The Mayor's Office of Arts + Culture for Boston. We foster the growth of the cultural community in Boston and promote participation in the arts.
Jamaica Plain’s brewery complex is best known for the Samuel Adams brewery, JP’s most popular attraction. It also houses some great places to eat and interesting non-profits and forms the hub of an important neighborhood for artists.
Brewing beer was once this area’s key industry, and at the turn of the 20th century, Boston had 31 breweries with 24 located in Jamaica Plain or neighboring Roxbury. None of those breweries still operate, but the Samuel Adams company (founded in the 1980s) runs a working brewery in part of this historic brick complex (30 Germania St.) They offer free tours and, of course, free samples in their beer garden.
Outside the Sam Adams brewery, a series of three large paintings by Alex Cook has recently appeared. They celebrate JP's history of diversity and activism.
The other half of the brewery complex (at 284 Amory St.) is operated by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Council, housing their headquarters and several other non-profit and small business tenants as well as artist studios. Is was once the Haffenreffer brewery, as evidenced by the smokestack. Until recently it read “Fenreffer,” the “Haf” portion of the smokestack having fallen off, but the letters have been restored.
The small businesses include Ula Cafe, one of several JP indie cafes known for their gourmet coffee and baked goods. It’s also a popular meeting place where you’re likely to overhear locals plotting their next creative projects. The cafe offers outdoor seating in good weather.
Near Ula, you may notice a loading dock and people repairing bicycles. This is the headquarters of Bikes Not Bombs, a non-profit that receives about 6,000 used bicycles a year, repairs them, and donates them to economic development programs in foreign countries, or uses them in its own programs teaching bike safety and repair skills to local youth.
Also on this side of the complex, Bella Luna/Milky Way is known for its popular thin-crust pizza and its eclectic evening entertainment including jazz nights, gay nights, Latin nights, and trivia. Previously located in the Hyde Square area, where it included a tiny bowling ally, the restaurant and bar have been longtime neighborhood favorites. They offer patio seating in good weather.
Stony Brook Fine Arts, just beyond the brewery complex at 24 Porter St., offers classes in welding and sculpting as well as a "Make Your Own Wedding Rings” workshop. Outside you can see several sculptures by co-founder and instructor Morris Norvin, including his scrap-metal homage to Michelangelo’s David. Several of the buildings between here and the Green Street MBTA Station contain artists studios, making this a great area to explore during Jamaica Plain Open Studios each September.
Cover photo credit: Josh Kastorf