Barlette, a BYOB Bar, Is Coming to Brookline Soon
Aiming for a February opening, it’s the sibling and neighbor to the award-winning BYOB restaurant Cobble.
UPDATE (MAY 1, 2023):
Barlette opened in April and is currently booked up for May, although you can set up notifications on Resy in case of cancellations (or consider getting a membership for early access and other perks). June reservations will go live on June 1 at noon.
ORIGINAL STORY (JANUARY 6, 2023):
Picture this: You walk into an intimate bar, tucked away inside a nearly century-old building in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner. You settle into one of just a few bar seats or a table in a cozy nook, chat with the welcoming staff, and then pull your own booze out of your bag. Wait, what?
Barlette—a reservation-only “BYOB bar” —will open around February 2023 (or when the always-arduous restaurant permitting process allows). It’s the sibling and downstairs neighbor to Cobble, an award-winning BYOB restaurant that boasts a reservation list booked months out. Both are hidden within the historic Coolidge Corner Arcade building on Harvard Street.
So, if you’re B-ing YOB to a bar, what is that bar exactly? At Barlette, your ticket will include a four-course menu of “our take on whimsical bar snacks,” cofounder Rachel Trudel tells Boston, plus access to seasonal cocktail mixers on tap, served in mini shakers with appropriate glassware, ice, and garnishes. Bring your favorite spirits (and/or wine and beer), a sense of adventure, and a readiness to shake and serve your own drinks. Thanks to the wild world of liquor licensing, the staff can’t touch your alcoholic beverages but will be happy to provide knowledge and tips if you have questions. “Barlette is very inclusive for the non-drinker as well,” Trudel notes. “While not an NA bar, we hope to delight guests who choose not to imbibe.”
As for those bar snacks? Think items like smoked goat cheese with honey served with house-made sourdough focaccia crostini, for example, or fresh and pickled crudites with Lipton’s onion dip and a vegan dip, says Trudel. Sliders “served on Cobble’s coveted Berg buns” could make an appearance, accompanied by a seasonal slaw. (The bun recipe is from cofounder and chef Emily Vena’s great-grandmother, and the so-called “Grandma Berg’s butter rolls” are the only constant on Cobble’s menu—and a fan favorite, notes Trudel.) A seasonally rotating parfait could round out the Barlette menu for dessert.
Trudel and Vena opened Cobble in 2020, serving family-style meals that the team describes as “vegetable-forward, ‘noncommittal’ Italian cuisine” in a four-table space that looks like someone’s well-designed apartment rather than a restaurant—true dinner party vibes. (Cobble landed on our 2021 Top 50 Restaurants list in that year’s “Innovators” category. “It’s an experience unlike anything around,” we wrote, noting that it’s “exactly where you’d want to finally uncork that special bottle you’ve been saving.”)
Those who have enjoyed a hard-to-get dinner reservation at Cobble will surely find the same level of attention to detail and warm hospitality at Barlette, but the space will have a different feel. It’s more of a “swanky, lounge-like atmosphere,” says Trudel. Think dark walls with bold floral wallpaper (chosen to give Barlette a “bold yet sophisticated mystique”), brass details, and white countertops for contrast. There are about 14 seats, half of which are at the bar; the other seats are tucked away in three uniquely appointed, “nook-like” seating areas.
“Emily and I love the Arcade building and we are so excited to bring another experiential dining concept to such a unique landmark in Brookline,” says Trudel. “We hear over and over that Cobble is the perfect place to unwind. Emily and I are driven by pushing the bounds of hospitality and we are excited to offer another place for guests to hang their hat.”
Given Barlette and Cobble’s close proximity, Trudel and Vena have been getting lots of questions regarding whether it’d be possible to hit both in one night. The current logistics don’t really allow for it—the schedules wouldn’t overlap in a way that makes sense, for one thing, and frankly it’d just be too much food for most appetites. But once Barlette gains some traction? “We do want to find an opportunity for guests to progress from Barlette to Cobble or maybe even from Cobble to Barlette,” says Trudel. The team has been pondering ideas like including the option to enjoy a pre-dinner drink at Barlette before a Cobble reservation, or a nightcap at Barlette after dinner. Stay tuned for movement on that front, but in the meantime, Trudel notes that Sorriso Market in Brookline Village has just opened a wine and bottle shop inside the Arcade building, steps from Barlette, “making it super easy for guests to procure an extra tipple” before heading to either venue. “We work with Sorriso now to provide the perfect wine pairings at Cobble and will do so for Barlette as well,” says Trudel. “It’s a whole ecosystem!”
Once Barlette opens, it will operate on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings to start, with two seatings per night, reservation-only. Barlette “walks and talks like a traditional bar,” says Trudel—it’s just that you have to, or rather get to, bring your own booze (and plan ahead to snag what’s sure to be a tricky reservation). It’s the best of all worlds: Enjoy your favorite drink, unlimited by stock decided on by someone with different tastes from you, in the comfort of a beautifully designed bar, accompanied by tasty snacks prepared for you. Better yet, you don’t even have to do the dishes.
318 Harvard St. #11, Coolidge Corner, Brookline, byobarlette.com. (Sign up at Barlette’s website to be notified of opening updates.)