Dani’s Queer Bar Set To Open in Old Pour House Space This Summer, Co-Owner Tells NABB

A co-owner of Dani’s Queer Bar, which is poised to open in late July or early August in the former Pour House space on Boylston Street, was on hand to discuss specifics of the proposed business at the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay (NABB) License and Building Use Committee meeting held virtually on Monday, May 1.

​Thais Rocha, who is also co-founder of LGBTQ Nightlife Events, said the self-described “unique space specifically for Boston’s women’s, nonbinary, and trans queer community” is set to open at 907 Boylston St. and would have a total capacity of 305, both upstairs and downstairs. Its proposed business hours would be between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. daily, she said.

​Dani’s is applying to the city for a liquor license, previously owned by the Pour House, said Rocha, which it would purchase from the  building owner.

​Like the Pour House before it, Dani’s would serve food, offering a bar menu during the day, as well as a late night menu between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., which would comprise “essentially finger foods,” said Rocha.

​While Dani’s currently has no plans for live music, the establishment is considering hosting “drag performances,” karaoke, poetry readings, and open-mic nights, said Rocha, as well as providing TVs and pre-recorded music for patrons.

​Conrad Armstrong, LBU Committee chair, advised Rocha to be specific when filing their application for an entertainment license with the city and said that the preference would be for “one or two people performing, not amplified.”

​Rocha said the business would work with the property manager regarding trash removal. Elliott Laffer, chair of NABB’s board of directors, advised Rocha that the preference would “ideally” be for the business to keep trash stored inside until the day of pickup.

​The proposed establishment would use a “scrubber ventilation system” for exhaust from the food preparation, said Rocha, who added that no interior renovations are planned for the space.

​Dani’s won’t offer valet services, said Rocha, but it would employ “highly trained security personnel” to keep the peace both inside and outside, and to ensure that patrons leave safely.

​In another matter, the commission heard from representatives from Ayr, a recreational cannabis shop at 827 Boylston St., regarding the business’s request to extend its closing time from the current 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

​Ayr was the first proposed adult-use dispensary to come before the committee about a year ago, said Armstrong, and at that time, the committee requested an 8 p.m. closing time for the business.

​Since then, however, Rooted In, another recreational cannabis shop, opened at 331 Boylston St., which closes at 10 p.m. every night but Sunday (when it closes at 8 p.m.).

Laffer said NABB has heard no complaints to date regarding Rooted In’s later closing time.

​The Copley Connection, an adult-use dispensary, poised to open at 551 Boylston St., just up the street from Ayr, has also requested an 11 p.m. closing time, said Armstrong.

​Dwan Packnett, an Ayr representative on hand for the virtual meeting, said the Boston Cannabis Board would ultimately need to approve the requested extended hours for the Boylston Street store.

​The commission also heard about plans to open a new Starbucks at 500 Boylston St., which would replace the recently shuttered store formerly located at 443 Boylston St. at the corner of Berkley Street.

(The new store would be located within the former space of the Talbots women’s closing store, which is being subdivided to various tenants, according to Daniel Brennan, who handles permitting for Starbucks in this region.)

​The new approximately 2,000 square-foot location would operate from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and have between 30 and 35 interior seats, said Brenan, who was on hand for the virtual meeting.

​Trash would be stored in a dedicated room inside the building until pickup, said Brennan, and deliveries would be made through the main entrance, as is typically the case at most Starbucks locations.

​The applicant is seeking a Common Victualler (CV) license from the city, as well a variance to allow takeout from the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) said Brenan, and if Starbucks receives the requested approval and zoning relief, the new store could open by the end of the year.

​On another application, the commission heard about plans to open a new location of Tatte Bakery & Café in the ground-level space formerly occupied by the Blue Glass Café at 200 Clarendon St. (Despite its Stuart Street address, Brenan, who represented this applicant as well, said the business would have access off Stuart Street, as well as via the lobby.)

​Tatte currently has 16 other locations located in and around Boston, along with additional stores in the metro Washington, D.C. area.

​Brennan described Tatte as “an American Mediterranean restaurant” and said while the stores receive deliveries of baked good each day, no baking actually takes place on site.

​The approximately 6,000 square-foot space, which Brennan described as a “very long space,” would accommodate 180 interior seats total. Its proposed hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

​All trash and deliveries would be handled internally within the building itself, he said.

​“We hope to be open by the end of the summer,” said Brennan, who added the applicant is seeking only a CV license from the city.

In another matter, the commission heard about plans to open a new Trader Joe’s grocery story, which would offer liquor sales, at 500 Boylston St.

Its proposed hours of operation would be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, said Andrew Upton, an attorney for the applicant.

The new16,000 square-foot storefront would be nearly twice the size of the existing Trader Joe’s at 899 Boylston St., said Upton, which is currently the smallest of the 561 stores in the national chain.

Yet despite its small size , there are currently no plans to close the existing Back Bay location of Trader Joe’s (which doesn’t offer liquor sales), said Upton.

Instead of major labels, Trader Joe’s carries mostly proprietary brands of spirits, beer (mostly unrefrigerated), land wine, like its ‘Two Buck Chuck’ bargain-priced wine, said Upton, who added  that store also wouldn’t stock any nips or kegs.

All trash and recycling at the proposed new Trader Joe’s would be handled internally, said Upton, and the store would have its own internal trash compactor, a covered loading dock, and a dumpster adorned with the business’s name.

The new Trader Joe’s is tentatively set to open in the fourth quarter of this year, said Upton, pending construction and supply-chain issues.

Meanwhile, Armstrong told all of the applicants on hand for the meeting he would notify them of the NABB Executive Committee’s determinations on their respective applications by Friday, May 12.

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