Category Archives: South End

New South End restaurant Marseille hints at opening

Back in December I shared that the team behind Petit Robert would be opening a new restaurant in the South End called Marseille. The new restaruant will focus on southern French cuisine and operate out of the space that was formerly home to Gaslight Brasserie. 

Initially slated to open in February or March, the restaurant’s Instagram account yesterday hinted that the opening would be soon. There is more work to be done, but it’s possible they could be looking at an April opening.

Last week, two of the three large patio umbrellas that had been installed by the previous restaurant were removed. It is unclear if they will be reinstalled, but otherwise there has been little change from outside the restaurant. However, it appears as if renovations inside have progressed. Follow their Instagram account to stay up to date on their progress.

Boston proposes new green space over the Mass Pike for the South End and Chinatown

Parcel 21: Between Washington & Shawmut Streets

Last week the Streets Blog had an article about the city of Boston using Federal funds to expand green space in the South End and Chinatown neighborhoods to cover the I-90 trench that divides the two neighborhoods. Considering the large number of sizeable residential buildings that now abutt Herald Street and the ongoing development, I take this as great news.

According to the article, funds will be used to convert four blocks of the I-90 trench, from Arlington and Tremont Streets in the west to Harrison Avenue in the east with a goal to reconnect these communities. Initial efforts will focus on building over Parcel 21 (shown above) to create open space with intentions to prepare design guidelines for the remaining parcels.

This decision marks a departure from city planning which for nearly 50 years has looked to private investment to build over the I-90 trench. Who can say if this new focus on stitching these neighborhoods together will materialize (this is Boston after all), but I’m heartened by the change in policy, because both the South End and Chinatown desperately need more green space.

I hope there will also be an effort to include tennis and basketball courts. The influx of residential buildings in this part of the city has put a huge strain on the only sizeable park in the area, Peter’s Park, which is nearly always at capacity.

Casa Giacomo’s in the South End opens today

Last spring, after 27 years in business, owner Jackie Taglieri sold Giacomo’s South End. The space closed for renovations shortly after that and has been closed since. On Christmas the new owners announced on Instagram (here) that Casa Giacomo’s would be opening soon but were vague about when.

Last night I was told Casa Giacomo’s will have a soft opening tonight. Initially, the restaurant will only be accepting walk-ins for dinner. The new owners are the team behind the much loved Kava Neo Taverna and Ilona, so I’m very excited to see how they have updated this neighborhood restauarant and what touches they have added to make it their own. Casa Giacomo’s is open daily (starting today) at 5:00 PM.

Casa Giacomo’s
431 Columbus Avenue

Cathedral Station will remain open

It appears the EBNA’s message to the South End Community Facebook Group indicating that Cathedral Station would be closing was incorrect and due to a typo. In yesterday’s post I shared a copy of their January 3rd meeting agenda, here.

However, in a separeate conversation on Reddit last night Jostlose_w8 shared this message. Indicating that the owner of the building is entertaining renting space at 1220 Washington Street to a dispensary. I’ve included the City of Boston’s community meeting for proposed cannabis establishment invite below the Reddit comment. Under the image I’ve also included a link if you’d like to know more about that meeting and wish to attend / participate.

For more infomration about this meeting on January 18, 2023 click here.

The Kartal Boston in South End opens Thursday

The highly anticipated and long awaited opening of The Kartal (the former home of Boston Eagle) will have a soft opening on Thursday.

The Kartal is the first cocktail bar to open in the South End in a long time, and it’s my hope is that this cozy space can be a friendly place for Boston’s gay community to come together. The Kartal will not be marketed as a gay bar but then again neither was Stella, 647 Tremont, or Boston Chops and yet due to their patronage they became unofficial gay bars of Boston.

The new owners are quite familiar with the bar’s history and they have carefully chosen everything from the name to unique decorations and design with its past in mind. For example, the name of the bar, The Kartal, comes from the Turkish word for eagle. Additionally, when you visit, check out the newly tiled mosaic entry. It depicts a two-headed eagle with the dates 1981 and 2021, noting the 40 years the Boston Eagle operated at 520 Tremont Street. The two-headed eagle also symbolizes both the the original and “new” eagle.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about The Kartal in the future, after I’ve had a chance to stop by and enjoy a cocktail or two. Over the coming weeks, I hope you will also stop by to enjoy a drink and check out the new space. After you visit, let me know what you think.

