The original Night Shift Brewery in industrial Everett is one of our favorite places to hang in Boston. It feels like a warehouse that got taken over by a rogue art collective so they could throw parties with their friends who just happen to brew some of the best beer in New England. You can grab a seat on the couch, play corn hole outside, or get something to eat from the rotating food trucks. Spend a Saturday afternoon there, and you’ll wonder why the other days of the week exist at all.
Unfortunately, there’s that whole “industrial Everett” part, meaning that, as fun as the brewery is, it’s not a place you can easily hop into whenever you need a quick reminder that life can be pretty great. That’s why we were so excited when Night Shift opened a second location with a full kitchen right next to the Garden. Finally, we’d be able to get to Night Shift without crossing multiple bodies of water and potentially wandering into an abandoned factory being used as a CIA black site. But unfortunately, it turns out to be the brewery version of all the other Baldwins compared to the original’s Alec.
Almost none of the elements that make the Everett location so great made it across the Mystic. The art has been replaced with flat screens. The couches have been replaced with tables you usually need to reserve in advance. And the feeling that you could hang out all day and potentially meet some new people is gone, replaced with the suspicion that you’re surrounded by people politely humoring each other for an hour before they go home and then see each other again for tomorrow’s 9:30 all-hands.
To be fair, a lot of these changes are to be expected given the location itself, which puts it right in the middle of a lot of office workers and people who just want something quick before a game or concert across the street. And we could almost accept losing some of the original’s charms if it meant gaining something worthwhile - in particular, that full kitchen. But sadly, the food is stuff that would be at home on a T.G.I. Friday’s menu. You can expect overcooked burgers, pretty boring flatbreads, and your standard buffalo chicken sandwich. Almost nothing is as good as what you’re likely to get from whatever food truck happens to be in Everett on any given day.
There are still reasons to come here. The beers are outstanding, there’s an on-site coffee shop, and, if you want to catch the game (or drink before actually going to the game) in a place that doesn’t make you smell like fried hot sauce or stare at pictures of Kevin McHale’s armpit hair for two hours, then this is a great option.
But if you want to show an out-of-towner what makes Boston’s breweries so great, you’re going to have to make the trek out to Everett. The original location feels like being at a backyard BBQ. The Lovejoy Wharf location feels like being at a sports bar.
The marmalade sauce they’re served with is great and deserves to be paired with something better than these little fried balls of quinoa that look like arancini but don’t taste nearly as good.
It’s pretty hard to be disappointed by anything fried that you can dip into ranch. You won’t be disappointed by these, but you won’t be that impressed, either.
It’s basically a very sweet, mediocre pizza.
It’s topped with beer cheese and bacon, so that’s nice, but it’s also cooked well-done and you’re given no say in the matter, so there isn’t a lot to differentiate the beef blend from what you get at any fast-food joint.