Hobgoblin Arrives in Downtown Boston, Steeped in Mysticism, Thai Flavors, and Jazz

The gastropub and piano bar opens July 14 in the former Stoddard’s space.

A restaurant bar features a distinctive carved-wood backbar and lots of brick, black leather seats, and shiny wood.

Hobgoblin. / Photo by Jamme Chantler

As legend has it, 13th-century sorcerer Sir Hugo de Giffard enlisted the help of a magical hobgoblin army to build a subterranean cavern below Yester Castle in Scotland. Now, generations later, local restaurateur Jamme Chantler—who traces his lineage to Sir Hugo (and to some Salem witches, too)—is opening a Downtown Crossing restaurant and piano bar steeped in mysticism. Fittingly, it’s called Hobgoblin.

See all »

Today, July 14, is opening day for Hobgoblin, a gastropub with an Asian-inspired menu, creative cocktails, and a live music schedule packed with small jazz and cabaret acts. The team aims to create “a mystical and luxurious establishment,” they tell Boston via email, “that transports guests to a realm of enchantment through a mesmerizing blend of exquisite cuisine, tantalizing drinks, immersive music, and an otherworldly ambiance.”

The team knows a thing or two about Asian cuisines and live music. There’s Chantler, for one, who’s also behind Mad Monkfish in Cambridge, which serves sushi and Thai with a side of live jazz. He’s joined by partners Andy Komwises, who manages the Mad Monkfish and owns Pai Kin Kao, serving a similar combination of Thai and Japanese, and Nick Chantler Treenawong, who has business and cooking degrees alongside wine expertise. Executive chef Ginger Phomjun (the Mad Monkfish, Pai Kin Kao, Pepper Sky’s) grew up at her family’s longstanding Boston Thai restaurant, Brown Sugar Cafe, cooking alongside her grandmother, and has also trained in Chinese and Japanese cooking.

“Drawing inspiration from Asian tapas, meticulously selected dishes, and Thai-inspired flavors, the specially curated menu showcases a magical harmony that enchants every palate,” says the team, with each dish aimed at “transcending the ordinary.” The opening menu leans particularly into Thai cuisine, featuring dishes such as bison meatballs with panang sauce; braised lamb shank massaman; Hat Yai-style chicken wings; shrimp potstickers in a tom yum broth; and yum som-o, a pomelo salad.

On the drink side, bar manager Tony Iamunno—an alum of Stoddard’s, which previously occupied this space, and a tireless cocktail creator—is having a lot of fun with house-made syrups and herb- and spice-infused liqueurs. Take the Hobgoblin Martini No. 1 (The Importance of Being Radish), for example: He combines radish- and cucumber-infused gin with dill-infused vermouth and rosemary- and basil-infused oil. Some of the cocktails closely complement the Thai flavors on the food menu, like the tom yum milk punch: scallion, Thai chili, cilantro-infused tequila, galangal, tamarind, lemongrass, makrut lime, lime leaf syrup, and milk.

A portion of the cocktail list is dubbed “Magic Potions,” leaning into Hobgoblin’s mysticism. (If this approach strikes your fancy, Back Bay’s Hecate is also worth a visit.) “We not only infuse intention and purpose into our potions through careful craftsmanship and intentional ingredients,” the team says, “but we also go a step further by writing incantations for each concoction. These mystical verses, included on our menu, are woven into the essence of the potions, enhancing their transformative power.”

On paper, that manifests as drinks such as Daughter of Oceanus (Streak of Luck), amaro with pineapple and orange, strawberry syrup, huckleberry cream liqueur, and lime, and Puck’s Potion (Love and Romance), amaro with lime, Cherry Heering, Crème de Noyaux, Swedish punsch, and tonic water.

Visit our Ultimate Guide to Boston Restaurant Openings, Summer 2023, to learn more about other exciting new openings this season.

As for Hobgoblin’s live music, the team is very excited about the seven-foot concert grand piano, a stunning Yamaha C6X. (It hasn’t been delivered yet, so music won’t start during the first week, but stay tuned for updates.) The focus will be on jazz and cabaret—particularly solo pianists and piano-and-bass duos, with the occasional singer. There won’t be a cover charge, and dinner reservations won’t be tied to showtimes, allowing for a flexible night out. Grab a bite and a drink and catch some music on your own schedule.

Tying together the food, drink, and music, Hobgoblin’s ambiance is meant to tap into the magic of Chantler’s lineage, featuring art by Kimberly Squiers, who also serves as the Hobgoblin social media manager. “I had the distinct pleasure of unleashing my creativity by recreating eerie monster paintings inspired by enchanting drawings of medieval monks,” says Squiers.

Hobgoblin is a year and a half in the making—the team saw the impact the pandemic had on downtown Boston businesses and hoped to help rejuvenate the area “and restore a sense of community and delight,” they say. They were captivated by the ambiance of the former Stoddard’s space. “Although saddened by the impact the pandemic had on such a remarkable venue, we couldn’t help but recognize the immense character and charm that radiated from every corner. We were certain that this was the place where our dreams would come to life, seamlessly intertwining the existing beauty with their own creative magic.” Indeed, some of the Stoddard’s spirit is carefully preserved, like the distinctive carved-wood backbar.

The only thing missing? You. “Your presence is what truly brings an extra touch of enchantment to the realm of Hobgoblin,” the team says. “Our team of dedicated individuals has spent countless hours crafting an atmosphere of magic and wonder, but it is the guests who breathe life into our world. It is the laughter, conversations, and shared moments that will elevate the experience at Hobgoblin to new heights.”

Hobgoblin opens for food and drinks on July 14 at 4 p.m., with music following in the weeks to come; watch for the schedule here. 48 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 857-991-1528,