A sun-kissed spring day on Wednesday, May 8, was the setting for the soft opening of the seasonal Owl’s Nest Beer Garden on the Charles River Esplanade.
Following on the success of last year’s inaugural season, which drew around 50,000 patrons between Aug. 1 and the last weekend of October, Everett’s Night Shift Brewing will again offer a selection of craft beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in a self-contained area of the park at the Storrow Memorial Embankment Park (Fiedler Field) while rotating food trucks will also be set up on site.
The Owl’s Nest hours of operation are Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday from 2 to 10 p.m.; Saturday noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., and the beer garden will remain open through the end of October.
“The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is thrilled to have Night Shift Brewing back for a second season at both the Charles River Esplanade and the Christian A. Herter Park offering park visitors with an opportunity to unwind, relax, and enjoy the local scenery,” DCR Commissioner Leo Roy said. “The agency works hard to ensure a high level of access is provided to the public throughout the state parks system, and we are pleased to once again offer this unique amenity for all to enjoy responsibly.”
Matt Eshelman, Night Shift’s quality manager, said the brewery was “happy to be back on the Esplanade” and “couldn’t ask for a greater workplace than on the Charles.”
Said Eshelman, “We have a great partnership with the Esplanade Association and DCR…which provides us with this great spot along the river.”
Michael Nichols, the Esplanade Association’s executive director, said, “We’re thrilled to have Night Shift back for a full season this year…and they’ve been a terrific partner that continues to support the Esplanade itself.”
Kelsey Pramik, director of programs and outreach for the nonprofit, said, “We’re thrilled [the Owl’s Nest] is back for a longer season…open in May and June so people can take advantage of the beautiful spring weather on the Esplanade.”
Pramick also expressed her gratitude to Night Shift for supporting the Esplanade Association throughout the whole year.
Charlie Zechel, executive director of Community Boating, Inc., described the Owl’s Nest as a “wonderful addition to the park…which has diversified its offerings through partnerships with DCR and the Esplanade Association.”
Commonwealth Avenue resident Annie Antos, who was among the estimated 200 and 350 guests in attendence at the soft opening, along with her dog Heidi, a 6-year-old German shepherd-boxer mix, said she tried unsuccessfully to patronize the beer garden “four or five time last year, but it was always pretty packed.”
This time, however, she received advanced notice of the soft opening because she follows Owl’s Nest on Instagram. (The Esplanade Association worked with Night Shift to get the word out about the soft opening to various stakeholders and “help Owl’s Nest staff work through what typical operations will be like for the summer,” Pramik said.)
Likewise, Millennium Tower resident Rich McCracken who attended the soft opening with Lucas, his 13-year-old Vizsla, said he tried to patronize the beer garden several times while walking his dog through the Esplanade last summer, but was also ultimately discouraged by the long lines.
“I think it’s fantastic,” McCracken said of the Owl’s Nest. “Not only is it dog friendly, but you also have the Charles and the sailboats as the backdrop.”