Silence is the relative or total lack of audible sound.
April 19, 2010 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Quiet bars in Cambridge, MA on Friday and Saturday evenings?

I'm trying to find a quiet bar or two in Cambridge that I can visit with friends, so that we can chat. By this, I mean a bar that does not have loud music on a Friday or Saturday night (but human murmuring is fine). The quieter bars that I am aware of (River Gods and The Field) still crank up music and it seems to get louder, the later it is.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Your best bet, by far, are the hotel bars. I can specifically recommend Sidney's in Le Meridien and Characters at the Marriott.
posted by 6550 at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Miracle of Science?

There's a bar in one of the MIT buildings - I think they call it the Muddy Charles. I don't remember if you need an MIT ID to get in, but it's pretty quiet in there. Bottled beer and wine only.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2010

What about a restaurant bar like Hungry Mother or Chez Henri? Daedalus's roofdeck and Miracle of Science are others that come to mind, but I haven't been out on a Fri/Sat in a while so I'm not sure about their sound levels.
posted by cocoagirl at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2010

The Muddy Charles is not open on weekends.

The Cambridge Brewing Company does not have loud music so much, but they only have beer and wine.
posted by mkb at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2010

Miracle of Science gets loud on Friday and Saturday evenings; I don't think it would be a great choice for a comfortable place to talk with friends.
posted by 6550 at 1:45 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

The hotel at the Sheraton Commander in Harvard Square is also a good bet, and I agree that MoS would get too loud on weekend nights. I'd say your other best option would be restaurants that serve alcohol - The Friendly Toast in Kendall worked well for a group of friends and myself on a weekend night, and they didn't mind that we lingered for hours drinking and chatting after dinner. Maybe someplace like Shalimar or even Picante Grill in Central would work, too?
posted by ldthomps at 1:53 PM on April 19, 2010

I would not do Hungry Mother on a Friday or Saturday night. Small space and you get periodic floods of folks coming over for a drink after a film at the Kendall (folks like me, that is).

Rialto can be pretty chill, as is Harvest. Both of these places are well sized and off the cocktail circuit, so they're less likely to be as loud and raucous as Hungry Mother, Craigie or Green Street.
posted by bl1nk at 2:20 PM on April 19, 2010

Coming in to second the Green Street Grill and/or Harvest. The Green Street used to have live Jazz in the main dining room but it was never too loud in the bar. Good to hear that they are both still around. The Miracle was always a loud bar, not so much for the music but the pack of people.
posted by michswiss at 3:12 PM on April 19, 2010

michswiss -- just to let you know, Green Street was recently acquired by Dylan Black (former bar manager at Chez Henri), who has refashioned it as a hardcore cocktail bar with a decent french-inspired menu. No more live jazz, but on most weekday nights its a fairly nice neighborhood hangout. The bar does get a little crushed by cocktail nerds on weekends, but thankfully most of the folks have migrated over Craigie On Main. It can still be a bit mobbed on certain weekend nights, and quiet on others but it's hard to predict if any given Saturday will be a party or peaceful.

Harvest, on the other hand, has always been a rather chill little space to curl up with a book or a friend. Just don't expect them to, say, make their own Amer Picon or stock anything weirder (or trendier) than Fernet Branca. (but, oh, for a quiet little bar that was chill on a weekends and makes a decent Brooklyn!)
posted by bl1nk at 3:47 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Great - thanks everyone, particularly for the idea of hotel bars; it never occurred to me. I've never heard of Harvest before - is this it?
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:18 PM on April 19, 2010

That's it Also, while we're in the neighborhood, The Casablanca.
posted by psyche7 at 7:04 PM on April 19, 2010

... and I wouldn't put too much stock by that Chowhound review. They really are a great restaurant ... pricey, certainly, but solid. I've liked Casablanca, too, and if you don't really need alcohol, I've also liked meeting friends for coffee at Pamplona (on the other side of Harvard Square) and Burdicks (when it isn't winter and the place isn't goddamn mobbed by hot chocolate dates)

thirding/fourthing that Miracle of Science is a bad idea on a weekend. It can be retardedly crowded on a Friday or Saturday with pre-gamers transiting towards the Middlesex or the Middle East. Generally speaking, most bars in Central Square are bad bets or even odds. Inman Square is hopeless for quiet weekend hangouts. East Cambridge is a consideration if you're don't mind townies. Kendall is mostly hotel bars and the plaza with CBC, Friendly Toast and Hungry Mother. I'd check out Lord Hobo in a year, once the new place buzz has worn off. I don't know Porter that well, but Chez Henri might be worthwhile (Chez Henri's rum selection is top flight, if it matters). Overall I think Harvard's your best bet.

Also, it's not Cambridge, but Allston, but if you're willing to cross the river or take the 66 Bus from Harvard Sq., then another candidate is Deep Ellum. It's not that far on the other side of the river, the back deck can be a little crowded, but it isn't loud and they take their beer and cocktails seriously over there. Though, of course, if you're willing to consider Boston bars that are easy to access from Cambridge (ie. on the Red Line) then a few more options open up ... No 9. Park and the Liberty Hotel come to mind
posted by bl1nk at 8:38 PM on April 19, 2010

Every time I've been to Deep Ellum it's been on a Friday and it's been loud both with people sounds and the jukebox. Not that I don't think it's a great bar.
posted by mkb at 5:20 AM on April 20, 2010

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