At any given bar there's a tipping point at which the potential upside of the space itself begins to trend downward once you've introduced enough customers. The best recent example of that delicate balance at work is the Rooftop at the Revere Hotel. While previous attempts to simulate the glitz of Las Vegas here in decidedly un-glitzy Boston ended up feeling forced, and kind of silly, the layout of the pool-side style bar and lounge on the rooftop of the Revere is genuinely beautiful.
Luxuriant cabanas line the edges of the space, with lounge chairs and couches strewn throughout the central area amid huge potted plants and tiki-style statues. The views of the South End and Back Bay alone make it worth a visit. This would be an idyllic venue for a day spent relaxing in the sun with a cocktail or a romantic evening...with a cocktail. The problem is, it's likely to become a very popular destination — particularly on weekend nights — and, as it stands, the bar isn't ready to handle that sort of volume.
On a recent visit it was somehow simultaneously the most over and under-staffed bar I've drank at. Teams of bikini top-clad waitresses wandered around, adjusting beach towels, while we waited for service that wasn't going to arrive at our pair of lounge chairs. Apparently one has to go to the small, 7-seat bar in the corner of the rooftop to order drinks, staffed by only two bartenders on a Friday night. Both were undeniably working their butts off to get the drinks out, but the crowd was too much too handle — and it wasn't even that busy. Strangely, that applied to food service too. Apparently you're meant to go to the bar, order your food, then go back to your seat, and...I don't know, guess when it's ready and go bring it back yourself? It's hardly a system conducive to the relaxing experience the Rooftop's ambiance inspires. "There is so much staff, but it's mostly decorative,” my friend (an old industry vet) said. “I'm not upset about my experience, I'm just angry at the efficiency.”
The cabanas, however, which can be reserved with a $300 food and beverage minimum (Monday-Friday, 4-10:30 p.m.), are fully serviced. Access to the bar itself, and the pool, is $30 per day and free after 4 p.m.
Despite the hiccups in operations, however, this place is definitely worth a visit, and I'm looking forward to going back. It's a decidedly unique space in the city and, if you time it just right (say, on a slow afternoon or early evening) and get yourself situated correctly, it will make you feel like you've left the city altogether. To visit Vegas, perhaps.
200 Stuart St., Boston