Food & Drink

Take a Peek Inside “Parla,” an Italian Speakeasy Opening in Boston’s North End [Photos & Menu]

Vince D’Angelo, Managing Consultant (Parla photo)

It is opening week for Parla, an Italian speakeasy at 230 Hanover Street (formerly Il Villaggio) in Boston’s North End. The new team in charge has completely revamped the place, led by Vince D’Angelo. Having come from Royale, Vince developed the Parla concept of an Italian-themed speakeasy with a working class feel. An opening release describes, “a curious dining experience. We believe in bold ingredients and even bolder spirits. So take a step back in time. Change is here.

Executive Chef, Eric Buonagurio (Parla photo)

In the kitchen is Executive Chef Eric Buonagurio, who worked under celebrity chef Jason Santos and was part of the team that opened Abby Lane, Blue Inc. and most recently was Chef De Cuisine at Harry’s in Back Bay. He’s not a stranger to Hanover Street with a stint at Quattro too. Behind the mixology of Parla is bar manager Morgan Mason with experience at several Boston lounges, clubs and restaurants including The Lenox, The W, The Hilton, Tico, Julep and most recently Blue Inc.

Morgan Mason, Bar Manager (Parla photo)

The menu, shown below, is an Italian influenced mix of dishes including Monkfish Osso Bucco, Oxtail Arancini, Flash Fried Burrata and a Squid Ink Gnocci.

On the beverage side, there is a craft beer menu (including the Game of Thrones limited release), an all Italian wine list and a cocktail selection with twists on the classics, featuring the Rhuby Mule, the Dillinger Sidecar and the Bee-Sting Julep.

We stopped in for some photos, shown below, as the crew was furiously working toward a soft opening on Monday, April 14th. Officially, the doors open on Wednesday, April 16th.

Parla is a small restaurant that does not take reservations. So, capacity is expected to be an issue especially during the soft opening. Hours are 4pm-12:30am. There is a sign-up at for opening updates as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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Photos by Matt Conti.

Here is the Parla menu:

8 Replies to “Take a Peek Inside “Parla,” an Italian Speakeasy Opening in Boston’s North End [Photos & Menu]

    1. Does it really matter?

      In either case you can still order a Martini, Bloody Mary, Margarita (pick your poison) off the menu, just in the case of cordials your paying $10+ for a cocktail when what you are really getting is a glorified Shirley Temple.

      1. Consumer Reports – my sentiments exactly. Many of these places without the full liquor license pretend to have one by putting martinis, margaritas and other cocktails on their specialty menu. There’s a significant difference between a real martini and one made using that sugary crap those places use. Sweetened whiskey is also quite offensive in my opinion. Wish them the best but if it’s not full liquor, I won’t be drinking at their “speakeasy”.

    1. Been to parla 3 times now and I have to say it is one of my favorite spots in Boston. Believe me the cordial license is more than sufficient here as these mixologists have created some fantastic drinks. It’s my understanding that to qualify as a cordial the alcohol only needs one gram of sugar per gallon? Or ltr. Either way the cocktails were in no way too sweet and the bee sting was right up my ally. Smokey spicey dry.

  1. 1. As a fellow business owner I feel the need to inform the under informed. A cordials license has nothing to do with alcohol proof or percentage. It’s a weird sugar content grey area thing. In fact, all that a liquor needs to be considered a cordial is one gram of sugar per liter. To put that in perspective, one 12oz can of coke is 22 grams of sugar. The sugar cube that you would put into a standard old fashioned would make it more than 6 times the amount required to consider it a cordial by volume. No matter what whiskey you are using. Sorry to break the news to you “whiskey aficionados”.

    2. Liquor companies have figured this out. Almost every type of liquor is is available in a “cordial” format. Which means, they add just enough sugar (barely any) to make it widely available to restaurants and bars without the 480k to shell out for a full liquor. Not affecting the percent alcohol by volume in anyway whatsoever. Places that have cordials licenses can even bring in Absinthe and Chartreuse… Both ridiculously high in proof 120+.

    3. For places that have intelligent and creative bartenders, this isn’t an issue. Coppa does a tremendous job with their cordials license to the point that any seasoned drinker can go in and not even realize they don’t have full liquor. Bartenders adjust the ingredients of a cocktail based on the fact that the liquor being poured contains slightly more sugar than usual, and use less sugary mixers. The result, a balanced cocktail with just as much proof as you’d find in any bar with a full liquor.

    So, when you order your next old fashioned and complain about how your offended by the fact that places aren’t using “real whiskey”. Just realize that knob creek old fashioned you just ordered, has 6 times the amount of sugar in it than a standard cordial whiskey pour. And the cordial will get you just as drunk. 😉

  2. I appreciate the info.. If you’re drinking straight vodka or whiskey.. or on the rocks.. or something like a vodka soda, the flavored “sweetened” liquors are pretty gross.

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