The Kartal
520 Tremont Street (South End)
Open daily from 5PM – 2AM

SoWa Health + Wellness 2023 opening

When the Boston Sports Club South End closed at the end of March 2022, the neighborhood lost a large and popular gym. Rather than negotiate with the BSC for another longterm lease, the property owner, GTI Properties, made the bold move to takeover the space and redesign it as a health and wellness center that they would own and manage.

SoWa Health + Wellness eyes a January 1, 2023 opening

This spring, GTI Properties hinted at an October 2022 opening and to increase awareness and interest SoWa Health + Wellness hosted a free pop-up in the SoWa Power Station in June. The popular event included bootcamp, yoga, dance, and kickboxing classes by trainers who will be working at the gym when it opens.

Unfortunately, the remodeling efforts have required more work and time than initially anticipated and GTI Properties is now eyeing a January 1, 2023 opening. If you are looking for more information about classes, ammenities, and membership dues, GTI will likely begin sharing that at the start of the holiday season. Look for more information about the SoWa Health + Wellness center at this year’s SoWa Winter Festival, which is scheduled to open on Black Friday and run through Sunday, December 11th.

Brasserie (formerly Gaslight) has closed

Yesterday, the Boston Restaurant Talk blog broke the news that Brasserie in the South End would be closing immediately. The restaurant which was overtaken by the property management company, GTI Properties and managed by Jeff Gates a former partner of The Aquitaine Group, which owned the Gaslight Brasserie du Coin had only been open for business since May 2021.

Minimal effort was put into the new restaurant which struck me more as a knock off of the original restaurant. It is unclear what will become of the space or if GTI Properties will continue to run the space. The same property management company has sunk significant money into updating and remodeling another former Aquitaine Group restaurant space (Cinquecento) just up the street. The initial plan was for that space to open this year as Roma 500. No word on the status of that space either.

SoWa Health + Wellness free pop-up

SoWa Health + Wellness

SoWa Health + Wellness free pop-up will take place at the SoWa Power Station on Saturday June 11th, from 7:30 am – 12 pm.

SoWa Health + Wellness will be opening in the space formerly known as the Boston Sports Club South End later this fall but in June there will be a free pop-up at the SoWa Power Station located at 550 Harrison Avenue for members of the community interested in learning more about the programming that will be available when it opens. Free parking will be offered to all who come to check out one of the fitness classes offered on Saturday, June 11th.

8:00 am – 8:45 am – MoveStudios HIIT Bootcamp with Andrew LaCombe –  @movestudios_boston
A high intensity bootcamp powered by MoveStudios, one of Boston’s premier personal training groups!

9:00 am – 9:45 am – Yoga with Gina Molinari –  @ginamolinari
This is a flow class perfect for all levels. You will find this class is a wonderful way to begin your day while building flexibility and strength of body with calmness of mind.

10:00 am – 10:45 am – 305 Dance with Jessica Edwards –  @miss_jeds
305 is an addictively fun dance cardio class that works you head to toe! Drop it low, tone it up, and shake it out to a fire beat!

11:00 am – 11:45 am – Kickboxing with Alejandra Bethermyt –  @alebfitness
Kick, punch, and move to the beat of a fun electrifying workout that will help you leave it all out there on the workout floor!

Space is limited so register today!

A DJ will provide music to keep you going and healthy snacks and beverages will be available, as well as lockers for storage. Attendees are asked to bring their own mat and towel.

SOLD! Giacomo’s South End

After 27 years in business, Jackie Taglieri has sold Giacomo’s South End. The neighborhood restaurant, which has other locations (notably the original in Boston’s North End), has a reputation for making consistently delicious Italian-American cuisine.

While it can be sad to see a much loved restaurant change hands, that isn’t the case here. The new owners (Irakli Gogitidze, George Axiotis, and Jesus Preciado) are familiar with the South End, and are the team behind the much loved Kava Neo Taverna and Ilona.

