Joey Arcari and Julian Bolger have owned the property where the Playwright has been for the last 17 years – from the original Molly Darcy’s (my personal favorite back in the day) to the Playwright to now, the new The Punk and Poet.
Seeking a radical change, the owners contracted with Erica and Michael Diskin of Assembly Design who developed the name, concept and design, and the restaurant management team created the menu.
Upon entering you’ll be greeted to a brighter ambiance coupled with some killer old school punk bands playing songs that will whip your memory loop back decades. (Think Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, The Clash, The Jam.) The decor is colorful and energetic with a healthy dose of plaid upholstery and bookshelves teeming with the writings of classic and iconic authors. The space has been opened up and feels less boxy, with one large bar table (apart from the bar counter) that stretches about 3/4 of the room and can accommodate groups with seating and standing room
The menu is fun and the portions are generous. The two appetizers we tried (buffalo cauliflower with whipped blue cheese and the potato bombs filled with cheese, bacon and jalapeno sour cream) are more than enough to share with a group of four. ADVICE: Order a good cold beer to keep handy when sampling the buffalo cauliflower – holy hotness!
The menu has plenty of options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike, and is coded to indicate which items are vegetarian or gluten free. The stuffed meatball casserole with ricotta and spinach ravioli was dinner, lunch and snack for the next day and also a kick-ass comfort food option. Healthier Southie peeps (like my dining companion) can select the kale and quinoa salad, broiled scrod or the salmon with green veggies and cauliflower puree.
The staff and designers put a lot of heart and soul into a very kitschy yet entertaining drink menu that boasts names like Sucker Punch, Berry Punk and The Clash. Punk and Poet also offers all the traditional and popular wines (Sangria, Rose, Sauv Blanc) as well as domestic and foreign beers, with beer mixers on the menu including the Black and Tan, Snake Bite and the Car Bomb.
And my favorite touch? The wait staff all wear T-Shirts that represent the classic punk bands and the check is delivered in an audio cassette case. It’s the little things!
Joey Acari shared some insight as to what was behind the change:
CIS: How do you feel about the abundance of restaurants and bars vying for all the dollars and patrons?
JA: Boston has gone through a tremendous transformation, not only new restaurants but new business in general have populated the area. We are very lucky to have been a part of the neighborhood for so long and we welcome the new energy these places have brought to the area.
CIS: Are you focused on a certain clientele?
JA: We hope that The Punk & Poet will attract everyone living in and around South Boston. The menu is a real focus for us and is evolving daily.
CIS: Do you own other establishments in Southie or the greater Boston area?
JA: The Punk & Poet is part of the Tavern in the Square Management Group. We also own The Broadway (Old Boston Beer Garden) that is set to open in November as well as all Tavern in the Square restaurants in and outside of the city.
I have fond memories of being in Soth Boston wearing my punk rock regalia and being called all kinds of impolite names. Southie is and was a lot of things, but it was never “punk” . Being from Dorchester this does not bother me to much, but if I were OFS I would be howling for them to rename the place “Disco and the Poet”, far more authenticate.
Couldn’t agree more. I respect their attempt to revamp the playwright, but I would much rather have it still be the playwright than this eye sore. I feel like I’m in my grandmothers house with the plaid wallpaper.
Then go back to your room in the basement so you won’t have to look at the wallpaper.
As a long time regular of the Playwright in the 2000’s I am sad to see it go. It had an interesting mix of young and older and locals and yuppies from out of town. I haven’t been to the Punk and Poet but it seems out of character for Southie. I love the music and Lit of the Punk/New Wave era but it’s not Southie. Cambridge or South End maybe. I do wish Joe and Julian luck.
I think it’s a welcomed addition to South Boston. The Playwright certainly needed a change (the smell alone was enough to turn me away). It’s important to remember there’s all types of people living here and we should encourage a mix of styles of restaurants, shops, etc. Southie already has a plethora of Irish pubs and Italian restaurants so it’s nice to have a variety of options.