What was exciting news for many who see great potential at the new Ink Underground park below the Expressway was a disappointing surprise for many in the Old Dover neighborhood – who apparently had no idea a licensed, outdoor beer garden would be coming to their neighborhood this summer.
National Development and Castle Island Brewing Co. announced last week that they planned to collaborate on a summer beer garden in the park under the Expressway – a plan that still requires City approvals, but was not mentioned to the neighborhood until after the release.
The beer garden will also feature communal-style seating, outdoor lounge areas and classic lawn games. The company’s brews will be dispensed from a custom-made, branded draft trailer equipped with 20 taps, serving a wide variety of Castle Island beers and a few non-beer alternatives.
Any type of new programming, and especially plans for a licensed alcohol establishment, are typically announced to the neighborhood for a vetting before going public. In this case, it appears that didn’t happen because the beer garden would be on state land, not City land, said Old Dover President Ken Smith.
“Actually, we were pretty disappointed that we knew nothing about it whatsoever,” he said. “I had to check in with our City Hall liaison to determine why, and any other specifics. We were told that there was no due process with neighborhood associations because it is state land and there are no immediate abutters. A meeting is being planned for late April for Southie and South End associations to attend. I find it short-sighted to think we would only be involved based on ‘x amount’ of feet between a project and residents, versus effects of traffic, parking and noise.”
National Development’s Ted Tye said he is excited about the additional programming at Ink Underground and said he has recently asked Old Dover for a few minutes to talk about the proposal at the April 17 meeting.
He said the beer garden is in line with the one that took place on the Rose Kennedy Greenway last summer. He said it falls in line with bringing more activity and people to the Ink Underground this summer – something that also includes community events that have not yet been announced.
“We always intended for Underground to have this sort of local, hand-crafted brewery pop-up, which fits right in with our unique design and art installations,” said Tye. “We look forward to welcoming Castle Island to Underground, as well as expanding our art program, hosting many public events, and hosting select private events throughout 2018.”
Castle Island Brewing was also excited to be included in the proposed beer garden, which is less than one mile from their namesake in South Boston.
“We are beyond excited to announce Castle Island at Underground,” said Castle Island Founder and President, Adam Romanow. “We’ve always been eager to bring the Castle Island brand a little closer to Southie, and by helping activating this newly opened urban park, we have found an awesome way to contribute to this outdoor community space at a completely unexpected but exciting location.”
Castle Island at Underground is proposed to be open Thursday and Friday 3 p.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. -10 p.m.