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Joshua Tree bar goes back to its old name

Posted by Maureen Quinlan  April 5, 2012 11:32 AM

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Photo by William Frothingham, Boston University News Service

Eight months after changing its name to Barley Hall, a well-known watering hole on Commonwealth Avenue decided to return to its roots. On Wednesday, the bar officially reinstated the name Joshua Tree, and now boasts a new chef and menu, new drinks and of course, a new sign.

“Nothing against Barley Hall, but people would refer to us as the old Joshua Tree,” General Manager Marshall Crane explained. “We’re going back to what this place is known as, a staple in the neighborhood.”

The bar at 1316 Commonwealth Ave. has changed names a few times in recent years, from Tonic to Joshua Tree to Barley Hall and back, but Marshall Crane says the new /old name is back by popular demand.

“We want the neighborhood to know that we’re listening,” Crane said. “We started talking about it a month ago and we knew it was what the people wanted.”

Hilary Milnes, a waitress living in Allston, started working at Barley Hall three weeks ago. She noticed a similar reaction both at the bar and around town.

“I’ve had people ask me why they changed the name in the first place,” Milnes said. “Joshua Tree definitely has a better standing in Allston. I don't think anyone’s going to think it was a bad move.”

Glenn Gallagher, a recent Boston College grad, remembers going to Joshua Tree once or twice a month in college. “I never actually went when it was Barley Hall,” he said. “This probably doesn’t make much sense, but I’d be more willing to go now that the old name is back. It’s just more familiar.”

Unlike many Allston bars, Joshua Tree has two separate floors, each with its own unique atmosphere. On the main level, it’s a classic sports bar equipped with 28 TVs, a wide selection of seating, and table food service. On weekends, the lower level becomes a full-blown party zone, complete with in-house DJ's El Sid and Niso, playing dance music every Friday and Saturday night respectively.

“The Tree will be the place to be on Fridays,” said El Sid. “My aim is to get people lost in the music. High energy start to finish.”

Management also recruited the help of 6one7 Productions for the promotion of new events and theme nights, which, in addition to the weekend festivities, will include trivia on Tuesdays, live music on Wednesdays, and an all-you-can-eat brunch on Sundays.

New to the everyday menu is the “Matt Bonner 3-Pointer.” The forward for the San Antonio Spurs’ three-slider special will be available for the next three months and 25 per cent of the proceeds from each plate will go to the West End Boys and Girls Club in Allston. The Spurs were in town Wednesday to play the Celtics and Bonner stopped by Joshua Tree to try out his “3-Pointer” and meet with volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club.

“I grew up going to the Concord Boys and Girls club, that’s where I first started playing basketball,” Bonner said. “It had a huge impact on my life. Hopefully people will come out and enjoy some good food and support a good cause.”

With another location flourishing in Somerville, the Joshua Tree in Allston opened business on Thursday. Marshall Crane hopes that the recent changes to the Allston location will reestablish the bar as one of the finest around.

“We don’t want to just be the best in Allston, we want to be the best all of Boston has to offer,” Crane said.

This story was published under an agreement between Boston University and Boston.com.

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