After fifteen years, The Living Room is closing on January 19th at the end of its lease at Atlantic Avenue on the North End waterfront. The news comes shortly after a spat of local closings, including La Galleria 33 on Salem Street and Durgin Park at Faneuil Hall.
In 1998, it opened as a white table cloth seafood restaurant called “Atlantic 101,” featuring great seafood and a vibrant piano bar atmosphere. As competition heated up in the following five years, it got a bit crowded when Legal Seafood, Naked Fish, King Fish and McCormick & Schmick’s all opened their doors in the area. So in 2003, the seafood restaurant morphed into one of the most happening places on what was then the newly developed waterfront. This concept catered to young professionals who at the time had very few options in the neighborhood for nightlife.
“We were pioneers in the restaurant/bar/lounge scene” said John Hauck, one of the founders of both concepts. “We offered a great selection of American and global comfort food, plus a nice list of creative martini’s and mixed drinks to serve our guests. After we finally got our 2:00 AM license, we added DJ’s and dancing. No one ever thought of putting couches in a bar in those days.” The Living Room filled the need as a place for locals to go to entertain when their own living rooms were too small.
But nothing lasts forever, and the Mercantile building was sold in 2015. “The new owners and management made promises to upgrade the property,” said owners of The Living Room, but that has not happened. “They offered only a one year lease, then another 3 month lease at substantial rent increases. [Mercantile building] management would not commit to a long term lease which the Living Room requested to do much needed renovations.”
“We will miss all of our employees, patrons and the North End community who have been like family to us” lamented JB and Garrett Hauck, who have worked in this family business with their father since 2005.