“Beer gardens have definitely been tricky for us to get up and running,” said Michael Oxton, co-founder of Night Shift Brewing, sharing that they had originally intended for the beer gardens to start back up in May. “Throughout the summer, we’ve been pushing to make something happen. We think that, given the current pandemic climate, outdoor seating where we can have people drinking and eating in an outside space is obviously safer than indoors.”
The locations of the beer gardens — one on the Esplanade near Fiedler Field, another at Herter Park in Allston — are unchanged. But the experience will be quite different from previous summers, said Night Shift quality manager Matt Eshelman, who has been working with the hospitality teams at both the Owl’s Nest and at Night Shift’s Everett location.
“Normally it’s a very casual environment where you can kind of show up and join a crowd of people if you want,” Eshelman said. “Obviously, that’s not the case this year.”
In addition to following state safety guidelines, Eshelman said the beer gardens strongly encourage reservations, and that walk-up spots will be limited (Night Shift will provide an online reservation option on its site later this week). Food will be available from Night Shift’s food truck and partner food trucks throughout the season, and food and drink can be ordered from tables spaced at least six feet apart. Guests will be required to wear masks when they’re not seated at their table.
Eshelman said that the brewery will be working with partner brands, third party breweries, and wineries to round out the beverage offerings, and that he hopes the Owl’s Nest draft list can be as large and diverse as last year.
“Everyone has shifted more towards cans because of the lack of on-premise consumption, so we may not have a full suite of offerings [right away],” he explained. “But we’re going to have a bunch of our core product on draft at the beginning, and then we’ll supplement that with cans.”
This weekend, both Owl’s Nest locations will operate on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Starting next week, the gardens will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
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