Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beacon Hill Birthday Crawl

A friend of mine who lives in Beacon Hill had his birthday on Monday. Good excuse to go out. We set out from his apartment to the 21st Amendment. It wasn't my first time, but it's a great place. This place has character: it's right next to the State House, it has dark wood panelling, but it feels like a pub. Not a lounge, not a frat house, just a solid unpretentious bar. Plus they have good food. Especially their sliders, which have the right balance of cheese, russian dressing, pickles and onions (rings and caramelized). Unfortunately for me, because I didn't eat dinner, they stop serving food sometime around 9. We didn't spend enough time here to really grok their drink selection -- a shot of so-so tequila and we were on our way to the next place.

Luckily, the kitchen at the next place, Emmet's Pub and Restaurant, is open later. Emmet's is bigger, has a little less character than the 21st, but is probably a better bar for a big group. My guess is that they generally cater to State House staff and other office workers in the area. They have tables where you can drink, eat, and make a lot of noise without bothering anyone. I'm pretty sure we did all three, but I'm not sure about the last one. We got appetizers and beers, which seems to have been the right choice. Though I don't think that Emmet's has a signature dish like the sliders at the 21st, it's hard to go wrong with their buffalo wings, potato skins, etc. This place has got its routine down pat: they have a reasonable number of safe beers on tap and they make appetizers that are tasty and good for sharing. Of note, the mini-pancake appetizer was surprisingly tasty, something like latkes served with barbecue sauce.

With some food in my belly, I was ready for a down and dirty bar -- it was a birthday after all and we had a reasonably big group. We wandered down towards Faneuil Hall, went by Bell In Hand, but ended up around the corner at The Point at the Boston Stone Pub. Everywhere around here is quiet on a Monday night, and this place was no exception. Not so many people, but a sufficiently loud jukebox to keep us entertained. This is not a connoisseur's bar, this is a sticky floor, frat house style bar. We went with a couple pitchers of Sam Adams (Boston Lager and Summer Ale). And then a couple more. And then those I-should-know-better 3 Wise Men shots. The bartender didn't blink at any of this. The bouncer didn't look twice at our arm-wrestling tournament. A cute, random girl sat down and challenged the birthday boy to arm wrestle. It's clear to me that The Point is used to rowdy 20-somethings who are out for a good time and aren't so particular about the drinks, ambiance, or service.

The summary -- I had a lot of fun, but it was that guilty kind of fun that you don't associate with "great bars". The 21st I would recommend, especially when they are serving food. Emmet's gets a nod as well. The jury is still out on The Point: the night wouldn't have been the same without it, but I bet it is a lot less fun if it is the first place you stop in an evening. Until next time,


Deep Ellum

Why go to Allston? How about a bar that descended from Bukowski's, has 4 different Manhattans on their drink menu, and makes a mean egg-drink (including the Ramos Gin Fizz)?

477 Cambridge Street
Allston, MA 02135
(617) 787-2337

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Deep Ellum website

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Our Mission

I have been in Boston for a long time. I grew up here, went to college here, and now work here. Now, don't get me wrong, Boston is a great place to grow up. But, this town is an even better place to be a grown up, because Boston has plenty of great bars, clubs, and restaurants to keep you occupied.

I have my favorites, but I love trying out new places too, and that's what this blog is all about. Our mission is to belly up to all the bars in the area and see what's what. I am inclined to cheat a little bit and not necessarily go back to places that I've disliked, but why quibble over a few places here or there. Here's our plan:

Step one - work out the ultimate, master list of all the bars in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville.
Step two - figure out which places we have already hit.
Step three - go check out all the places we've never been.
Step four - get myself another drink, it's going to be a long night.


PS We already need help, and we're only on the first step. How would you make up your master list? Pull food and liquor licenses from city hall? Go through the phone book? What's the hook?