clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Some Boston-Area Restaurants and Music Venues Are Requiring Proof of Vaccination

In the absence of statewide COVID mandates, cities, towns, and businesses can make their own rules as omicron variant cases are on the rise

A view of vaccine vials against a light blue background with labels that read “COVID-19”
A small but growing number of local businesses are requiring proof of vaccination for those who want to dine or attend shows indoors.
Shutterstock

On December 20, 2021, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a proof-of-vaccination mandate for many indoor spaces within the city of Boston — restaurants, gyms, theaters, and more — that took effect on January 15, 2022, as COVID-19 numbers are on the rise in the city and beyond. It is the first vaccine mandate of its kind in the Boston area (with communities like Brookline and Salem following suit, and with several others also expected to join in), although some individual businesses have been requiring proof of vaccination since the summer.

Back in late July 2021, nearly two months after Massachusetts lifted virtually all COVID-related requirements, Gov. Charlie Baker said he was not planning on reissuing any statewide mask mandates or advisories, although rising case numbers due to the delta variant started causing some cities and towns to make their own calls both in Massachusetts (see Provincetown and Nantucket) and elsewhere around the country (such as Philadelphia and Los Angeles). An increasing number of cities again began recommending or even requiring that everyone — vaccinated or not — wear masks indoors or where social distancing is not possible. Boston, for example, reinstated an indoor mask mandate on August 27, 2021.

Over the summer, in hopes of helping to protect staff and customers, a small but growing number of local restaurants and music venues started announcing that they would require proof of vaccination for indoor diners or show-goers.

“As small business operators we have a civic duty to take care of the health and safety of our guests and employees alike,” Tracy Chang told Eater in July 2021. Chang is the chef and owner of Pagu in Cambridge’s Central Square. “The past year has taught us just how vulnerable are the lives of essential hospitality workers, just how broken the existing hospitality industry is when it comes to wages, benefits, and welfare,” Chang continued. “We now have an opportunity to rebuild the industry to be a better, stronger one, starting one restaurant at a time. The least we can do is pay people more, check for proof of full vaccination, take temperatures at the door, and require masks indoors when not eating/drinking.”

Now, as of mid-January 2021, nearly 76 percent of Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated, a stark contrast to the vaccination rate of the United States as a whole, which is currently hovering around 63.5 percent. (Massachusetts currently has the fifth highest vaccination rate in the country; Vermont is first with almost 79 percent now vaccinated.) But the rise of case counts and hospitalizations, along with questions about the potential impact of the omicron variant, are causing some local governments and individual businesses to buckle in for another difficult winter.

Below, find a running list of local restaurants and entertainment venues requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining, show attendance, or specific types of events. This list is updated periodically; please email boston@eater.com if there’s something that should be added.

This article was originally published on July 26, 2021; the most recent update was on January 21, 2022.


Restaurants and Entertainment Venues Requiring Proof of Vaccination

Boston

As of January 15, 2022, all Boston restaurants and entertainment venues are required to check proof of vaccination for indoor dining, attending shows, etc. Some businesses adopted their own proof-of-vaccination policies earlier, including City Winery in Boston’s West End, which started requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours during summer 2021; Royale and Haley Henry downtown; Saltie Girl, Stephanie’s on Newbury, and Café Sauvage in Back Bay; Fox & the Knife, Bar Volpe, and Gray’s Hall in South Boston; Banyan Bar & Refuge in the South End; the Quiet Few in East Boston; Turtle Swamp Brewing in Jamaica Plain; and Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen in Brighton.

The Quiet Few implemented its policy in late summer shortly after finding out that someone at the bar tested positive and proceeding to have the whole staff tested. “Our recent closing was a high inside fastball,” the bar posted on its Instagram account. “We were brushed back. But we need to heed the warning. ... This decision did not come easily. It sucks. It’s tough. We hate it. But it needs to be done.”

Brookline

Brookline’s mandate, similar to Boston’s, began to roll out on January 15, 2022. One key difference is that Brookline’s mandate includes restaurants’ outdoor dining areas, not just indoors. Some restaurants put their own requirements in place earlier, like Mahaniyom, which began asking for proof in late December 2021.

