The Red Hat — a Beacon Hill institution since 1907 — managed to stay open in the 1920s and early ’30s by keeping up appearances as a reputable restaurant while transforming into a speakeasy when the sun went down.
The storied Bowdoin Street establishment survived Prohibition — but the pandemic may have hastened its demise.
The Red Hat, which serves up frothy pours and hearty pub fare, is reportedly shutting its doors, according to WBZ NewsRadio.
A Globe reporter paid a visit to The Red Hat Tuesday but an employee was not able to confirm the closure, referring questions about the Red Hat’s status to the manager, who was not available. There are no social media posts, website updates, or signs outside or inside the bar referencing a closure.
The Red Hat would join a long list of bars and restaurants — including Allston’s Wonder Bar, the South End’s Gaslight, and Whiskey’s in the Back Bay — that have shut down as the pandemic reverberated through the local economy.
The brass draft beer machine, exposed red brick, and thick ceramic dishware evoke a bygone era, the days when the Red Hat catered to dockworkers and shipbuilders looking for cheap grub, according to its website.
The Bowdoin Street storefront is a few blocks away the bar’s original location in Scollay Square, according to a Facebook post. “Ole Scollay’s,” emblazoned next to the bar’s name on the wooden marquee, refers to Scollay Square, once a racy site of vaudeville and burlesque entertainment. The gritty district was bulldozed decades ago and Government Center was erected in its place.
More recently, the Red Hat’s clientele ranged from State House employees to media personalities to rowdy throngs of Suffolk University students in for a burger, a beer, or, like the menu proclaims, a cup of “clam chowdah.”