Ghosts of Restaurants Past

1201107539A wise friend once said: Once you start to give directions based on what used to be there—e.g., “That bar near that falafel place that burned down”—you really are a local.

I think I’ve reached that point. Every time I check out a new restaurant or bar, I can’t help but think about what it was before it became a swanky new brasserie or Barbara Lynch conquest.

With certain places, my memories are particularly hard to shake. In my mind, that place next to the firehouse on Boylston will always be Barcode. Match is still the new Blue Cat Café, and Coda will never blow my mind the way Tim’s did. (It was the first and last time my beer was opened by a bartender with six-inch acrylic nails.) Kingston Station will forever be Peking Tom’s, Globe is still the White Star. And I will never, ever, ever stop calling it Pravda.

That said, I have no problem with the Liberty Hotel, which used to be a jail. And I’m looking forward to the opening of Banq in the South End, which occupies a bygone bank, and Dante de Magistris’ forthcoming project Il Casale, housed in an old Belmont firehouse. Maybe it’s their embrace of the buildings’ former, non-restaurant purpose that I like so much.

But when it arrives, Night Town will have to battle my notions of Bob’s Southern Bistro, which I still call Bob the Chef’s.

Good luck, guys. You’ve got old shoes to fill.