Food

Step inside Next Door, a new speakeasy in East Boston

Get ready for light-up and smoky cocktails, blue velvet, and delicious food.

Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. Susannah Sudborough

Next Door, a new speakeasy in East Boston, is full of enchanting surprises.

From a magic hidden entrance to light-up, smoking, and bubbling cocktails, every small detail is a delight.

Like most speakeasies, Next Door has a hidden entrance. But instead of an underground hideaway, Next Door is literally next door to Pazza on Porter. Both are owned by Mivan Spencer and Raffaela Scalzi.

The connected buildings and owners allow the entrance to Next Door to be hidden inside Pazza on Porter. The outside of the bar is a façade that looks like a locksmith shop. But if you look closely, you can see cocktail-making equipment in the window, as well as the bar’s logo on top of the door.

The outside of Next Door looks like a locksmith shop, but it’s a façade. – Susannah Sudborough
The outside of Next Door looks like a locksmith shop, but it’s a façade. – Susannah Sudborough

To get in, guests must go to the hostess at Pazza on Porter and tell them their reservation. The hostess then leads guests out onto the patio where they wave their hand in front of a secret door.

To get into Next Door, you go through a secret door on the patio of Pazza on Porter. – Susannah Sudborough

The door opens automatically, and guests go up to the next door, where they tell the doorman that night’s password. If you have the password, you will be let in to a completely different environment.

Once inside the secret door, you must give the doorman the password to get into Next Door. – Susannah Sudborough

Scalzi and Spencer, both of whom had years of restaurant experience, opened Pazza on Porter in 2019. They created an upbeat, modern Italian restaurant complete with a bar scene, an all-year patio, and weekend brunch.

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After their success with Pazza, the two talked about opening an upscale cocktail bar. When the owner of their building and the building next door said the adjacent space was up for grabs, the pair jumped at the opportunity to create something new.

“I’ve always personally liked going to speakeasies,” Spencer said. “No matter where I travel, I try to find one.”

So Spencer and Scalzi went about developing the new space, which took 16 months due to supply chain issues.

“Traditionally speakeasies are 20s-themed,” Spencer said. “We wanted to modernize it a little bit. I would say it’s more classy.”

In that spirit, Next Door has a dress code. Casual shorts, sports caps, ripped pants, and beachwear are prohibited.

But when you enter, it’s a whole new world full of blue velvet, gold silverware, and jazz renditions of pop songs.

Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. – Susannah Sudborough
Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. – Susannah Sudborough
Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. – Susannah Sudborough

The speakeasy boasts 19 original cocktails created by Bar Manager Josue Castillo. All are as original and beautiful aesthetically as they are delicious.

Josue Castillo is the bar manager behind Next Door’s creative cocktails. – Susannah Sudborough
Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. They serve a dark fruit-forward cocktail called “love language.” – Susannah Sudborough

One unique cocktail is called “a good idea.” It’s a citrus but savory cocktail that’s served inside a lightbulb that lights up from the bottom.

Another fun cocktail is called “citrus and smoke.” It’s a sweeter concoction on top of which the bartender blows an edible bubble. When the bubble bursts, you can smell the citrus smoke.

“Lock and key,” a new take on a pina colada, is also fun to watch. It’s served in a small chest that emits smoke when opened.

And you can’t miss “take your time,” a smoke-forward version of an old fashioned.

Spencer said the food you’ll find at Next Door is nothing like what you’ll find at Pazza. Next Door focuses on its raw bar, but also offers charcuterie and small plates.

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Spencer recommends the tuna tacos, as well as their Florentine tacos, which are essentially a cookie in the shape of a taco with fruit and cream cheese filling.

Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. Their tuna tacos are a modern take on sushi. – Susannah Sudborough
Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. Their Florentine tacos are like a blend of cannoli and strawberry shortcake. – Susannah Sudborough

“We focused a lot on not only the décor but the cocktail program, the culinary program. So we put a lot of thought and effort into every little aspect of the place,” he said.

Spencer is not overstating how many small details set Next Door apart. Even their ice cubes are frozen with their keyhole logo imprinted on them.

Next door is a new speakeasy in East Boston. Here you can see their logo frozen into an ice cube. – Susannah Sudborough

Right now Next Door is primarily reservation-only, but Spencer said they will try to leave room for walk-ins each night. It is open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.

For more information on Next Door, visit its website.

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