When I spoke to Irakli about the change in ownership, he was candid about how much the team respects Taglieri and their commitment to the restaurant and its patrons. Later this year they plan to make some much needed renovations and to rebrand the restaurant as Casa Giacomo’s to pay homage to its past while helping to distinguish it from the other Giacomo’s locations, which are under different ownership. 

I’m very excited to see some much needed investment in this space and look forward to what this creative team will do. If you haven’t been to Giacomo’s South End in a while, perhaps it is time to make plans and check out the restaurant.

I want to wish Irakli, George, and Jesus much luck and success with their new restaurant as they help breathe new life into this neighborhood gem.

Boston neighborhoods

Boston is comprised of 23 neighborhoods. Many of the downtown neighborhoods span less than a square mile, but they are full of interesting sites and places of interest. To that end, this month I selected four downtown neighborhoods and shared my thoughts about what make them worth visiting.

South End

I started this series with the neighborhood I know best, the South End. I’ve lived here for nearly twenty years now but have been visiting since I moved back to Boston in the late 1990s.

The South End is incredibly charming. Built on landfill in the mid-19th century as a residential district for Boston’s growing upper middle-class, hundreds of Victorian Bow Fronts were built and today it’s the largest enclave of urban Victorian residential architecture in the country. The picturesque neighborhood is full of parks, unique shops and restaurants and cafes. While only a few gay bars remain in the South End, this was an enclave for Boston’s LGBTQ+ community from the 1970s – 2000s. While most of the businesses that catered to the gay community have closed or moved online, it’s where many in Boston’s gay community come out for dinner or to meet up with friends for drinks. Read my full profile of the South End here.

Back Bay

I moved into the Back Bay in the late 1990s after living in Atlanta for a few years. I thought I’d live in my apartment on Commonwealth Avenue for a year maybe two but ultimately, I stayed in the Back Bay for six years. I still consider it a homebase and love this neighborhood for all that it has to offer.

If you’ve visited Boston, you’ve probably spent time in the Back Bay. It is a centrally located, afluent neighborhood with some of Boston’s most iconic buildings, busiest streets, best restaurants, bars and shops. It is chock-full of office buildings, hotels, retailers, restaurants and of course residents. Tourists will love the parks (my favorite is The Esplanade) that run through this neighborhood, but Back Bay also has amazing architecture ranging from the modern I.M. Pei design of The Hancock Tower built in the 1970s to the beautiful McKim Building of the Boston Public Library and its hidden Italianate Courtyard that dates back to the late 1800s. In addition, this neighborhood has no shortage of restaurants, bars and shopping so there is plenty to see and do when here. Read my full profile of the Back Bay here.

christopher sherman

Beacon Hill

I never lived in Beacon Hill but one of my best friends went to Suffolk University which is located here. I also spent many hours at bars in this neighborhood in my late 20s and early 30s.

Beacon Hill is a popular destination for visitors due to its many historical sites, with some dating back to the 1600s. While this neighborhood is less than a square quarter mile in size it contains a lot to see and enjoy with its pretty as a postcard streets to its many Freedom Trail sites of interest to great restaurants and good pubs. While the neighborhood’s stodgy image is well deserved there is still plenty of fun to be had here and my favorite time of year to visit is in the summer when you can sit outside and enjoy the people watching along Charles Street. For more information about this historic and interesting neighborhood, read my full profile of Beacon Hill here.

North End

The North End is where my maternal grandmother grew up as a kid. My brother briefly lived here and at the moment one of my cousins call the North End home. While I’ve never lived here, it is this familial connection to this tiny neighborhood that makes me feel connected to it.

The North End is charming unless you’re driving then it is a nightmare. The neighborhood is comprised of a maze of narrow, meandering streets that are chock-full of Italian restaurants, bakeries and cafes. The tiny neighborhood is hemmed in between Boston’s inner harbor to the North and East and The Rose Kennedy Greenway (a.k.a. The Greenway) to the West and South. This neighborhood is for those who love American History (esp. American Revolution) and for those who love food. For more information about Boston’s “Little Italy”, read my full profile of the North End here.

