Jamaica Plain’s Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge to close

Via Facebook

Jamaica Plain venue Milky Way Lounge and accompanying eatery Bella Luna Restaurant will not reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Facebook post from the businesses.

“After several months of considering all options, we have concluded that we cannot reopen Bella Luna & The Milky Way,” the post states. “We are heartbroken to announce that we will remain closed permanently.”

The news, shared this evening (June 17), states that the businesses are not comfortable subjecting their staff and guests to the potential of getting COVID-19, and therefore cannot reopen for the foreseeable future, making it impossible for the businesses to be “financially sustainable” in the meantime.

“The mission of our business is to gather people together in groups, to foster social closeness — the opposite of social distancing,” the statement explains. “Gathering in groups is not going to be a safe activity until there is a widely-available vaccine or treatment. We are not comfortable putting our team members and guests at risk of contracting the virus while working and dining in our space. Also, the public health hazards of Covid-19 will exist for over a year; and without being able to operate at full capacity, our business is not financially sustainable.”

The Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge have remained staples of the Jamaica Plain arts and culture scene in almost 30 years of existence. First came the restaurant, which held only 19 seats when it opened in 1993, and then the business expanded and founded the Milky Way Lounge & Lanes in 1999. It closed its famed Centre Street location in 2008 before opening on Amory Street, and over the decades has hosted a variety of events, from live local music and dance parties to karaoke, comedy, burlesque shows, and weddings.

“We are tremendously grateful for our 27 ½ years in this beautiful neighborhood of Jamaica Plain and the wonderful City of Boston,” the post shares. “Thank you for dining, dancing, bowling, celebrating and gathering with us! Many of you have been visiting Bella Luna for all of our 27+ years, and we have been blessed to serve many of your families through several generations. Thank you for making Bella Luna & The Milky Way your second home, for becoming friends with us and our team, for celebrating life’s most precious moments with us. It has been our honor to serve you all. We are proud of having created a vibrant and safe space for all, founded in the values of generosity, inclusivity, creativity and respect. We are proud of our team members, past and present, who worked with tremendous dedication and commitment to carry out our special brand of hospitality with a purpose. We are proud of our wonderful promoting partners and the countless talented performers who expressed themselves through music, dance, art, spoken word, opera, crafts, comedy, story-telling & fashion, and to all who came to witness and celebrate that talent.”

It concludes: “Thank you all for having fun and creating community in our space. We are proud of having used our business to support so many amazing non-profit organizations and individuals working to build a better Boston; thank you for giving us the opportunity to help.”