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Quick Bite

What it’s like at Democracy Brewing, a worker-owned brewpub in Downtown Crossing

From left: Chef Ben Waxler, cofounder and brewing director Jason Taggart, general manager Courtney Bolinger, and cofounder and CEO James Razsa. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Where to Democracy Brewing, a worker-owned brewpub in Downtown Crossing that opened on the Fourth of July.

What for Foam and foment. Democracy Brewing believes equally in good beer and good working conditions. After a year of full-time employment, staffers become eligible for an ownership share and a vote on decisions affecting the business. Cofounder and CEO James Razsa has a background in economic justice and organizing.

Patrons lined the bar at Democracy Brewing in Downtown Crossing.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The scene The room looks like a cross between a church, a train station, and a barroom, filled with woodwork, stained glass, arched ceilings, and nooks for nestling in. (It used to be Windsor Button.) A line of communal tables parades down the center. Over the bar, two barrels protrude from the wall, and on the brick is a painted logo of a handshake framed by hops. A mural of a woman with sword and beer in hand features the motto of the Commonwealth: “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem” (often translated as “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty”). The after-work crew has gathered for beers. One table is occupied by a gang of miscreants in softball jerseys. There’s a secret room in the corner full of guys in scrubs. Brewing takes place in the basement; you can get a view of the setup through the windows.

Brewing tanks are visible just off the bar at Democracy Brewing.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

What you’re eating Chef Ben Waxler (The Haven) serves up beer cheese nachos and pretzels, pizza bagels, burgers, and hand pies. There are also entrees such as chorizo-stuffed chicken and Portuguese fish stew. For dessert, perhaps a stout float or a deep-fried Fluffernutter?


Portuguese fish stew at Democracy Brewing in Downtown Crossing.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Care for a drink? You’re here for the beer, which might include the Suffragette Pale Ale, Fighting 54th Saison, Consummate Rioter IPA, and 1919 Strike Stout. Cofounder and brewing director Jason Taggart was previously a head brewer at John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House.


The pizza bagel trio at Democracy Brewing.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Overheard Talk of scheduling, craft projects, and beer. “The Portuguese stew is so good,” a bartender tells a customer. “I’m Portuguese. I can’t even tell my grandma how good it is.” “I think that’s where the yarn used to be,” one woman says to another as they take a tour of the room. “I’ll never finish that sweater, will I?” “Ontario is a province,” someone informs a dining companion at the bar. A man sips and reflects: “The pale ale is competently made,” he declares.

The inside of the brewpub.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

35 Temple Place, Downtown Crossing, Boston, 857-217-BREW, www.democracybrewing.com .

Devra First can be reached at devra.first@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.