BSC South End closes tomorrow

Earlier this month I posted the lease for the BSC South End would not be renewed by the landlord, GTI Properites, and tomorrow will be the last day the gym will be open.

It seems to me that the BSC South End has been the gym everyone has loved to hate, but in retrospect, despite the issues (and there were many), I will miss this gym. It is a large space with many windows and high ceilings, has a great indoor pool, large free weights and cardio sections, and when it first opened they had many great classes (I still miss Melany’s lunchtime abs classes).

Over the years, I met and made many friends there. Perhaps that is what I will miss the most with the gym’s closing. However, rather than leave BSC altogether like many have opted, I’ve decided to remain and will now work out at the Downtown Crossing location so perhaps I’ll see you there.

Former bar, Boston Eagle, will become The KARTAL

Last March I shared that The Boston Eagle had closed. Since then a lot has happened and about 8 weeks ago the owners, who are listed as Two Greeks and a Persian, LLC, petitioned the Boston Licensing Board to make changes to the exterior of 520 Tremont Street for a bar called, Kartal.

Kartal is eyeing a late April / early May opening, but considering the amount of work to be done that seems aggressive. Shahrokh Reza was listed as the manager in the petition and is affiliated with local nightclub group, Pasha Entertainment. Much progress has been made since my post last fall (see here), but much more needs to be done.

A lot of clean up has happened since last fall. From this photo taken earlier this week you can see the bathrooms are (thankfully) being expanded and improved and a small kitchen will be added to serve light appetizers for the cocktail bar. It appears the original tile flooring and bar will remain.

In the coming month you’ll see changes to the exterior, including new lighting fixtures, the removal of the ugly metal grates over the windows, a fresh paint job, and a new tiled entry with the dates 1981 and 2021, noting the 40 years the Boston Eagle operated at 520 Tremont Street.

As more information becomes available, I’ll be sure to share with you what I learn. If you have more information, please reach out to me.

CORRECTION: Shahrokh Reza is not affiliated with Ilona as initially shared in this post, but is directly involved with Pasha Entertainment.

Boston Sports Club South End to close


Earlier this morning The Boston Sports Club notified members that they have “made the difficult decision to close our South End location permanently. The last day to work out inside this club will be March 31st.”

I first wrote about this possibility in January in my post Is the Boston Sports Club South End closing? What remains to be seen is what happens next? In my January post I speculated one of two likely options. The first would be for another fitness chain to come in and rent the space, but the other option which I think is likely would be for the landlord, GTI Properties to overtake and manage it much like they are doing with two former Aquitaine Group restaurant spaces (Gaslight and Cinquecento).

Stay tuned for more details.  

UPDATED March 2, 2022 at 5:00PM: GTI Properties announces they will reopen this space in the fall as a health and wellness facility that will have at least 5 studios and offer a variety of classes. The facility will be eliminating the pool and reusing the space for group fitness classes. More details about rates, membership and opening dates will be forthcoming in the summer.

Is the Boston Sports Club South End closing?

The BSC South End lease will expire this spring

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about the future of the Boston Sports Club South End. Current and former employees have confirmed that the BSC would like to sign a new lease and the manager has indicated that negotiations with the landlord, GTI Properties are ongoing.

The current lease is set to expire this spring. If the BSC lease expires, it’s not clear if the space would be re-purposed, another chain would takeover, or if GTI would takeover the gym. While managing a gym would be a stretch for GTI, anything is possible. Last year, GTI Properties formed the SoWa Hospitality Group and hired Jeff Gates (former partner of Aquitaine Group) to manage food and beverage operations at the SoWa Powerstation, Brasserie, and Roma 500 (slated to open later this year). I hope the BSC and GTI come to some agreement. The uncertainty is frustrating, because it disincentivizes BSC from making any further investments or to improve the facility.

UPDATE: March 2, 2022 Boston Sports Club South End to close

National gym chains vs boutique studios

Regardless of the fate of the BSC South End, if the space remains a fitness center, the gym will need to do more to fend off competition from the many boutique studios that have opened. While these smaller studios are more expensive, their popularity increased during the pandemic.

