Bulfinch Social, a modern brasserie, reopens inside The Boxer hotel

Completion of the ground-floor refurbishment was held up by permitting issues for the rebranded restaurant’s new sign.

The Boxer's Bulfinch Social restaurant.
The Boxer's Bulfinch Social restaurant. –The Boxer

From Finch to Bulfinch Social: The Boxer hotel’s recent renovation of its ground floor included rebranding its Finch restaurant as Bulfinch Social.

The name now more clearly honors Charles Bulfinch, a Bostonian who designed the Massachusetts State House and the original U.S. Capitol’s dome in Washington, D.C. 

Located on Merrimac Street, The Boxer is part of the West End’s Bulfinch Triangle, which was planned by Bulfinch and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Coincidentally, the first thing about the hotel that strikes the eye is its charming, triangular flatiron design. 

“It’s an unusual space,” said Kathleen Flanary, The Boxer’s general manager. “We were directed in our designing by the history and also the shape, and how the public space would flow throughout the ground floor.”

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Open-plan and free flowing from the check-in desk to Bulfinch Social, which is in the triangle’s apex, the new look adds contrasting couches and chairs. Some are brightly colored, others less so.

“The formula and design is intentionally residential,” said Flanary. “There are area rugs and mismatched chairs, just like we have in our homes. So each sitting area is different. 

“There’s this blue jewel tone settee that really catches the eye,” she added. “The design is less generic than all the beige we see nowadays; less passive. We’re reclaiming personality in design,” she joked.

The Boxer’s lounge. —The Boxer

Though there are no fixed plans, the ground floor refurbishment is the beginning of a top-to-bottom overhaul for the hotel. 

“There’s nothing to announce just yet, but in 2020 or 2021, the rooms will be underway,” said Flanary. “We have to finish this renovation first.”

That includes new artwork installed at the beginning of October: “It’s a collection of pieces streaming throughout the space,” explained Flanary. “There are individual pieces that tell the story of Boston and there are pieces that are Boston in feel but with a sort of Parisian influence.”

The only piece of the puzzle left was Bulfinch Social’s new signage, which was held up by permitting issues. 

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The restaurant is newly lined with banquettes in dark earth tones and tables dressed in white linens. Compared to Finch, though casual enough, Bulfinch Social has a more grown-up feel. Chef Kyle Cook, who came on board a year ago, pairs new American international style food with classic cooking: Expect coq au vin wontons.

“He has a love of classic French cooking and combines it with modern American dishes. He’s very creative,” Flanary said. 

The cocktail menu will have classics like the Brown Derby and the French 75, and a rotating seasonal list as well: “We want to remain nimble with the drinks and food menus, and evolve that so that when it runs crisp and cold we can offer something applicable.

“The restaurant is The Boxer’s soul,” she added. “We’ve gone a bit more refined with the new look. We’re very aware of all the new residential development all around us. We want this to be a modern American brasserie where people want to return often.” 

107 Merrimac St., Boston, theboxerboston.com