‘Paint Nite’ paints a picture: Boston wants more creative ways to drink

On an otherwise dull Monday night, a man paints a portrait of the Eiffel Tower in between sips of his beer at Joshua Tree Bar & Grille in Allston.

While many bar-goers feel it is bad enough Boston is deprived of the Happy Hour specials enjoyed by many other cities, there seems to be a longing in the Hub for something else – creative ways to enjoy those after work cocktails.

That was clear at the Joshua Tree Bar and Grille in Allston last week, where about 30 people sat down in front of empty canvases to paint the Eiffel Tower at “Paint Nite,” a new and colorful twist on a typical night out.

The series, which began in May, lets people sip on cocktails while getting a step-by-step painting lesson at local bars.

It was the first time Leah Ellin and her sister Blair Ellin ventured to the bar for an art class.

“We’re laughing a lot, at each other, at our own paintings,” said Leah, 24. “You usually just go to a bar, and there is nothing special going on.”

Her sister Blair agreed: “Other than trivia nights or stuff like that, there is not that much, especially because we don’t have happy hour in Boston… Most activities are sports-oriented. There are not really lots of things to do that are creative.”

Metro asked around, and it seems others shared the sentiment.

“I think you’re living in a city, you want to go out, but there are only so many different things that you can do,” said paint instructor Lindsay Webber. “This gives you something you can take home with you and put on your wall.”

Rows of cautiously creative participants – some of them were with friends, a few were on dates – loosened up a bit after the booze started flowing, become more daring in their strokes.

“I think the novelty of it is appealing. It’s something new, something creative,” said Sean McGrail, general manager of Paint Nite and a self-proclaimed “chief bottle popper.”

“Our target market is people who haven’t painted since the seventh grade; or maybe the last time they painted was with their fingers,” McGrail said.

The idea of painting and drinking is nothing new, with storefronts across the U.S. opening their doors to thirsty artists, but McGrail thinks those places are missing the mark.

“They are in the suburbs. Our events are a bit more fun because people can have more than one cocktail. They tend to get a little bit tipsy,” McGrail said, adding that Paint Niters are encouraged to take public transportation. “We thought if we brought it to neighborhoods (in Boston), people could get drunk, stumble home, take the T, take a short cab ride.”

If you go:

  • Paint Nite tends to attract women between the ages of 21 and 35, according to its creator. The scene is usually 90 percent women, with between 25 and 30 participants showing up to paint.
  • The class can be anywhere from 90 minutes to two-and-a-half hours, and as time passes, so do the drinks, and so does that insecure feeling of being artistically challenged.
  • $45 covers the cost of the smock, the paint, the brushes, the instruction – everything except the cocktails. Most of the events start between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Two Paint Nites will be held Wed. August 29. One will be at 7 p.m. at Green Briar, and another at 7:30 p.m. at Friendly Toast. On Thursday, August 30 there will be a Paint Nite at 7 p.m. at Doyle’s Café
  • Since May, there have been between six and eight Paint Nites each week at local bars in Boston and Cambridge
  • Paint Nite is set to expand to New York City and Portland, ME in September


Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."


Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.


Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.


Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…


FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.


'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.


5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.


College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.


Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.


London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.


Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."