Harold’s Cabin transformed its upstairs space into a new concept — The Pickled Beat, a cozy, casual lounge. Following the success of its Halloween and Christmas pop-up bars, the downtown bar and restaurant wanted to explore other options for the second-level space.

“The advantage to the cabin is having two stories and creating a separate area from the downstairs restaurant and the upstairs bar,” said owner John Schumacher. “[The themed bars] were really well received, but over time, as more people come, the $60,000 question became, ‘What’s next?’”

Adding a holiday themed bar to the upstairs of the cabin was never originally part of the plan, Schumacher said. He just wanted to create a new fun space in general. And while the downstairs restaurant is a more traditional sit-down dining area, the upstairs was meant to be a casual space. 

“We wanted to create a lounge area that highlights the coziness and comfort of what the cabin is,” he said. “The thought was, let’s turn it into what people would consider as your living room at your mom or grandmother’s house — but with a certain vibe.”

That vibe incorporates ’70s-style deep purple and green velvet sofas, deco-patterned window treatments, playful artwork on the walls and soft, mid-century modern light fixtures, paired with the cozy, cabin vibes of downstairs. Music plays from a vinyl record player on a table near the bar, giving the lounge the “beat” part of its name, and truly making it feel like you’re hanging out in someone’s living room.

“We went down a deep rabbit hole,” Schumacher said of naming the upstairs lounge. While there were obvious options like Harold’s Lounge or Lillian’s Lounge (Lillian was the wife of Harold, the namesake of the restaurant), Schumacher wanted to give the upstairs its own identity, separate from Harold’s Cabin. 

Schumacher said the name “Pickled Beat” gave executive chef Taylor Hodgkins and bar manager Michael DeNicola plenty of ideas to play off of for flavor and bright color. 

The Pickled Beat will have its own lounge-exclusive menu of shared plates and a seasonally rotating beet-inspired creations. 

Signature dishes include pickled beet carpaccio, a small plate featuring pickled and marinated beets, mushroom tonnato and herb salad. The star cocktail is the Beetle Juice, a rye-based cocktail with amaro, black pepper, and beet and cherry juice.

Though the upstairs and downstairs have separate identities, Schumacher said patrons can still order downstairs items upstairs and vice versa.

Harold’s Cabin and The Pickled Beat are open Tues.-Sat., 4-10 p.m. at 247 Congress St.

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