Any homey bars in Boston or Cambridge?
October 15, 2012 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm a recent transplant and need a new local haunt. Does anyone know of any good homey bars in the Boston or Cambridge area?

For the past four years I lived in Baltimore, my main hang out was The WindUp Space i really knew the people there and made a lot of friends. I have yet to be able to find a suitable landing pad in Boston or Cambridge. So far I like the Squealing Pig and the Druid. What are your favorite hangouts where you get to know the people around you and possibly also offer some zany events? Extra points for things in Brookline, Fenway, and Longwood or Inman, Central, and Harvard Squares.
posted by FatRabbit to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Miracle of Science?
posted by xingcat at 11:52 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a big fan of River Gods - it's got a similar kind of atmosphere to the Druid, though it's relatively small so their offerings in terms of events may be more limited.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:17 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Grendel's Den is my very favorite. It is so homey. It doesn't really offer a lot in the way of events but it's such a lovely little place that I've never minded.

If you want zany then perhaps you want The Friendly Toast.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:20 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, places I like:

The Burren
The Publick House, whose direct website seems to be down
Harry's Bar and Grill was very neighborhoody, and I liked it when I lived right down the street from it
The Asgard (or the Kinsale if you happen to be downtown)
Cornwall's --- frequently used for Metafilter meetups
posted by zizzle at 12:31 PM on October 15, 2012

I do a monthly DJ night at River Gods and their staff, food and alcohol are all just about perfect. Great people, great bar.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:45 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Publick House (site has been down for quite a while, actually; not sure what the deal is) is actually my favorite, although it gets pretty busy and therefore might not be quite the "homey" you're looking for. But the beer is incredible, which is the main draw for me. (Food is pretty good, too, although they just changed the menu and I haven't explored it much since.)

Cornwall's is good, too, and every time I've been there it's been lively (i.e., not completely empty) but not packed, and I've never felt rushed or otherwise pressured to leave. They have some board games lying around, too—definitely a cool place to hang around for a more extended period of time.

Other favorite places of mine in Boston/Cambridge that might be worth checking out in case they melt your butter: The Lower Depths (great tater tots!), The Celler (ditto, actually, although very different), The People's Republick, and Grendel's Den. I've heard good things about The Miracle of Science and used to pass by it all the time when I worked near MIT, but I never actually got in there.

Please note that my suggestions tend to center more around meeting people I already know for food and drinks than around meeting new people, which I really never do at bars ("Oh, hi! I'll be the shy one over in the corner. 'Kay, thanks, bye."). And I know nothing about events. So, YMMV. But definitely try The Publick House at least once, because it will change your life.
posted by divisjm at 1:05 PM on October 15, 2012

Green Street Grill in Central is great, but it gets crowded on weekends. You might also try The Field on Prospect.

But I'd also say that part of it is just random chemistry, especially with the bartenders. I've become a regular at Abigail's over near Kendal Square, and it isn't "homey", but because the staff and other regulars are great, it's become homey to me. So I say you should make it a goal to try The Cantab and River Gods and The Courtside and Trina's and as many of the other local bars as you can, and see where it is that you click. Welcome to town!
posted by ldthomps at 1:44 PM on October 15, 2012

Cambridge is full of good, cozy bars. Some of my favorites when I lived there (although I always frequented them with friends):

Plough and Stars: tiny little Irish pub with good food and live music. Check out the Country Gospel brunch on Sundays. On Mass Ave between Harvard and Central.

Shay's: This is right in the middle of Harvard Sq but doesn't tend to get overrun with undergrads. A friend and I used to go there on weeknights for study breaks and we always found people to be pretty friendly but not obnoxiously so.

People's Republik is a fun place (near Plough and Stars) though it's pretty pick-upy on weekends (YMMV as to whether that's a feature or a bug).
posted by lunasol at 1:44 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Echoing what ldthomps says, but instead about Fire & Ice in Harvard Square. It's very homey to me, despite the ancient bathrooms. The bartenders, especially when they're not too busy, are effing awesome, and the other regulars are nice people. The food is good, and they have Salsa dancing and karoke on various nights.
posted by Melismata at 1:47 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I give the Plough and Stars, just outside Central Square on Mass Ave, my strongest endorsement. Good food, great beer selection, awesome staff and excellent music in the evening/ night.
posted by driley at 1:51 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Cellar was my local when I was in Cambridge.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:58 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like The Field in Central Square, but only because I went to ImprovBoston so often as a student. Someone keeps turning the lights up and down. In the spring and summer, the back patio is always in the shade.

Seconding The Lower Depths - their tater tots really are spectacular.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:16 PM on October 15, 2012

One of my frequent haunts is Grendel's Den in Harvard. It's more of a college crowd, but it's basement level, cozy, and the food is cheap late in the evening.
posted by araisingirl at 10:26 PM on October 15, 2012

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