Just a few yards past the line snaking outside the ever-crowded Barnes & Noble Starbucks at the Prudential Center, there is a new stop for a cup of coffee. Blue Bottle Coffee debuts a café and retail store in the mall’s Center Court on Tuesday, July 10, with complimentary drinks and a donation opportunity. It officially opens later this week.
The West Coast coffee company has about 50 other locations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Washington, D.C.; and has also expanded into Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. Blue Bottle embarked on a Boston-area expansion in 2016, and though locations in Harvard Square and the Financial District have already opened, the Prudential Center lease was the first one signed, says community specialist Tanner Borskey. Blue Bottle worked with mall landlord Boston Properties to create a glass-enclosed space in the Center Court; previously, the footprint was part of the outdoor garden.
“All of our design choices and our location points are very intentional,” Borskey says, saying the central location inside the mall, and the open feel of this space sold it.
The Prudential café is built to be busy. A expansive, round bar has two espresso stations, four cold brew draft lines, six drip coffee stations, and two point-of-sale stations, which make it about double the size of a typical Blue Bottle, says café experience director Michael Phillips.
“There’s a healthy appetite for coffee in Boston, and Prudential is one of those epicenters of it,” he says. “Even though this is going to be a busy café, we’re not interested in long wait times.”
The light-filled space is going for a “Scandinavian modern” aesthetic, and has a communal table, plus a bench and low stools around a couple smaller tables. It will always have cold brew iced coffee and New Orleans-style cold brew on draft—lightly sweetened, with roasted chicory, served with milk—plus a coffee blend served hot, and a rotating selection of fresh, single-origin roasts. Specialty drinks are also on the menu, along with salted chocolate chip cookies, Liège-style waffles, and a selection of pre-made sandwiches.
Blue Bottle sells its high-end coffee blends and roasts by the pound in whole bean and proprietary, Perfectly Ground packages, and also sells brewing equipment. All food and merchandise purchases during Tuesday’s community day from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. benefit local charity partner Artists for Humanity. Beginning Wednesday, July 11, Blue Bottle at the Pru is open weekdays 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Suite 25; 100 Federal St., Suite K200, Boston; 40 Bow St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, bluebottlecoffee.com.
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