– a small grocery store or a wine shop
The definition above describes exactly what you would see when you plug 6 Clearway Street, Boston into your GPS and arrive at your destination. But you’re not looking for a grocery store at all, you’re expecting to see “Bostons best streetwear store” as you’ve been told by many people. This is the experience I had when first visiting Bodega: the secret streetwear store hidden behind a Snapple machine in the back of a staged convenience store in Bostons Back Bay. It’s like Narnia for Hypebeasts.
In the early 2000’s, three guys named Oliver Mak, Jay Gordon and Dan Natola built a store that is as much of an experience finding as shopping in. They created the store with the idea that the best things in life are worth searching for. Mak is quoted as saying:
We wanted to make a physical manifestation of the hunt for great product and kind of have a safe room at the end of the tunnel where the best stuff you could find in the world was all in one place
They decided to hide their store behind a staged Bodega and the only way to get in is to know how to get in. It’s a pretty risky business model to only rely on word of mouth and not advertise where your store is, after all the store doesn’t even have a sign on it. However, they managed to reach the very niche market of sneakerheads and menswear fanatics and it ended up paying off.
Getting to the location is the easy part, you can easily find their address online, it’s getting into the actual store that’s the hard part. Those who actually decide to walk into the somewhat sketchy looking convenience store walk into what also looks like a sketchy looking convenience store where you can buy drinks and snacks. You then have to walk around the store awkwardly looking for that secret entrance, only to approach a Snapple Machine in the back corner of the store. Once you do find the Snapple machine there’s about a 5 second delay before it opens, which leads to you contemplating if you really are just an idiot who believed that there was a secret store behind a Snapple machine.
However, once you do get in you are rewarded with entrance into a wood paneled interior room with walls lined with super rare sneaker and clothing collaborations.
I encourage you to go take the trip out to Bodega yourself, after all you’ve been let in on the secret and won’t have to look like a lost puppy walking around Back Bay like my first experience. Here’s a crappy video of someone walking into Bodega for the first time, as you can hear cameras are not welcome.