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Fell’s Point, New Bedford?

Lower Union Street, New Bedford

Lower Union Street, New Bedford

Yesterday brought some more good news for the ongoing revitalization of downtown New Bedford. A consortium of business leaders are teaming up to build a brewpub at the corner of Union and Water Streets.

The Moby Dick Brewing Co. will open in Spring 2017 and join an already impressive roster of eating and drinking establishments  all within a few blocks of each other. They include Whaler’s Tavern, Rose Alley Pub, Cork, Pier 37 and Slainte. Not so far away are Freestone’s and The Garden, and just beyond them are The Pour Farm and No Problemo. I could keep going up the hill from the waterfront but my feet are hurting.

Too many bars, you’re thinking? No way, I say.

In order for a place to become a destination within a city or for an entire region, it needs something called critical mass. There’s no better example of a durable urban concentration of watering holes than Fell’s Point in Baltimore.

Here’s the quick 411 via Wikipedia: Fell’s Point is a historic waterfront neighborhood, established in about 1763, in the southeastern area of the City of Baltimore, in Maryland. There are many shops, including antique stores, restaurants, coffee bars, music stores, a municipal markethouse with individual stalls, and over 120 pubs. Fell’s Point has a maritime past and the air of a seafaring town. It also has the greatest concentration of drinking establishments and restaurants in the city.”

Union & Water Sts. - site of the future Moby Dick Brewing Co. and the intersection of New Bedford's Fell's Point.

Union & Water Sts. – site of the future Moby Dick Brewing Co. and the intersection of New Bedford’s Fell’s Point.

Fell’s Point is a hot spot precisely because of the many  establishments within easy walking distance of each other. The same thing is happening on and around lower Union Street – a block with great maritime ambiance and sweet flavor. Critical mass helps build a brand and create a buzz.

Just look at Groundwork! Individually, its members are small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, what have you…but collectively as people working from this shared space they’re also something else and something more – on the vanguard of what’s next in New Bedford.

There’s no doubt that the concentration of so much energy and talent in one spot enhances the whole in addition to a host of other tangible benefits. It begins to exert a gravitational pull all its own. And it all works out fine as long as you work – and drink – responsibly!

So welcome to the neighborhood, Moby Dick Brewing Co. – and feel free to bring all your friends, too.

Steven Froias