Is Carrie Nation the New Choice Restaurant for Beacon Hill Lawmakers?

Year-end campaign finance reports show Carrie Nation edged out Scollay Square Restaurant as the top meeting spot.

This past year has seen huge, epic, game-changing upheavals in Massachusetts politics, but surely none more consequential than the June opening of Carrie Nation on Beacon Street, which has instantaneously challenged Scollay Square Restaurant as the go-to watering hole for Beacon Hill schmoozers.

One indicator of the state of play in this battle can be found in the newly filed state lawmakers’ campaign finance reports, covering the second half of 2013. By my count, state senators and representatives spent $15,822 at Carrie Nation during those six months, and just $11,692 at Scollay Square. Notoriously exercise-averse solons are apparently willing to hike the extra few yards for the richly appointed decor of the newer spot. Over the same period, the even closer 21st Amendment made just $4,542, according to the reports.

Some of the advantage is coming from the Carrie Nation “speakeasy” function room, which is already drawing some fundraising events. But, in an important sign of the future, Carrie Nation’s biggest Beacon Hill client is Senate Majority Leader—and future Senate president—Stan Rosenberg of Amherst. Rosenberg’s committee spent $3,895 at Carrie Nation over the six-month period, mostly on “business meetings and meals.” Many of those meetings were the ones where he built support for succeeding Therese Murray as president. That’s a good sign for the establishment, because wherever the Senate president goes, others will follow.

“I love the venue,” Rosenberg says. “The food is terrific. It’s a nice, comfortable place; and the staff is terrific.”

So terrific, in fact, that Rosenberg claims to have been Carrie Nation’s very first customer, booking a breakfast meeting the day it opened.

Boston state Sen. Anthony Petrucelli and Reps. Aaron Michlewitz and Michael Moran are among the others who enjoy an occasional “meeting” at Carrie Nation—or at least, are willing to charge the tab to their campaign accounts.