Debating and Drinking: Wit’s End Comes to Inman Square

Wit's EndPete Stein, owner of Wit's End.

Inman Square is about to get wittier with the opening of Wit’s End in the former Hops N Scotch space.

Pete Stein decided he needed to make a career shift when the small real estate company he worked for was acquired by a large corporation. He sat down and made a list of what types of things interested him—from working with people to multi-tasking—and came up with the idea to open a bar.

“Everyone thought I was crazy,” he says. “From a concept perspective, I wanted to do something that was a reflection of me and what I enjoyed. I’m not a foodie, I’m not a chef, but what I did want was a warm, comfortable neighborhood bar where people can go and be the realest version of themselves and engage with one another.”

The motif of two sides to a conversation or argument pops up throughout the bar’s design. The bar itself—which is filled with Scrabble letters below the glass, letting patrons pick out words from the jumble—is half black and half tan. Many of the dishes can be prepared in two ways. Cocktails come in “old school” and “new school” styles.

There will be problems to solve, games to play, and conversations starters at every turn. Patrons can linger over years of TV guides that Stein collected, scans of which now adorn a wall at the back of the bar. A “movie wall” (filled with drawings for people to guess which films they correspond to) underscores Stein’s love of movies. But Stein thinks that Wit’s End can also feel like home to people who’d rather not solve a riddle over their beer.

“It’s a place where you go because it’s a great time, to sit and be with the people you like, meet new people,” he says. “That’s one thing that I’d love to come out of this—it’s the kind of thing where there’s enough going on, hopefully, around you where you turn to the table next to you. To encourage conversation, because that’s frankly what people enjoy, interacting with other people.”

Several cocktails (priced in the $10 to $12 range) can be prepared in an “old school” or “new school” way–a daiquiri’s new-school counterpart is a “wrong island iced tea” made with rum, matcha tea, citrus, clove syrup, lemon, and Coca Cola. Stein plans to have draft cocktails and dueling beer. “American tapas” serve as bar food, with most of the small plates clocking in between $7 and $9.

Wit’s End is slated to open the week after Thanksgiving.

“Just to go casually, when people say, ‘Hey, where should we go for a drink in Inman Square?’—this is that place,” Stein says. “And then while you’re here, you get the food, and you end up staying because there’s stuff to do, it’s a fun time, it’s good people, it’s good conversation.”