The Penalty Box in North Station was one of Boston’s more legendary dive bars, serving more than just thirsty Bruins and Celtics fans before and after games across the street from the two Gardens. The much-maligned room above the Penalty Box is very near and dear to this website, as the Upstairs Lounge-era of the room was the first home of the Pill dance night. We called that dump home from 1997 to 2002.
Before it was the Upstairs Lounge, it was Chet’s Last Call and the Causeway, home to many local rock shows.
Now, the space is being relaunched into a restaurant taking the Causeway moniker; it’s planned as a BBQ joint that will no doubt be haunted by hardcore and hipster ghosts and Mary behind the bar in a Byron Dafoe shirtsey, pining for the days of old.
Although they missed the projected late April or early May opening, it now looks like “that barbecue joint across from the Garden” is within weeks of opening. The outside may be boarded, but the kitchen is outfitted with a J&R smoker and the interior decor (a mix of sports, spirits and rock & roll) is nearly complete. There are bars on the first and second floors, with roomy leather booths and banquettes making for a comfortable dining setting. Most of the walls are exposed brick.
Here are two pics of the upstairs… it’s a far cry from the Pill days.