A longtime bar near Fenway Park is now a new kind of oasis for beer lovers

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New

PlantPub’s second location replaces Boston BeerWorks with the city’s largest vegan restaurant.


Photo by Luke Edwards

Boston BeerWorks, a now-defunct chain that brewed its own beer on-site, opened its first location in 1992, just a few years after Sam Adams and Harpoon breweries introduced the idea of ​​”craft” to beer lovers. boston beer. For nearly 30 years, the original Kenmore Square location was a popular spot for legions of sports fans and beer drinkers – often overlapping populations – for a full selection of beers and food at base of ribs such as burgers, chicken wings, and all topped with bacon.

Now this bustling brewery will be reborn as Boston’s largest vegan restaurant. PlantPub is about to open its second location where the stadium meets Brookline Avenue. The 250-seat bar and restaurant builds on the tiny original Cambridge counter-service with nearly six times the seating capacity, including semi-private dining areas. In addition to a few new menu items like a plant-based version of a Fenway Frank, the latest PlantPub location also features a full bar with cocktails, draft beer, and wine. (Only packaged drinks are available at the Kendall Square Outpost.)

You might think that vegan cuisine isn’t usually high on the pre-game list. That’s exactly why the PlantPub partners sought out this prime location, says co-founder Pat McAuley. Featuring homemade interpretations of burgers, chicken sandwiches, nachos, pizzas and other dairy- and meat-free comfort foods by celebrity chef Mary Dumont, formerly of gourmet restaurants Cultivar and Harvest, PlantPub aims to make the plant-based diet “accessible to everyone”, says McAuley. “So you have to go where these people are.”

McAuley’s company, which includes investor Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni and chef Dumont, was clearly onto something: PlantPub was looking for the former location of Fenway BeerWorks. around the same time like Matthew Kenney Cuisine, a California-based restaurant group that is behind Boston’s Double Zero pizzeria and Plant City in Providence, among other vegan concepts. Sharing similar views on how to redefine a classic pub in a way that is both healthier for consumers and the planet, Matthew Kenney Kitchen and PlantPub have teamed up to add multiple locations for the Boston-based brand across the city and beyond.

The idea is to provide a place for beer-soaked revelry that is more sustainable. Along those same lines, renovations to the Fenway-area brewery have been fairly minimal, McAuley says. The brewing equipment has of course disappeared from the space, but PlantPub’s partners have maintained and updated its existing bar, draft system, and even the tables. The industrial-designed space received a fresh coat of black paint and new white subway tiles behind its multiple bars, along with fresh and colorful murals by local artist Brand Rockwell. “We tried to refurbish as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste we created in the process,” says McAuley.

That said, the kitchen has had a substantial upgrade, including new grills and fryers, to avoid any possible cross-contamination after decades of serving animal products. “It’s super exciting to be in a space like this because we can really have the impact that we want to create with PlantPub,” McAuley says.

McAuley is a vegan evangelist and author of the book, Eat green Make it green, which led to a podcast of the same name and speaking engagements, including a TED Talk. He is a former college football player and current triathlete who started a whole plant-based diet a few years ago. “I always followed this high-protein way of eating” that is recommended for athletes, he says, and “I was a very healthy person and eater. But I didn’t feel well and wanted to try something new. He started by replacing his usual breakfast of eggs with a green smoothie. After six months on a vegan diet, McAuley says he was able to put away the inhaler he had used since childhood for allergies and asthma symptoms, and felt relief from the arthritic joints he had. since university. “I was a bit shocked by the whole experience,” he says, “that’s why I became very passionate about plant-based foods.”

He was working at the Barrel House Z brewery in Weymouth when he became a vegan and he loved the community around him. The taprooms are “one of the only places I’ve seen in the hospitality industry where the hip 21-year-old kid trying the new IPA is sitting right next to the family of five with their dog, who is sitting right next to the 60-year-old blue-collar worker who comes in after his shift,” McAuley says. “There are stigmas associated with the words ‘vegan’ and ‘plant-based,'” he continues. He wanted to take this same welcoming environment of breweries and apply it to an all-vegetable experience.

That’s why PlantPub uses colloquial language on its menus, which include chili queso fries, cheeseburgers, a classic Caesar salad, pepperoni pizza, and the new Fenway-inspired hot dog. “We want people to feel comfortable ordering,” even if it’s their first time at a vegan restaurant, McAuley says. “We also feel like we are in 2022. The way we eat is changing. Now there are plant-based burgers; there are plant-based chicken patties.

PlantPub uses Impossible Plant-Based Ground Meat and also makes signature veggie patties in-house. “Chicken” on his menu describes a protein made from marinated tofu. When customers want to know more about the menu, staff are trained to explain it to them. “We’re transparent when people ask,” McAuley says.

After all, PlantPub is all about demystifying and popularizing vegan food and giving Bostonians a familiar, yet totally new, place to unwind.

61 Brookline Ave., Boston, plantpub.com.

plantpub mural

Mural by Brand Rockwell, photo by Luke Edwards

pub food

Photo by Joe Saint-Pierre

plantub cocktails

Photo by Joe Saint-Pierre

soft serve plantpub

Photo by Joe Saint-Pierre

chicken sandwich

Photo by Joe Saint-Pierre

pub exterior

Photo by Luke Edwards

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