The Raffles Hotel and condo tower under construction on Trinity Place behind the Hancock Building will feature several places to get a drink, including what developer Jordan Warshaw says will be a "sky speakeasy," possibly the first in the world, some 200 feet and 17 stories up.
At a Boston Licensing Board hearing this morning, Warshaw said the 35-story building will have 147 Raffles hotel rooms and 108 condos - 38 of them "pied a terre" units for people who need a studio-sized space for when they jet into Boston for a holiday or business trip.
Warshaw said he's expecting the tower to be open for occupancy by mid-2023.
Warshaw is seeking an overall liquor license for the building, which his attorney, Andrew Upton, said will feature five separate dining areas, including a marquee two-story restaurant with 170 to 200 seats to be run by a "local fine-dining chef" who has yet to be selected, as well as a patisserie and the sky speakeasy on the 17th floor.
Speakeasies originated during Prohibition, when people would knock on a grubby little door and provide a password for admission. These days, admission to modern speakeasies more typically simply means knowing which "walk-in freezer" or similar door to walk through. Warshaw did not specify what "secret' the modern-day Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan will have to know to gain entree.
Warshaw and hotel manager Oliver Dudler appeared before the board to formally request a liquor license. In the likely event board has none to dole out, Warshaw will have to go on the open market to buy one due to the state-imposed limit on the number of liquor licenses in Boston. Currently, full liquor licenses are going for upwards of $400,000 just to purchase, before the city charges an annual fee, the amount of which varies on the number of seats.
The board votes tomorrow on whether to grant the license request.
The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay voted to not oppose the request.