Tree House Brewing Details Pru Beer Garden

Representatives for the Tree House Brewing Company detailed their plans to operate a courtyard beer garden at the Prudential Center during the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay’s Licensing and Building Use Committee meeting held virtually on Monday, June 3.

​Attorney Dennis Quilty said the Charlton, Mass.-based manufacturer of craft beer and other beverages would be applying to the city for a series of 30 one-day ‘pouring’ permits that would enable them to transform a corner of the Pru’s South Garden (on the same side as the post office) into a beer garden.

The former TB12 Performance & Recovery Center at 699 Boylston St.,
which Berklee College of Music intends to transform into a dance studio,
with a first-level café.

The requested capacity on the application is for 400 people, but Quilty was quick to add that number also includes the general public, since the space is open to them as well. “We’ll be an amenity in that space,” he said, adding they would be seeking a 10 p.m. closing time.

The proposed beer garden is also intended to complement summer programming, such as free movies, already offered there by Boston Properties, which owns the Pru, said Quilty, while Tree House has no plans for any entertainment offerings of its own.

​Sarah Morin, Tree House’s Chief Growth Officer, added that the seasonal operation would be weather dependent  and not open during the winter because the facility would be located mostly outdoors, with a small indoor seating area for use in inclement weather, or for guests who don’t want to sit directly in the sun.

Equipment would comprise two mobile pouring stations, which wouldn’t require any installation, said Morin, who added that the operation also wouldn’t bring any additional seating.

​To ensure that the alcoholic beverages served remain inside the designated area, experienced staff would closely monitor the premises, said Morion, while guests who are drinking would be required to wear wristbands.

​Tree House eventually hopes to secure a full license from the city for a permanent operation at this location, which would sell “their own product, packaged beer to-go,” said Morin.

​Elliott Laffer of NABB said the proposed beer garden area had “always been envisioned as being an active space.” But he also advised the applicant to notify the adjacent Belvedere condo building of their plans ahead of time.

​Attorney Quilty said the applicant had a hearing date with the city scheduled for later in the week.

​In another matter, the commission heard from representatives for Berklee College of Music on the school’s plan to transform the former home of Tom Brady’s TB12 Performance & Recovery Center at 699 Boylston St. into a dance studio, with a café on its first level.

​Kaitlin Passafaro, Berklee’s chief of staff, said the school would enter into a 15-year lease, with two five-year options, to rent the 8,300 square-foot retail space.

​Three new dance studios would be created on the lower level (with a maximum occupancy off 22 per studio), said Passafaro, while two existing locking rooms would be retained there.

​Hours of operation for the dance studios would be 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Classes for Boston Conservatory at Berklee would take place in the studios until  about 4:30 p.m., said Passafaro, and then become private practice space by reservation for Berklee students afterwards. (The lower-level dance studios would only be accessible to Berklee students via a key card and also have a public safety officer posted nearby.)

No shuttle service for Berklee students would be needed, said Passafaro, given the site’s close proximity to campus.

​The ’grab-and-go’ café would be open to Berklee students, as well as to the public, selling smoothies and yogurt, among other commissary food item, said Passafaro.

Aramark, a national foodservice provider, would operate the café under a different name, added Erin McCabe, Berklee’s vice president of facilities.

If the project moves forward, the dance studios are expected to open in time for Berklee’s new school year this fall, said McCabe, while the café would need to be occupied within the next four month per the terms of their lease.

Conrad Armstrong, committee chair, told the applicant he would notify them of NABB’s determination on their application (i.e. whether to oppose or not oppose the applicant’s request from the city to use the space for college or university use) by June 14.

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