Tag Archives: bars

Barfly’s View: Original Gravity Public House in San Jose, CA

Shortly after I arrived in San Jose this week, I wandered over to the Original Gravity Public House—or the O.G. Pub, as I’ve come to call it. I found the Original Gravity Public House in downtown San Jose via a Google search for “best beer bars in San Diego.” And I’m glad I did; the O.G. Pub is a great beer-nerd hangout.

The bar had more than 20 quality craft beers on tap, a good percentage of which were local, and a small-but-interesting bottle list. I visited two days in a row, and on the second day they had three different beers on tap. Original Gravity Public House opened relatively recently, and the atmosphere could use a little work. But it does have the cool, bar-top glass rinsers I wrote about recently. The bartenders are friendly. It serves delicious sausage from local Bay-Area butchers and gourmet grilled cheese. (I can’t vouch for the cheese sandwiches, but the spicy chicken sausage sandwich I had was fucking awesome.) And it’s the only bar I’ve ever been to that has a beer list in HD on a big-ass flat screen TV.


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Barfly’s View: The Gaff on Moody St. in Waltham, MA

The Gaff beer bar in Waltham, MA

The Gaff beer bar on Moody St. in Waltham, Mass., is a diamond in the rough. Waltham is a blue-collar suburb about 25 minutes outside of Boston, and Moody St. is Waltham’s “restaurant row.” Moody St. is packed with mediocre bars and ethnic restaurants, with a few shining exceptions—Solea Restaurant & Tapas Bar and Ponzu, a Japanese/sushi joint, both come to mind.

Moody St. literally has more than 10 bars within a half-mile stretch of road, but as far as beer bars go in Waltham, The Gaff truly stands alone. There’s even a brewery on Moody St., about a quarter mile from the Gaff, Watch City Brewing Co., but it gets no love from this Urban Beer Nerd. (In fact, you suck, Watch City.)

The Gaff has 20 or more beers on tap at any given time, many of which are local brews. And 30 or so bottled beers are also available. For these reasons and more, The Gaff makes my list of best Boston-area beer bars.


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Barfly’s View: The Publick House in Brookline, MA

The Publick House in Brookline, MA

A couple of weeks ago I posted a Barfly’s View from my favorite Boston-area beer bar, the Publick House in Brookline, Mass.’s Washington Square. In that post, I spotlighted one of my favorite things about the bar: The cool green-marble taps in the Publick House’s Monk’s Cell, where they pour only Belgian beers.

I stopped by the Publick House yesterday for a draft Gueuze Tilquin and some chicken-and-garlic mac and cheese, and I snapped this new Barfly’s View. If you’re ever in the Boston area and you’re looking for a beer-nerd hangout spot, the Publick House’s 36 taps and 100+ bottles will not disappoint, which is why it sits atop my list of the best Boston beer bars.


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CraftBeer.com Wants Your Vote for Best American Beer Bar

I’m a little disappointed to see that none of my favorite beer bars are listed in CraftBeer.com’s online poll for best American beer bars. I spent quite a bit of time hunting for the best beer bars in Massachusetts, New York and California, and there’s only one bars I’m familiar with on the list that I’d consider to be a great beer bar. That’s Armsby Abbey in Worcester, Mass.

CraftBeer.com Great American Beer Bars

Alas, I admit haven’t been to all of the nation’s best beer bars—I plan to do my best to get to as many possible before my liver quits on me. But I thought I’d give the CraftBeer.com poll some attention. If you, like me, don’t know many of the bars listed here, why not give Armsby Abbey a vote up? It’s a great bar in New England’s second largest city after Boston, and they deserve it. I promise.

Check out the all the bars that were nominated for CraftBeer.com’s great American beer bars and cast your vote here.


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Bar-Top Rinsers and Why You Want Bartenders to Blast Your Glass Before Pouring a Pint

Bar-Top Glass Rinser and Drip Tray

Bar-top glass rinser and drip tray

Earlier this summer, while vacationing—and drinking—in beautiful, scenic Plymouth, Mass., I saw something at a bar that I’d never seen before: a built-in bar-top glass rinser. The bar was the New World Tavern in downtown Plymouth, and I’ve since seen these odd glass-rinser-thingies at a number of craft beer bars, so I thought I’d do a little investigating.

The first thing I learned about the strange water-blasting mechanisms is that they’re not new. They are apparently quite popular in some European locales, but they’re just now starting to catch on in Boston and other American cities, as far as I can tell.

Standalone bar-top glass rinser

Standalone bar-top glass rinser

The idea is simple: Bartenders flip a glass upside before filling it, hold the glass over the rinser, press down on the appropriate area with the glass’s rim and then water automatically shoots up and rinses the glass of dust, debris or any dishwashing soap that may have not have been washed clean.

The makers of these bar-top rinsers also say they result in a better pour, because beer pours better into a wet glass. This results in less friction when the liquid slides down the inside of the glass. And the rinsers also “encourage head retention, and the cold temperature of the water helps to cool the glass,” according to kegworks.com.

Frankly, the glass rinsers look damn cool too, and they’ll not only grab customer attention and draw a lot of questions, but also lead annoying curious bloggers to write silly blog posts about them.

The rinsers can be purchase as standalone units or as part of a larger “drip tray.” Standalone “undercounter mount glass rinsers” cost $200 on micromatic.com, but interested bar owners will likely have to drop significantly more scratch to install the required in-line water supply system.


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Barfly’s View: Bukowski Tavern in Boston’s Back Bay

Bukowski Tavern in Boston’s Back Bay

I’ve been frequenting Bukowski Tavern in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood for almost a decade. An old fiction-writing group of mine use to meet at the bar every week in the mid-2000s, and it’s been one of my semi-regular watering holes ever since. Bukowski Tavern was one of the first real “beer bars” in the city of Boston—to this day, it still doesn’t serve hard alcohol, just beer and wine. Bukowski Boston—a sister bar is located in neighboring Cambridge, Mass.—has roughly 20 draft brews at any given time, many of which are local, and usually a beer on cask. It has a static bottle list with more than 100 options and five to ten rotating “special bottles.”

The food is decent pub grub, and it’s reasonably priced. They also have solid vegetarian and vegan options including veggie not-dogs, veggie burgers and a vegan-meatball sandwich. The bar tenders are friendly and unassuming. For these reasons and more, Bukowski Tavern in Boston’s Back Bay sits near the top of my best Boston beer bars list. The bar is cash only though, so bring some Benjamins—or at least a pocket full o’ wrinkled-up Washingtons.


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Best Boston Beer Bars

Boston is better known for its Irish pubs and sports bars than its craft beer bars, but the city has some gems if you know where to look. The following list of Boston-area craft beer bars is a good place to start. Bars are listed in order of my personal preference, with my favorites atop the list.

Craft beer goblet with corks

Every one of the bars listed here is worth a visit. The craft beer scene is booming in and around Boston, and new bars open regularly, so I’ll update this list when appropriate.


 (Last update 09.15.12)

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