Today’s Saturday Short is another new addition to Boston’s growing speciality coffee scene. Just one block along Boston High Street from Monday’s Coffee Spot, Phin Coffee House, it’s even newer, having only opened at the start of March. I’m talking about Gracenote Coffee and Wine Bar, part of High Street Place, a new food hall which occupies the atrium between two downtown skyscrapers.
The coffee and wine bar is the second outlet for renowned roasters, Gracenote, joining its original Boston coffee shop, itself a few blocks away on Lincoln Street. The coffee offering in High Street Place is more modest, with the reliable Alpha blend on espresso, joined by a rotating cast of single-origins on batch brew filter. What makes Gracenote stand out is the selection of wine and cocktails that are offered alongside the coffee and available well into the evening.
Although there’s no seating at the Gracenote itself, which occupies a simple counter, you’re welcome to take your coffee (or wine/cocktails) and sit anywhere within High Street Place (or outside if you wish).
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
High Street Place has its main entrance on the north side of Boston’s High Street, a rather glittering affair, recessed between two office towers and flanked by a pair of outdoor seating areas (the one on the right being graced with a roof). A second, more modest entrance is around the corner on Federal Street, which leads into the ground floor of one of the towers.
The main entrance opens onto High Street Place’s centrepiece, the atrium between the two office towers, now protected from the elements by a glass roof which soars five storeys above you. There’s a range of food outlets (currently 20), including cafes, bars, fast-food joints, ice cream stores, doughnut bakeries and many more. A few are in the atrium, but most are in the corridors leading off at the back and to the left, which is where you’ll find Gracenote, occupying a long counter in a corridor parallel to the atrium.
I’ve been a fan of Gracenote since coming across its coffee in Render Coffee in 2016. Ironically, given that I’m now in Berlin (Germany) for a week, Gracenote began life in Berlin (Massachusetts) as a roaster in 2012, before opening its lovely coffee bar in October 2015. The addition of the coffee and wine bar was scheduled for early 2020, but, like many things, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with High Street Place only opening in March 2022.
A modest affair, the till and menus stand at the right-hand end of the long counter, with a bright red La Marzocco KB90 espresso machine (in preference to the original coffee bar’s Modbar installation) to the left. Bottles of wine and spirits line up at the back, along with the batch brewers and a limited selection of retail bags. Compared to the original coffee bar, with its pour overs and single-origin espresso options, the offering here is deliberately more subdued, the mainstay Alpha blend (of two naturally-processed coffees) on espresso, joined by a single-origin on batch brew, which changes every few days (Ethiopia Misty Valley during my visit).
Gracenote also offers a select range of high-quality wines (some Greek wine will be arriving soon) and various cocktails, offering new twists on old favourites (such as the nitro Old Fashioned that was being prepared when I arrived). Sadly, I can’t really comment on the wine/cocktails, since I was on my way to the airport to fly home, and only had time for a quick espresso, as lovely as ever, served in one of Gracenote’s gorgeous handleless ceramic cups.
Although I took my espresso standing at the counter, chatting with the barista, you’re free to take your drinks anywhere within High Street Place (including the outside seating). Don’t worry about bringing the lovely cups back to Gracenote when you’re done: the table staff know which ones belong to which food stall!
|100 HIGH STREET • BOSTON • MA 02110 • USA|
|Monday||07:00 – 21:00||Roaster||Gracenote (espresso + batch brew)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 21:00||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 21:00||Food||N/A|
|Thursday||07:00 – 23:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 23:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 23:00||Wifi||No|
|Chain||Local||Visits||2nd May 2022|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Boston’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Boston & Cambridge.
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