Welcome to the Tall Ship at Pier One, Front Porch of the New East Boston
A floating restaurant and an ephemeral adult playground overflowing with rosé have come to life on the fringes of a rapidly changing neighborhood.
A new East Boston has arrived. If the rapid influx of new homes, trendy bars and restaurants, and young urban professionals hasn’t already convinced you of this fact, the massive pop-up that has come to life on Pier One this summer should.
The centerpiece of this new outdoor gathering space is the new Tall Ship Restaurant, a 245-foot-long former charter boat with a bar. A work of the Navy Yard Hospitality Group, it was originally intended to be docked in Charlestown, but instead settled in Eastie, floating next to a concrete slab the size of a battleship jutting out into the harbor.
On top of all that extra space, the restaurant group headed by Charlie Larner has built a sort of adult playground. In summary, the pier was topped with: nautical blue and white painted stripes, an expanse of artificial turf, a few dozen picnic tables and high peaks, three designated cornhole arenas, a collection of commendable VIP lounges on the edge. water, and a large pink statue of a camel with the words “save water, drink rosé” written on it. Inside reused shipping containers that form a semicircle around it all, you’ll find two full bars, one serving exclusively frozen Blue Chair Bay rum drinks owned by Kenny Chesney, a stand of merchandising and a food stand selling tacos, lobster rolls, and other dishes from Mija and Pier 6. Owned by NYHG. Even more shipping containers, painted in baby blue, were built into a stage for live performances, and there’s a placeholder for food trucks to turn in and out (on a recent Thursday: guys chicken and rice and sausage guys). Fairy lights hang overhead, and in the background a million dollar view of the Boston skyline looms as sailboats and container ships pass by.
“I think we currently have one of the best establishments in town,” says Sal Boscarino, partner of the restaurant group. I think that he is right.
First there is the ship itself, the magnificent 245 feet Caledonia, modernized with an oyster shelling station at its bow and a new smooth bar that flows down its spine. For now, it only serves shellfish and cold cuts on deck, but there is enough space in the hull, which Boscarino says could one day be converted into private dining rooms.
Equally impressive are the size of the pier itself and the seemingly limitless ways it could be transformed. There have been tentative talks about movie nights, art fairs, exercise classes, even pumpkin patch in the fall or a Boston Winter-style pop-up market during the holidays. The plan is to stay here for years and be constantly on the move.
The whole experience is similar in many ways to a handful of other pop-ups in recent years, sharing some DNA with Seaport’s Lawn on D and Cisco Beer Garden, as well as the new Owl’s Nest. at Assembly Row. But none have a view like this. That, along with the ease of access to water and downtown, is a big part of the sudden surge in interest in the neighborhood as a whole, why so much has changed in Eastie more or less overnight. on the next day.
The catering group certainly had a big role to play in this transformation. Its upscale restaurant ReelHouse opened five years ago, long before recent development. His free river shuttle, which connects this restaurant to Pier 6 – and now The Tall Ship – has helped sell the concept of easy travel between ports and made Eastie feel closer to the rest of the city. Soon they will be adding another stop at an upcoming oyster bar on the South Boston Fan Pier.
“When we opened ReelHouse, people were like, ‘Oh, East Boston? It’s so far, ”Boscarino recalls. Now, he said, “I think we’re really helping put East Boston on the map.
The Tall Ship at Pier One got off to a rocky start. Mother Nature has been pouring rain there almost every day since it started just before the 4th of July weekend. But on a recent balmy Thursday, a big scorching sun was finally shining and the place was packed.
The atmosphere was very close to the meeting between Seaport and the Hamptons. The clientele was heavy on white and pastel pants, boat shoes and Birks. Many, excited to finally have a dry forecast and something summer to do, appeared dressed for the club. At the same time, it was a significantly more racially diverse crowd than one would expect given the yacht club’s upscale aesthetic and the less-than-sterling reputation of the yacht club. port in this regard. A handful of families with young children mingled with the stylish twenties and thirties, happily scurrying around the astroturf and dancing to the sound of the reggae band that was livening up the night.
Geographically, it’s a bit confusing. The view from the pier to the west is swallowed up by pristine, nearly identical condo and apartment complexes, meaning the historic Jeffries Point district is completely obscured. It feels like a little adrift on a barge.
The experience is not cheap either. Oysters aboard the tall ship cost $ 4 a pop – you are, after all, aboard a giant beauty of a ship. A pair of (very tasty) tacos from the Mija stand sells for $ 16, easily making them the most expensive you’ll find in an area better known until recently for its authentic Central American food at a great price. Still, it’s free for anyone nearby to come and calm down in the sun, and especially in the late afternoon, a lot of the guests I saw along the pier were just doing that.
For newcomers, however, an unequivocal signal is sent. Later, as I waited in line at one of the shipping container bars, I struck up a conversation with a transplant recipient from Boston in her 20s, who said she didn’t have really thought about Eastie before. But looking around the swarm of young people in disguise, something suddenly clicked for her: “Should I be living in East Boston right now?” She asked, in a tone that suggested she was sincerely reconsidering her North End lease. She said it reminded her, of all places, of Dallas.
The sun was starting to set behind the horizon line, and the fairy lights hung above the head and went up the Caledoniathe masts shone in the twilight. An advertisement for mainlanders on the downtown waterfront and a FOMO beacon stretching across the harbor. At the exit, I tried to count the crowd that was lining up at its entrance, who had come from everywhere to be here, and who lost track to 100.