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,


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