BOSTON—Jamel Alvarez just had to see it for himself.

“Is this it?” he asked, peering down the alley. “No way!”

His voice displayed his disbelief. “Oh, man! No WAY!” he said again.

The construction worker from Providence, Rhode Island, had heard about Bodega on the Internet, and he thought it was so cool he made the hour drive north just to check it out.

Of course, finding it is half the fun.

“You know, I heard about it, and they hid it pretty good,” Alvarez said, laughing.

Welcome to Bodega, Boston’s high-end retail clothing shop for men and women that is conveniently hidden in a typical, coffee and newspaper corner store.

Located on the corner of Clearway Street and Massachusetts Avenue, you wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. Sitting on the corner is a very plain store façade, advertising things like drinks and toilet paper.

boston bodega store

Once inside, nothing looks that much different. Want to snap into a Slim Jim? You can. Want to pop open a cold soft drink? Feel free.

Just don’t expect to get a Snapple. That’s where the secret door is.

Toward the back of the shop sits the Snapple machine, or at least what looks like one. Walk too close and you realize the front of the machine is actually a secret, sliding door, which will move aside and allow you to enter a whole new world.

boston bodega store

Of modern fashion.

“Aww, dope man!” Alvarez said.

Once you’ve passed through, you find yourself surrounded by various high-end brands that aren’t typically found in New England, but are still made for average folks.

“It don’t matter how cool you think you are,” one manager told me. “You’re welcome here.”

And it feels that way. Whether you’re looking for the newest releases of Nikes, or the most up-to-date trends in Japanese cult brands, you’ll find it here.

boston bodega

Created in 2006 by three friends who wanted to sell hard-to-find clothing, Bodega started with sneakers, which resulted in customers lining the streets for their exclusive releases. Through word-of-mouth, the secret store began to gain notoriety, which allowed them to expand their goods to hard-to-find international brands.

Now they’ve opened two other stores — one in Tokyo and another in L.A.

“It’s just cool, man,” Alvarez said. “It makes you feel like you’re part of a club. Like you’re getting something really special.”

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By Ryan Clark, contributor for