Bowery Bar touts its patio dining experience

Bowery ownership left the restaurant’s best asset – its outdoor patio – largely untouched.
Maddie Kilgannon photo

The Bowery Bar in Lower Mills is officially open, offering fresh spins on American cuisine after 4 p.m. on weekdays, and after 11:30 a.m. on weekends. With both indoor and outdoor dining, the latest addition to the Dorchester food scene has all the ingredients for success.

The space is a familiar one, but improved, particularly inside. Formerly the Ledge— and, until last year, ester— the interior of the restaurant has been totally renovated by the new ownership group, which includes Bolger and Shawn Ahern, who also own Lucy’s American Tavern in Adams Corner. The bar area has a new layout with spacious booths and the entrance shields patrons from the elements, a feature that will be particularly welcome later in the year.

But, for now, the star of the show remains the rear patio, with its small bar, dining space and a lounge. It can seat up to 140 people, with seating underneath strings of outdoor lights and misters. Off in the corner, the lounge is a space for patrons to drink, recline, and be merry, with games like Jenga and Connect Four as entertainment and distraction from the wait time for the next available table.

The area is low and open, with lush greenery hugging the corrugated metal siding of the patio’s walls. A fence traces the property, protecting customers from the great outdoors without hampering their vision of it. “We wanted to be an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city,” said Mark Standish, the restaurant’s manager.

This concept flowed into the vintage design of the main, interior dining area as well, where the restaurant hopes to bring people back to the times when “food, family, and friends were the focus,” said Standish.” With exposed brick walls and wood-beamed ceilings, the interior is almost saloon-style, and the restaurant hopes to use its space to host local musicians.

The food theme: Revamp the classics. This effort is buttressed by the menu, which the owners created by taking the top sellers from menus across Boston — things like steak tips and fish and chips — and making them their own, said Standish. Dinner options range from small plates like guacamole and wings, to salads and heftier supper options like burgers and mac & cheese.

A Reporter favorite? The “Yardbird,” a fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw, pickles, and hot sauce. For dessert, try an ice cream sandwich with brownie, peanut butter swirl and a “chocolate magic shell,” or a slice of homemade pie.

If you’re feeling more surf than turf, the raw bar offers oysters, shrimp, lobster, and tuna poke. Pair with a drink from their selection of beers (over 20 local brews are on tap), whiskeys, and wines, in addition to a creative cocktail menu that builds off the growing summer trend of tiki-inspired drinks – for example, the “Book ’em Dan-o” with Plantation pineapple rum, coconut, pineapple, ginger, and Angostura bitters.

Many of the dishes feature ingredients that the restaurant grew themselves — produce like lavender, basil, and strawberries — to bring an extra dash of freshness to their plates and beverages. This and the patio are central to the Bowery’s mission. The name itself is derived from the Dutch word “bowerij,” meaning homestead farm.

While revamping the classics might be the trend for this restaurant, some things are better off unchanged. While it may seem that the owners are straying from their sports bar roots, don’t fret: Discreetly placed drop-down TVs offer sports fans a way to watch the games without disrupting dinner service.

You can only change so much.