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Martin F. Nolan | Farewell, Locke-Ober

A Globie morale boost, followed by a stick-up

City planners like lanes, alleys, and byways. Winter Place, evoking horse-drawn days, was home to Locke-Ober Cafe. It opened 20 years before Boston began digging America’s first subway under Tremont Street a half-block away.

One election night in the 1970s, Tom Winship, the Globe’s editor, decided to boost morale by suggesting an early dinner at Locke-Ober, where the food was great and the service superb. And with someone else paying, mile-high morale was guaranteed.

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Tom was entertaining several out-of-town editors and invited three Globies at random: night editor Jack Driscoll, political columnist Dave Farrell, and me, a Washington correspondent in town for the election.

Jack, Dave, and I had to leave before dessert. Outside, we encountered two young men, each with pistols. “Throw your money on the ground,” they said. How prosaic, I thought. My frequent Locke-Ober dining companions, George V. Higgins and Robert B. Parker, could have done something literary with this.

We did what the gunslingers said, then went inside to report the crime, then back to the Globe to write about cabbages and kings. Thus ended another night on Winter Place, site of the Great Globe Stick-Up or, as the cops likely called it, just another urban crime statistic.

Martin F. Nolan is a former Globe reporter, Washington bureau chief, and editorial page editor.
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