Restaurant Openings

Here’s Your First Look at Bar ‘Cino in Brookline

The neighborhood spot starts cutting up grilled pizzas, tossing fresh salads, and shaking up Italian-inspired cocktails on Friday, Jan. 17.


Photos courtesy of Bar ‘Cino

Meet Brookline’s newest neighbor. Bar ’Cino—whose name, pronounced chee-no, is derived from the Italian word for “neighbor,” vicino—opens Friday, Jan. 17, in a well-known restaurant space in the St. Mary’s neighborhood. It’s introducing itself with fresh Italian fare and aperitivo-inspired cocktails.

Bar ’Cino hails from Newport, R.I., where the original location debuted in June 2019. It’s part of the employee-owned Newport Restaurant Group, which also operates Newport’s famed Castle Hill Inn, two Massachusetts locations of Papa Razzi, and nearly a dozen other Rhode Island properties. Bar ’Cino is a casual concept centered on a large, convivial bar, with an ethos of simplicity running through everything from the grilled pizzas to the hand-painted mural on the walls.

The Italian joint takes over a longtime restaurant space at 1032 Beacon Street, which was most recently home to an outpost of the modern Irish pub chain, Waxy’s. Bar ’Cino’s opening is a welcome one for the neighborhood, the Brookline TAB has reported: A recreational marijuana company withdrew an application to open a dispensary there amid strong community opposition to their concept.

“In looking to introduce Bar ’Cino to the Boston market, we wanted a location that would foster a community of passionate customers who share our love of delicious Italian food and drink,” the restaurant group’s chief operating officer, Casey Riley, said in a press release. “We’re confident we’ve found our home at 1032 Beacon Street and look forward to welcoming guests to the Newport Restaurant Group family.”

With Bar ’Cino, the neighborhood has a new place for dinner and weekend brunch, with a succinct, seasonally changing menu of vegetable-driven dishes, roasted meats and seafood, pastas, and thin-crusted grilled pizzas, cut table-side with scissors in a style made famous by the Providence restaurant Al Forno. Among the Brookline opening menu’s pies is one topped with roasted Rhode Island mushrooms, fontina, parmesan, grilled chicories, herbs, and saba (a grape reduction); a fig and prosciutto option with arugula, fontina, and gorgonzola; and a fresh tomato, basil, and scallion-topped Margherita.

Besides pizza, expect dishes like a signature farro risotto; spaghetti cacio y pepe with Rhode Island clams; and lobster lumache with a fennel cream sauce, garlic, and herbed breadcrumbs. There are also plates meant to be shared, like marinated beets with whipped ricotta, fresh herbs, and saba; a 22-ounce bone-in rib eye with garlic herb-grilled roasted potatoes and roasted vegetables; and a whole roasted lemon-scented chicken with EVOO-mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a garlic-white wine sauce.

Photos courtesy of Bar ‘Cino

Photos courtesy of Bar ‘Cino

The Newport Group’s beverage director Shawn Westhoven is making use of the spot’s full liquor license with Italian-inspired cocktails, such as Tempo Triplo, with Contratto Americano, Bianco and Rosso vermouths, and orange bitters; Shadilay, with mezcal, Aperol, and lime in a tajin-rimmed glass; and the Downeast Negroni, with Beefeater gin, coffee Campari, Americano, Carpano, and Antica vermouth. Bar ’Cino brings a unique entry to the “no plastic straws” movement with sippers made from bucatini, or hollowed-out noodles; you’ll get one with an order of sangria on draft.

Other tap lines flow with Peroni, and local craft beers from the likes of Exhibit ‘A’ and Cambridge Brewing companies. Among the bottled offerings are large-format craft brews from Italy. The wine program skews Italian, and minimal-intervention; wines are available by the glass, half-glass, and bottle.

The bar anchors the restaurant with 30 seats, a spalted maple bar top, and pendant lights above. Guests will also immediately notice the new wall art of hand-painted faces by Newport artist Sue McNally. Besides the 90-seat main dining room, Bar ’Cino has a 20-seat private room. In the spring, an outdoor patio will add about 40 seats along Beacon Street, among new planters and trees.

Beginning Friday, Jan, 17, Bar ’Cino is open nightly at 4 p.m., serving dinner until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Brunch is on every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Bar ’Cino’s arrival to Brookline may also soothe Brookliners mourning the loss of another Italian restaurant: Grassona’s, which has served its final supper in Washington Square. Owner Steve Bowman plans one more final farewell there on Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 8 p.m. until last call, with snacks, Sicilian slices, and cocktails from Grassona’s bar team, John-Michael Takashima and Emma Connolly. This spring, renovations will begin to transform that space into Ivory Pearl, and new cocktail-focused concept from bartender Ran Duan.

1032 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-608-3220, barcino.com.

Photos courtesy of Bar ‘Cino