The Hopewell Bar & Kitchen could open in Allston in mid-March, according to Doug Bacon, president of Red Paint Hospitality Group. The group previously operated Shanghai Social Club in the same space (1277 Commonwealth Ave.) and is also behind White Horse Tavern, The Avenue (soon to be The Surf), Harry's Bar & Grill, The Corner Tavern, and The Last Drop.
Shanghai Social Club, a Chinese-inspired restaurant, closed in late 2014 after about a year in business. "It didn't work out, much to my disappointment," said Bacon. When a sale of the space didn't come to fruition, he looked at his other venues and realized that another neighborhood-oriented restaurant "would do just fine" in Allston.
The Hopewell is meant to be a casual spot where area residents can comfortably go multiple times a week to dine on a menu of sandwiches, shareable appetizers, grilled pizzas, and a raw bar. The beer selection will focus on American craft brews (there will be 16 draught lines), and the liquor list will highlight bourbons and whiskeys. Mitch Wilcox is chef — he has previously worked at The Corner Tavern and Harry's — and he's developing the menu with Josh Davis, who oversees food operations for the whole restaurant group.
While some remnants of the Shanghai Social Club decor remain, most of the Asian accents are gone; the new vibe is that of a contemporary neighborhood spot. The tabletops and bar tops are new, made from reclaimed yellow pine from a Holyoke mill. There are new light fixtures as well. And there will be games — think shuffleboard, a pool table, and retro pinball and video games. Unlike some of the group's other venues, The Hopewell is not intended to be a remake of an English pub, said Bacon.
The restaurant seats about 100, with a total capacity around 180, and warmer weather will see some sidewalk dining. To start, The Hopewell will be open seven days a week from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. (kitchen until midnight), and within a few weeks, Bacon expects that Saturday and Sunday brunch will be up and running.