During the pandemic two gyms opened blocks from the BSC SE, Elite Training Group (operated by former BSC SE trainers) and Epoc Studios. But these are hardly the only boutique studios to open. A quick Google search will show a dozen such gyms within blocks of the BSC SE — several of them owned and opened by former BSC South End trainers who’s clients followed them.

Boston’s South End cafes

handsome, hunk, man drinking coffee
Current locally-owned & independent coffee houses in the South End

During these cold months, the many small, independent coffee houses in the South End become a great place to meet up with someone or to get out.

I wanted to update my 2015 post, Boston’s many South End coffee houses. For the purpose of this post, I have intentionally omitted the large, national chains (2 Dunkin’, 1 Starbucks, 1 Peets Coffee, and 1 Caffè Nero) in the South End. I want to showcase local coffee houses that brew different coffees and have far more personality. I hope this post encourages you to find a local coffee house and make it your own. Save the chains for when you’re on the road or at an airport.

Below is a map of independent coffee houses in the South End. All of these places have space to sitdown and enjoy your coffee. I’ve also included the price for a small cup of coffee, the coffee they serve and details about the coffee house.

  1. Render Coffee House – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. Render serves their own brand of coffee and is best known for their pour-over brew method. The first coffee house was in the South End but this coffee house now has a location in the Financial District and Seaport.
  2. Café Madeleine – Price for a small coffee is $2.00. The cafe serves La Colombe coffee. This tiny cafe has limited seating (and none during the pandemic). Aside from having good coffee they have the best croissants, according to this blind croissant tasting I hosted.
  3. Jaho Coffee & Tea House – Price for a small coffee is $2.80. They serve their own brand of coffee and in some of their other locations they also serve wine in the evenings. Originally, based in Salem, MA Jaho now has three locations in Boston.
  4. Flour Bakery and Cafe – Price for a small coffee is $3.25. Flour serves Fazenda coffee (a local coffee roaster). This is the first Flour Bakery and Cafe (opening in 2000). Now the popular cafe has nine locations in Boston and Cambridge.
  5. Greystone Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. The cafe serves Proud Mary Coffee. This location was formerly the Appleton Bakery but a mother / daughter team opened Greystone in September 2020 with a beautiful walk-up window.
  6. Kohi Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. They serve Tandem coffee and are best known for their pour-over brew method. The first cafe opened in Provincetown but there are now three locations in Boston.
  7. Berkeley Perk Café – Price for a small coffee is $2.50. “The Perk” as I call it serves its own brand of coffee and is the longest continually running coffee house in the South End. It first opened its doors in the late 1990s (I believe 1998).
  8. South End Buttery – Price for a small coffee is $2.60. The coffee house serves Equator coffee. Richard first opened this space in 2005 and transformed this corner of the South End. In 2014 I conducted a blind chocolate chip cookie tasting and the Buttery’s cookie took top honors. Maybe I should do this again. The Buttery has a sister location at 37 Clarendon St. that remains unmarked above because its status since the pandemic remains uncertain.
  9. Tatte Bakery & Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. Tatte serves Stumptown Coffee. The South End location is teh largest coffee / cafe in the neighborhood yet this giant space does fill up (especially in the morning). In recent years, Tatte has expanded rapidly and now there are approximately 20 locations in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline.
  10. Cuppacoffee – Price for a small coffee is $2.36. The Australian coffee house serves Abbotsford Road (an Australian roaster now in the US). If you go, I recommend ordering a Long Black (an Australian version of an Americano). This coffee house has one other location in Boston.
  11. Mod Espresso – Price for a small coffee is $4.00. They serve La Colombe coffee. I enjoy the staff at this coffee house inside the high end furniture store Modern Relik.
  12. Blunch – Price for a small coffee is $2.01. They serve karma Coffee. Better known for their delicious sandwiches, cookies and treats, the space is well loved and has a strong loyal customer base.

Blackbird Doughnuts (Not on the map – my bad) – Price for a small (16oz – yikes) coffee is $2.50 and is from Fazenda Coffee (a local coffee roaster). While no indoor seating is available, they do have a popular bench which makes for good people watching if you can snag the space with a friend. The shop is located near Tremont & Berkeley Street.