At the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets, right across from the Common, the Grand Masonic Lodge has always given off a mysterious vibe, with intricate mosaics plastering the exterior instead of windows. But today, a new restaurant opens within the lodge, and now the Tremont Street side has plenty of windows, letting sun into Explorateur, an all-day full-service restaurant and bar.
Explorateur is the latest project from the Big Night Entertainment Group, which generally operates more club-oriented spots (Gem, Red Lantern, and Empire in Boston, as well as several venues at Foxwoods and at Foxborough’s Patriot Place, along with the forthcoming Scorpion Bar in Boston’s Seaport). Explorateur, though, is geared at dining rather than dancing, drawing inspiration from European-style cafes and serving a menu that touches on French cuisine as well as Californian.
Here’s a peek inside the space, designed by Peter Niemitz of Niemitz Design Group — a familiar face in the Boston restaurant scene. (He’s also behind Red Lantern and Empire, along with many other local spots.) Spanning over 5,000 square feet, Explorateur includes a 66-seat cafe area with a marble, brass, and oak coffee bar and pastry counter; restored century-old coffered ceilings; and a private dining space called the “Library Room” that can hold up to 200 people.
Explorateur is open for breakfast (in the cafe) from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The bar is open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and there is also weekend brunch.