Cambridge

  • Cafe Beatrice (100 N. First St., Cambridge): Requiring proof of vaccination as of January 11, 2022.
  • Cambridge Common (1667 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): Proof of vaccination is required for indoor dining only. All are welcome on the sidewalk and backyard patios (six tables and 28 tables respectively).
  • Club Passim (47 Palmer St., Cambridge): All staff, performers, and customers are required to show proof of vaccination (the card or the photo) upon entering the club; ticket purchases will be refunded for those who cannot or will not show proof. Non-performers must wear masks indoors unless actively eating or drinking. Passim continues to offer livestream performances and online classes.
  • Dear Annie (1741 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): The Cambridge bar, which opened in fall 2021, is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for indoor seating. Outdoor seating on the heated patio is open without restrictions.
  • Flour Bakery & Cafe (multiple Cambridge locations): Following along with the requirements at its Boston locations, all Cambridge Flour locations will also be requiring proof of vaccination as of January 15 for those dining in.
  • Geppetto (100 N. First St., Cambridge): Requiring proof of vaccination as of January 11, 2022.
  • Giulia (1682 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): Requiring proof of at least one COVID vaccination for everyone 12 and up for indoor seating as of January 15, 2022. (The patio is open to all, weather permitting.)
  • Grendel’s Den (89 Winthrop St., Cambridge): The Harvard Square restaurant is requiring proof of vaccination (vaccine cards or photos of vaccine cards, along with a valid ID) for indoor dining when capacity reaches 50 percent. Outdoor seating is available for all.
  • Havana Club (288 Green St., Cambridge): The salsa club is requiring proof of vaccine (either the card or a photo of it) for entry.
  • The Lexington (100 N. First St., Cambridge): Requiring proof of vaccination as of January 11.
  • The Middle East (472-480 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): The Central Square restaurant and club is requiring proof of vaccination (vaccine cards or photos of vaccine cards) for those attending shows or dining. Those who have already purchased tickets to a show but will not be fully vaccinated in time can request a refund from the point of purchase. “We will be following the numbers and information out there and hope this is not a long term policy, but for now, it feels like the right thing to do,” the venue posted on Facebook.
  • Oleana (134 Hampshire St., Cambridge): The restaurant requires proof of vaccination for everyone 12 and up.
  • Pagu (310 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): A statement from chef and owner Tracy Chang notes that the full Pagu team is vaccinated (Chang tells Eater that staff is also undergoing weekly COVID tests), but Chang is “continuing to monitor several factors” when making indoor dining policies, including vaccination rates locally and nationally, variants present in the state and nearby, and accessibility of vaccines for essential workers. In the meantime, masks are required indoors (when not actively eating or drinking). Customers dining indoors will also be asked for a temperature check, contact information, and proof of vaccination (a hard copy, email confirmation, or photo of document) with a government-issued photo ID. Outdoor dining is available to everyone regardless of vaccination status, as weather permits.
  • The Plough and Stars (912 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): The intimate music venue asks all its live music attendees to present a certificate of vaccination or a copy of a vaccine card for entry. “The safety and health of our music attendees — and our Cambridge community at-large — is a vital concern.”
  • Pammy’s (928 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): Requiring proof of vaccination from all customers as of January 24, 2022.
  • Puritan & Co. (1166 Cambridge St., Cambridge): Requiring proof of vaccination as of January 11, 2022.
  • Season to Taste (2447 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge): Requiring proof of vaccination as of December 29, 2021. “We hate to provide any barrier to entry for our guests,” the restaurant posted on its website, “but strongly believe that vaccination is the best way to protect our staff and other guests from spreading Covid. Please be prepared to show either a vaccination card or a photo of your card to the host when you arrive.”
  • The Sinclair (52 Church St., Cambridge): Like other Bowery venues, the Sinclair requires proof of vaccination.
  • State Park (1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge): As of September 16, 2021, State Park is requiring proof of vaccination for those who sit indoors and at the bar. “We know universal masking is a great way to prevent Covid-19, but in restaurant settings like ours, proof of vaccination for indoor dining guests is a more effective tool to combat the spread of Covid where social distancing and masking is less realistic. People who do not show proof of vaccination are welcome to sit outdoors or take their order to go. We want to create a comfortable space for our employees and patrons with this policy, by making it as safe an environment as possible to work and to visit.”
  • Vincent’s (233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave., Cambridge): Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining as of January 2022.

Lynn

  • Nightshade Noodle Bar (73 Exchange St., Lynn): Proof of vaccination is required to dine at Nightshade (the card, a photo of the card, or another official document proving vaccination status), and all diners must also remain masked when not seated. “This the best way we can protect the health of our team and of our guests when in our space. ... Thank you so much for supporting my little baby noodle bar through so much pandemic hell. We will continue to do our best to provide the safest experience and appreciate your understanding and support.”

Salem

Salem implemented a proof-of-vaccination mandate similar to Boston’s, also starting on January 15; read the details here. Some businesses began to require proof earlier, such as Far From the Tree Cider.

Somerville

On January 20, 2022, Somerville’s board of health shot down a citywide proof-of-vaccination mandate for indoor activities in a two-to-one vote. Some businesses have their own policies in place:

  • Backbar (7 Sanborn Ct., Somerville): The Union Square bar is requiring proof of vaccination for entry.
  • Field & Vine (9 Sanborn Ct., Somerville): The restaurant is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result.
  • Juliet (21 Union Sq., Somerville): Diners 12 and up most show proof of vaccination for indoor dining as of January 15, 2022.
  • Rebel Rebel (1 Bow Market Way, Somerville): The tiny wine bar at Bow Market is requiring proof of vaccination for indoor seating. “We’ve decided to move forward with this new policy in response to recent CDC guidelines issued amid the rise of the Delta variant, and as a ‘best guess’ for what our government would likely be recommending if they were in the habit of exhibiting any kind of tangible leadership in the best interest of public health. This new policy is effective today [August 4, 2021] and will remain in effect until we decide it’s safe enough to stop. Until then, wash your hands, vote, and be good to each other.” (Masks, per the city of Somerville, are required indoors regardless of vaccination status.)
  • River Bar (661 Assembly Row, Somerville): The Assembly Row bar is requiring proof of vaccination as of December 31, 2021.
  • Spoke Wine Bar (89 Holland St., Somerville): Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.
  • Tanám (1 Bow Market Way, Somerville): Proof of vaccination required for indoor diners over five years of age.

Tanám at Bow Market

1 Bow Market Wy., Suite 17, Somerville, MA 02143 (617) 669-2144 Visit Website

The Plough and Stars

912 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02139 (617) 576-0032 Visit Website

Cambridge Common

1667 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02138 (617) 547-1228 Visit Website

Flour Bakery + Cafe (Fort Point)

12 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 617 338 4333 Visit Website

Puritan & Co.

1166 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617 615 6195 Visit Website

Gray's Hall

615 East Broadway, , MA 02127 (617) 269-1001 Visit Website

Fox & The Knife

28 West Broadway, , MA 02127 (617) 766-8630 Visit Website

Juliet

21 Union Square, , MA 02143 (617) 718-0958 Visit Website

haley.henry

45 Province Street, , MA 02108 (617) 208-6000 Visit Website

Pagu

310 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02139 (617) 945-9290 Visit Website

Bar Volpe

170 West Broadway, , MA 02127 (617) 865-7100 Visit Website

Stephanie's On Newbury

190 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116 617 236 0990 Visit Website

The Middle East Restaurant

472-480 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 864-3278

City Winery

1 Canal St., Boston, MA 02114 (617) 933-8047 Visit Website

Grendel's Den Restaurant & Bar

89 Winthrop Street, , MA 02138 (617) 491-1160 Visit Website

Oleana

134 Hampshire Street, , MA 02139 (617) 661-0505 Visit Website

Spoke Wine Bar

89 Holland Street, , MA 02144 (617) 718-9463 Visit Website

Backbar

7 Sanborn Court, , MA 02143 (617) 718-0249 Visit Website

State Park

300 Lower Level, , MA 02139 (617) 848-4355 Visit Website

The Lexington

100 North First Street, , MA 02141 (617) 945-1349 Visit Website

Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen

190 North Beacon Street, , MA 02135 (617) 903-3766 Visit Website

Royale

221 Grove Road, , England E3 5SN 020 3011 0980 Visit Website

Giulia (Cambridge)

1682 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 441-2800 Visit Website

Rebel Rebel at Bow Market

337-341 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA 02143 Visit Website

The Quiet Few

331 Sumner Street, , MA 02128 (617) 561-1061 Visit Website

Turtle Swamp Brewing

3377 Washington Street, , MA 02130 (617) 522-0038 Visit Website

Mahaniyom

236 Washington Street, , MA 02445 (617) 487-5986 Visit Website

Geppetto

100 North First Street, , MA 02141 (617) 945-1349 Visit Website

Cafe Beatrice

100 North First Street, , MA 02141 (617) 945-1349 Visit Website

CAFÉ SAUVAGE

25 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02115 (857) 277-0075 Visit Website

Club Passim

47 Palmer St, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 492-7679 Visit Website

Jacques Cabaret

79 Broadway, Boston, MA 02116 (617) 426-8902 Visit Website

Banyan Bar & Refuge

492 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116 (617) 556-4211

Pammy's

928 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02139 (617) 945-1761 Visit Website

The Sinclair

52 Church Street, , MA 02138 (617) 547-5200 Visit Website

Saltie Girl

279 Dartmouth Street, , MA 02116 (617) 267-0691 Visit Website

Dear Annie

1741 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02140 Visit Website

Season to Taste

2447 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02140 (617) 871-9468 Visit Website

River Bar

661 Assembly Row, , MA 02145 (617) 616-5561 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Boston newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter.