Nestled on the edge of the Financial District lies a bar with two identities. Aptly named, Good Life provides two types of atmospheres: a corporate hangout by day and a bass-thumping music haven by night. You can indulge in whichever style fits your fancy.
The first clue that this is not your average watering hole is the artwork placed throughout the three distinct gathering areas. The spaces are curated by Lot F Gallery (lotfgallery.com) and feature works by local artists who paint street art or graffiti. The artwork changes monthly and all pieces are available for purchase.
In the bar area, you’ll find ample seating at the distressed wood bar that spans the length of a mirrored wall full of spirits. If you’d like a more intimate feel, head to the corner table just by the bar’s entrance. It’s a great cove for people-watching.
As you move into the dining area, there are also comfortable banquettes and tables that allow unobstructed views of the room, and floor-to-ceiling corner windows flood the space with light on sunny days.
A sign that reads “Vodka Bar” leads you to the basement. They still hold vodka tastings once a month, but the rest of the time, the space provides another bar and has the most intimate seating of all the spaces. During the week and daytime, it provides seating for overflow from the dining room but by night serves as the club area. A large part of the floor is open for dancers to do their thing without obstruction. The plush black wooden benches provide respite from the dancing frenzy, though on a good night, they’re mostly used as makeshift coat racks.
On the weekends, there are three distinct DJ booths that play music from different genres. If you don’t like what’s playing in the bar, you may find something more appealing in the dining room or basement.
Drinks and Bites:
When brothers Peter and Chris Fiumara took over Good Life in 2005, the menu was geared toward fine dining. Sensing a change in the area’s customer base, they decided to switch to an American bistro style. The kitchen uses local produce and cheeses for most food items. Patrons can enjoy wraps, burgers, pizzas and salads. The must-try items are the steak and cheese egg rolls.
The drink menu keeps it fun with drink names like Malibu Barbie and Dirty Ol’ Shirley. In a distinct twist, the venue’s successful night life parties get their own drink added to the list. Their most popular and longest-running night (six years), Fresh Produce is a hip hop and reggae night that features a drink comprised of Sailor Jerry rum, Peach Schnapps, banana liqueur, pineapple, lemon and orange juices.
Both the management staff and owners have DJing in their background, so it’s no accident that a certain amount of detail is put into the music selection. Monthly parties take place every Wednesday through Saturday; each one has a different name, theme and musical genre. Jeff Gilbridge, the public relations specialist says, “We pretty much cover every musical genre in this venue, except for maybe country.”
Diversity is key to the spot’s success. If hardcore techno is playing in the basement, they can cater to the more hip hop or reggae crowd upstairs and keep mostly everyone happy.
As much as they work to have diverse music sets, they do have their limits. Here, the music choices are left to the professionals; the Good Life’s DJs don’t take requests. And if you consider yourself a Katy Perry minion, you’ll have to get your fix somewhere else.
They’ve been able to attract DJs like Nina Sky, Maseo of De La Soul and Houston DJ Michael Watts, founder of Swishahouse Records. They like to get artists before they “blow up,” although it’s getting to be more of a challenge in the digital age. “We had Mayer Hawthorne booked four months out, and the night before he was to come here, he got booked on Jimmy Kimmel. Fortunately, he still showed up,” remembers Gilbridge.
Diversity of music apparently doesn’t drive up costs. Wednesdays and Thursdays are free, and they try to keep other nights to no more than $5 with the price going up to $10 for special events. “As operating costs have increased, we have had to increase our cover charges, but it was almost across our dead bodies. We’re trying to maintain what a lot of people like about this place: the cost of coming to see a good DJ or a good band is very low,” says Gilbridge.
An added bonus: there is never a dress code.
Thursday, March 28, the monthly party A Lil’ Louder (every last Thursday of the month) will give you a ragamuffin bashment of hipster meets hip hop: ‘80s babies meets ‘90s teenagers mayhem. The party starts at 10 p.m., but trust me — you’ll want to arrive earlier. No cover.
Saturday, March 30, the popular dance “twerk” is getting its own festival with DJs spinning NOLA Bounce, Baltimore Club, Miami Bootie Bass, Bootie House, Chicago Juke, Reggae and Reggaeton on their two floors all night long. The cost is $5 and the party will start at 10 p.m.
Recently they’ve added a weekly Tuesday for gamers of all kinds starting at 5 p.m. Patrons can go tabletop with card or board games, or go digital with video game hookups for N64, Xbox and Wii. Prizes and raffle items change weekly. The event is all ages until 10 p.m and there is no cover.
Why You Should Visit:
If you’re a music lover or want to expand your musical intelligence, Good Life is the place you should check out on a regular basis. Ever heard of Moomba tone? I hadn’t either until I went there. Any night of the week you can hear something different, and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg or wear hard bottom shoes to do it.
If you’re in the Financial District during the day, know you can stop by for a drink and get a satisfying meal while you take a break from working long hours.
Some may call think of the spot as a Jekyll and Hyde, but I prefer to think of it as the super hero of night clubs — a Clark Kent by day and Superman by night. Different sides of the same coin that leave room for a personal interpretation of “good.”
28 Kingston St.
Boston, MA, 02111