Mayor Michelle Wu announced this week that the city has finally hired its first-ever director of nightlife economy. Corean Reynolds, formerly the director of economic inclusion at the Boston Foundation, starts in the new role on March 6.
At a press conference on February 22, Reynolds said that her role will include fostering more nightlife options equitably across all of Boston’s 23 neighborhoods, addressing the lack of late-night public transit, and improving public safety in Boston after dark, according to the Boston Globe. City officials also spelled out at the conference that while nightlife includes bars and clubs, it’s not limited to those businesses. Reynolds will also be liaising with families and older residents on improving the quality of late-night life in their neighborhoods. (The city’s press office declined to make Reynolds available for a separate interview with Eater.)
Tackling Boston’s nightlife issues is a tall order for anyone jumping into the role. The city’s nightlife scene is infamously wrapped up in red tape: Happy hour drink specials are currently illegal, the public trains shut down by 1 a.m., and the city’s age-old liquor license cap has long fostered massive racial inequities in Boston. Many of the city’s sought-after liquor licenses have been deployed to neighborhoods with majority white residents, and just 2 percent of liquor license holders identify as Black, according to a 2022 report covered by the Globe.
In her previous role, Reynolds oversaw grantmaking decisions to the tune of millions of dollars for the renowned, century-old nonprofit the Boston Foundation, while prioritizing equitable access to money and small business support for people of color. Reynolds, who identifies as Afro Latina, was recognized as an El Mundo Latino 30 Under 30 recipient in 2022.
In creating a government position overseeing city nightlife, Boston follows in the footsteps of other major cities that have already done the same, including London and New York.