The West End is about to get a new cocktail spot: Shelter (237 Friend St.) opens in the Hurricane O’Reilly’s back room this Thursday, June 8.
“The beverage program at Shelter will be influenced by the drinking culture of Caribbean islands like Cuba and Puerto Rico,” says Shelter beverage consultant Will Isaza (Tiger Mama, Tapestry, Fairsted Kitchen). “Rum cocktails will definitely be in the spotlight with a section titled ‘Los Classicos’ [see menu below] highlighting the rum libations we all learned to love. The ‘House Cocktails’ will feature a wide range of spirits and cordials while still focusing on those quintessential Caribbean flavors. We want the drinks to transport the guests to a place where they can lounge, mingle, relax, maybe listen to some live music, and above all, have fun.” Be on the lookout for smoked cocktails, classic mojitos, and hand-cut ice, notes Isaza.
“A place where people can feel comfortable — that is the ultimate goal,” says Isaza.
Previously used for spillover seating for Hurricane O’Reilly’s, the room that is about to become Shelter now features red tablecloths, low lighting, and knick-knacks and signage from 1950s-era Cuba to give the feel of a small bar in Havana, says Glynn Hospitality Group beverage director Vinny Polcari. (Aside from Hurricane O’Reilly’s and Shelter, the Glynn group also includes Brownstone, Dillon’s, Granary Tavern, and several other bars and restaurants around Boston.)
“While the ‘speakeasy’ trend has been consistent across the river in Cambridge and Somerville,” says Polcari, “in Boston, we have only seen a handful of places pop up. Every summer after the Bruins and Celts season is over, the North Station area of town sees a drastic reduction in foot traffic, but we are hoping that Shelter will get people into the neighborhood for some amazing craft cocktails with a Caribbean theme.”
Need some food alongside daiquiris and mojitos? The North East of the Border food truck has a summer-long pop-up at the Hurricane O’Reilly’s kitchen, so there will be plenty of tacos to eat, from barbacoa and chicken tinga to carne asada and Baja fish.
Starting June 8, Shelter is open Wednesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. Live jazz will begin a week or two after the opening.
Here’s the cocktail menu: