Food and drink to transform Rhythm and Muse

December 4, 2009
By

Sandra Storey

JP Food and Drink

HYDE SQ.—After 11 years in business here, local book and music store Rhythm and Muse is slated to soon expand into a wine bar and restaurant that also sells CDs, records and books. The business will get a new name to match its new identity, according to owner David Doyle.

If all goes smoothly, he told the Gazette last week, the business at 470 Centre St. on the corner of Roseway Street will also have later hours, a partner with restaurant experience, a kitchen and a beer and wine license in the new year.

A patio may also be in the business’s future, he said, after the front of the building, including the handicapped ramp, gets renovated.

Doyle said the changes come partly to address the struggles his and all independent book and music stores are undergoing. In addition, a recent move by the residential tenant and former building owner freed up a significant amount of space, making a total of 1,600 square feet on the first floor available.

When Bella Luna/Milky Way left its Hyde Square location and moved to The Brewery, Doyle added, “The corner became quieter. It was a real loss for the neighborhood. I had been mulling the concept… but Bella Luna’s departure made it more critical. The area is less vibrant when you lose hang-out places.”

Doyle said he plans to put in for the transfer of a beer and wine license this month.

The wine bar, which will serve small plates—in the tapas tradition, but with a bigger, more varied menu—as well as beer and wine, will be open seven days a week later in the day when more people are around, thus being more convenient for shoppers. Doyle said in additional to traditional seating, one area will probably be used as a “standing” bar.

“The early evening closing [of Rhythm and Muse] was not serving our customers,” Doyle said. “Food and drink should bring in customers who haven’t found us yet.”

Plans include holding events like author appearances in the future.

Prior to the advent of the new establishment, Rhythm and Muse may be open only Thursdays through Sundays in January while renovations take place. It may have to close entirely for a period later as renovations progress.

The name of the business and of the partner who will be in charge of the wine bar/restaurant will be announced soon, Doyle said.

Throughout its existence, Rhythm and Muse has undergone changes designed to improve the business’s viability. Doyle and his brother opened the store 11 years ago at 403A Centre St., next to what was then Bella Luna in Hyde Square. Five years later, to avoid rent increases, Doyle, whose brother had moved to California, moved the store to the former location of Roseway Books down the street where it is now.

He bought the building in 2007 from Olivia Dworkin, who had owned Roseway Books and lived there in an apartment. As part of his purchase of the building from Dworkin, Doyle agreed that her housing there would be secure. At that time, he also made major renovations to the building.

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