Kid Friendly? You Better BEE-lieve it!!!

Last week, we received an impromptu visit from my aunt and uncle who live in Dallas, TX. They flew into Philly the previous week, spent a few days in NJ and NY and were making their way up to Maine. My three female cousins (who I hadn’t seen in TEN years) and their husbands were in tow and none of them had ever spent any time on the East coast — so this was a treat for all involved.

They called me on Sunday to let me know they would be arriving at 9:30am Monday morning. Good thing I don’t get freaked out when folks give such short notice… my only concern was where will we find reservations for tomorrow night, for 10 of us — including a 3-yo??? I wanted it to be someplace hip and cool, a place that all of us would enjoy and that would provide my young cousins and their husbands with a taste of Boston… all the while allowing for an active 3-yo (NOT an easy task).

Now, I could have just made reservations in a pseudo-chain restaurant like the Cheesecake Factory, Joe’s American Bar and Grill or Legal Seafoods (which was recently voted America’s Best Family Restaurant by Child magazine)… but that’s not my style. I wanted a place that represented my favorite things about Boston — good food, good drinks, great atmosphere and a happening scene. I settled on The Beehive, located at 541 Tremont Street in the South End (in the Cyclorama building).

The Beehive is not necessarily known as Boston’s best restaurant; however, it did receive accolades in this year’s Improper Bostonian’s Best of Boston issue as best Bar or Club for 30-something Singles and in the 2007 awards for Boston’s Best Hot Spot. Not exactly an award that comes to mind when trying to find a place to bring a pre-schooler — however, my husband and I have gone there many times and have fallen in love with the place –and I have seen small children in there from time to time, so I figured why not?

I scored a reservation for 10 at 6:15 and made a note in the comment field (I used Opentable)that we would need a booster seat — thus giving them a heads up on what to expect. I also requested that we be put downstairs, where the music stage is and where the atmosphere is more interesting and laid back, with a Parisian, underground, cabaret feel:

We arrived on time and were seated immediately. The only thing that kind of sucked was that they just pushed five of these little round tables together… so it was sort of hard to have a conversation with anyone outside of earshot. There was a booster seat waiting for us though and we were fortunate enough to get seats right in front of the stage (which would prove to be a form of entertainment for the 3-yo later in the evening). Check out their Calendar for a full listing of upcoming events and artists.

Our server was very good and patient with us while we talked rather than deciding what to eat. We started with cocktails and I ordered my favorite… the Beehive Julep, a delicious concoction of two different types of rum, muddle citrus (oranges, lemons and limes) and honey. We also got a couple of orders of the Beehive Frites (another personal favorite) — thin-sliced frites served with fried sage and sea salt ($8). I wasn’t sure what the 3-yo would think since they didn’t look like traditional French fries (and he’s the pickiest eater on Earth), but he seemed to have no problem scarfing them down. Like mother, like son…

The Dinner menu is a tiny bit challenging for the picky child, so I also brought along a stash of his favorite snacks.That said, if you have a child who is a good eater you should have no problems with the menu. You could order the Flatbread Pizza – served with prosciutto, provolone and olive oil ($13), which I’m certain they would serve “plain” if you asked. The Grilled Cheese Sandwiches also look amazing. There is a shortribs, farmhouse cheddar and fontina version for $13 or a tomato, farmhouse cheddar and fontina version for $11. If all else fails, go for the Fresh 3-cheese Ravioli – with basil pesto and green beans ($18). The portions are large, so I’m sure it would be enough for a few childrend to share. And for the little carnivores, get the Beehive Prime Burger ($13) and top it with cheddar, gorgonzola or bacon for an additional $1 each.

Personally, both my husband and I went with the Grilled Shrimp Tacos — served with Spanish rice and seasoned black beans ($18). The flavors were very good, the sides were delicious and the taco shells were clearly homemade; however, the shrimp were very over cooked. A little disappointing.

As the night wore on, the 3-yo became obsessed with these little artificial candles that were sitting on the tables. Watching us from a distance, the owner decided to stop by and give my son a small plastic ice cube that actually lit up iridescent blue (I’m sure he was afraid the 3-yo would dump the candle in his glass). In any case, the child loved it… and even more interesting, it was a leftover prop from the Bruce Willis film The Surrogates, which had used The Beehive as a backdrop in several scenes. A great souvenir!

All in all, a very good experience and definitely a kid-friendly place. We love going to The Beehive for both pre- and post-dinner cocktails. It has great atmosphere and the live entertainment is worth the visit. Oh, and by the way… they have a really cool event coming up. Directly from the press release:

On August 5, 2008 from 9pm to 1am the Beehive in Boston’s South End will present “Pinchbottom Burlesque”; Pinchbottom is where burlesque meets theater, buys it a drink, and takes it to bed. Pinchbottom Burlesque is both the name of a production company which produces themed & scripted burlesque shows in New York City, and the title under which its two creators — Nasty Canasta and Jonny Porkpie — perform as a duet. Each Pinchbottom show centers around a different theme, bringing together striptease and variety acts from top performers with contemporary narrative… and, believe it or not, a plot and a script!

Talk about a fun date night!!! The event takes place from 9pm to 1am and requires no cover charge. Visit the Pinchbottom website for more details on what to expect. The downside is that it’s a Tuesday night, but who doesn’t need a little excitement mid-week?

Originally posted on 7/28/28

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