A reincarnation of James’s Gate could swing open as soon as January, according to Paul Byrne, manager and owner of the proposed pub.
“The Gate,” as the new venue would be called, would open in the Egleston Square space occupied for the last four years by Coco’s Lounge at 3171 Washington St.
A neighborhood board voted unanimously to support the project at a hearing Tuesday.
Byrne, a fixture in JP restaurant circles, co-owned James’s Gate with Christy Page. The two parted ways over the abrupt closure of the McBride Street landmark a year ago in September. That parcel is slated to become a five-story mixed-use building. A local group has looked to open a community-owned bar at the site.
Byrne declined to discuss the dissolution of James’s Gate when asked at Tuesday’s meeting by Michael Reiskind, chairman of the committee running the hearing.
The Gate would open in Egleston in a space already given a wholesale makeover by Jose de la Rosa, former proprietor of Coco’s Lounge. De la Rosa, who attended Tuesday’s meeting in support of Byrne’s project, said he closed Coco’s in August to focus on his main line of business: home care.
“I’m delighted to have found this place on Washington Street,” Byrne told the 20-plus people packed in a meeting room on the first floor of Curtis Hall.
The Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council recommended support for transfer of the food and alcohol license held by Coco’s Lounge to The Gate. The JPNC is an elected advisory board. Its recommendations are usually — but not always — taken by the City Hall boards that really have say. But the thumb’s up from this committee will help when The Gate goes before the city’s Licensing Board.
The new Gate would have 75 seats. Byrne will seek an entertainment license allowing three TVs and as many as five live musicians playing Irish sessions.
One neighborhood group representative, who supported The Gate, did say parking may be more of an issue at the Egleston location than it was in Centre/South, where James’s Gate had its own parking lot.
De la Rosa said he expected parking would be less of a problem than it was with Coco’s Lounge, arguing that his clientele often drove in from Lawrence and Lynn whereas The Gate would attract more of a local audience.
Keith Harmon, a business partner with the Tres Gatos group of JP restaurants, spoke in favor of Byrne’s plan.
“James’s Gate was part of JP’s DNA and has been very badly missed,” he said.
One wrinkle apt to disappoint new regulars at The Gate is that it cannot have a fireplace. James’s Gate opened in the mid-1990s just before the Boston Fire Department banned fireplaces in restaurants.
Byrne told Jamaica Plain News he hopes to be open by New Year’s.