been open for 11 yeas now, and the new, larger location at the Brewery. Waddleton said this will depend on whether he can get a new liquor license for the Brewery location; if one isn't available, he would try to transfer his current liquor license from Hyde Square to the Brewery.
Waddleton said actually converting the old Bella Luna space into the new Haven would not take much work because the Bella Luna folks left it in good shape as a restaurant and event space - and that includes the two pizza ovens he would use to start a pizza service. He said if things go well with obtaining licenses from the city and state, the new space could open in August or September.
He said he is looking at a guest-chef series, in which chefs from other parts of the city would spend a weekend or week preparing their own dishes, in addition to expanding his existing menu. He said he's also looking at summer offerings for the patio the new space comes with.
Waddleton, who has worked in restaurants for much of his adult life, from Scotland and London to Brookline, added he also wants to make the Haven a new music venue for JP residents and musicians; the neighborhood has "an amazing array of talent" and the new space has a dedicated event area.
Unlike many JP neighborhood meetings, which often devolve into tense faceoffs over gentrification, density and the current bland state of residential architecture, tonight's hearing was what resident Scott Shear called "a lovefest." Every resident who spoke, including Shear, supported an expanded Haven.
Sarah Lee, who called herself "a longtime fan of Jason and the Haven," said she is "really excited to have some life back in the Brewery district." Others, who said they still feel the void left by Bella Luna's closing, said they could think of nobody better than Waddleton to bring back the sort of neighborhood spot that Bella Luna provided.
The Public Service Committee then voted unanimously to support Waddleton's effort in general and said that when he formally applies for liquor and entertainment licenses, it will support it at hearings in City Hall.
After the vote, Waddleton acknowledged doubts about making such a major move, but the support from residents tonight convinced him he is making the right decision.