Here’s a riddle for you: What do you get when you cross a community center, a coworking space, and a healthy café?
Answer: Hall, a 2,400 square foot space in Boston’s Back Bay with tables, chairs, and desks which serves as a workspace during the day and transforms into a meeting space and dinner club at night. Albert Nichols founded Hall out of his apartment in 2015. He wanted to create a space where busy professionals could come together, meet new people, and talk about their days over a healthy meal, without having to spend all their money at restaurants. Sort of like roommate dinners, but for adult-y adults (read: no floor sitting or boxed macaroni cheese).
Meals are available Sunday through Thursday from 4:30pm until closing time at 10pm. The rotating menu, developed and prepared by two staff chefs, includes dishes like Vegan Pad Thai and Ginger Miso Salmon. Each night they offer two meal options: a “Light Option” that’s vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free; and a “Hearty Option” which features meat. All meals are vegetable-centric and can be eaten at the Hall or taken home.
In addition to meals five days a week, Hall offers many of typical coworking spot amenities: coffee, fast Wi-Fi, a variety of cushy seating options, and networking opportunities. It also offers a weekly agenda with events like Fireside Chats featuring community members and Town Hall meetings.
Hall has two membership tiers: $350/month, the “All Access” membership will give you access to Hall during open hours (6am-10pm Mon-Fri, 6am-6pm Sat and Sun), with coffee, meals, and networking events included. The “Home Base” membership includes access to the Hall and networking events, plus the option to pay $9 for a meal and $3 for coffee.
As of late, coworking spaces have been embracing new angles and offering new amenities to attract the growing number of remote workers. In addition to more traditional models like WeWork, companies gearing coworking areas towards women, the tech community, and social justice. A few months ago Jenn Marsten wrote about how posh restaurants are turning their dining rooms into coworking spaces during lunch hours — though most have abbreviated hours.
I myself work out of a coworking space in Seattle which, for a comparable monthly fee to the Hall, gives me a floating desk, free coffee, wifi, and access to community events. The place does its job of giving me a workplace that’s not my studio apartment — but now that I know about Hall, I’m really wishing I also got healthy dinners. For nights when I’m too busy/tired to cook, the option to snag a home-cooked meal on my way out of the office is a lot more tempting than a microwave dinner or the hefty delivery pricetag. Plus, having meals would incentivize me to stay longer and get some work done over supper — or hang with my fellow coworkers — instead of heading home to eat on the couch.
Many coworking spots — my own included — offer occasional free meals or drinks to members for networking events. However, the emphasis on community and co-dining makes Hall unique. At a time where remote work and freelancing is becoming more the norm, the opportunity to work in a space that provides a communal, supportive vibe is a valuable one. And the fact that Pad Thai is included doesn’t hurt.