Monday, September 3, 2007

Harvard on the Hill

I stopped by Harvard Gardens for an end-of-week drink after work a few weeks back. I don't know what this place has to do with Harvard: it's across from MGH on Cambridge Street and I don't think any Harvard students venture this far from the Square. In any case, here's the run-down:

Harvard Gardens seems to be going for the Dresden look a la Swingers, but I think it falls a little short of a real lounge. For one thing, after work in the summer, their venetian blinds let in too much light, which spoils the effect, especially since we were sitting at the bar facing the windows.

I had a dirty sapphire martini and my friend had a ciroq on the rocks with a twist. The bartender gets points for asking if my friend wanted a twist, but loses them for no check-in again after we ordered our drinks. The bar selection is decent, but not stellar at Harvard Gardens. On the upside they have a deceptively deep catalog of liquor that is spread across the various shelves behind the bar (e.g., look up to find the good tequilas). They have some interesting stuff: Ciroq for one, Christiania vodka for another, but overall the selection didn't wow us. In addition, we didn't see a drink menu and we certainly were not offered one! That combines with the not-so-attentive service to get a mediocre score in my book.

I didn't have a beer, but I did check their taps, and Harvard Gardens hits all the must-haves: a wheat beer, Sam Adams, Sams seasonal, Bass, Guiness, Stella Artois, etc. Decent selection, but again, nothing too outlandish that caught my eye.

All in all, this is an reasonable, but not great bar. You can get a decent drink here, but for a place with good atmospheric potential, Harvard Gardens falls short as a credible lounge. That said, I hear it has a good Thursday night scene, so it may get another chance to redeem itself.


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