The idea behind a forthcoming Downtown Crossing brewery was born from more than simply beer. Democracy Brewing co-founders James Razsa and Jason Taggart kept community on their minds as they created the concept for their employee-owned beer hall and scratch kitchen that’s slated to open in June.
“My background is community and labor organizing,” Razsa says. “I got tired of focusing on problems and wanted to focus on solutions. For me, that meant a company that was actually worker-owned and could provide really good living wages.”
Razsa and Taggart took inspiration from traditional German beer halls and Boston’s history when designing the 156-seat interior filled with long communal tables, sweeping arches and a bar that stretches the length of one wall. Paintings and pictures of the Sons of Liberty and other 18th-century Massachusetts trailblazers decorate the 208-person space, which will also feature a “snug,” a traditional private dining room from the U.K. that will accommodate eight to 10 guests and include a small door that opens directly to the bar. The brewery plans to host live music, movie nights and broadcast sports games on the big screen.
“A lot of people are doing the brewery thing now,” Razsa says. “I think the difference is we’re trying to combine that with the best of beer culture. We are going for a traditional German beer hall mixed with an almost-Victorian pub.”
Helmed by chef Ben Waxler, the kitchen will serve elevated pub food for lunch and dinner every day. Starters include beer cheese nachos topped with chicken confit and apple salsa, while chorizo-stuffed chicken served with beer mustard spaetzle and creamed Swiss chard will be available as an entree. The menu will also feature pizza bagels, like the spicy Hawaiian made with walnut-poblano pesto, bacon, pineapple and gruyere, and burgers such as the B-B-B Beerger topped with beer battered pickles, beer aioli, bacon and cheddar. For dessert, prepare yourself for a deep-fried fluffernutter served with jelly ice cream. The brewery will carry five main draft brews—spanning from a light-bodied Workers Pint to a 1919 Strike Stout—along with five rotating seasonal options, and the menu also points out beer recommendations to accompany many of the food items.
“I want folks to know that they can come in here and get the best—in my very biased opinion—food in Boston and the most amazing beer to pair with it,” Razsa says. “But they’re also helping to make sure that 48 folks can get a living wage of $15 an hour.”
Democracy Brewing 35 Temple Place, Boston democracybrewing.com