Tag Archives: Bukowski Tavern

Barfly’s View: Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, MA

Bukowksi Tavern in Cambridge Mass.

Last fall, I Barfly’s View’d the fuck out of Boston’s Bukowski Tavern, one of my regular haunts. Today, I’m spotlighting Buk Boston’s sister bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts’s Inman Square, which I don’t visit as often but still stop by a few times a year.

The hipster vibe is palpable at Bukowski Tavern Cambridge, probably even more so than at Buk Boston, and you’re guaranteed to spot lots of tattoos. But the bartenders are friendly enough to non-regulars, and they’re usually knowledgeable about the beer they serve. One complaint: Yesterday the beer list was a mess. I ordered two beers that were on the draft list but weren’t tapped yet. And when I asked about the rotating gueuze as the beer book told me to, I was told they no longer sell gueuze. (Get your shit together, Buk.)

My favorite thing about Bukowski Tavern Cambridge is the atmosphere. The bar is inside an old mechanics’ garage, and its facade is still composed of two garage doors with rows of square-glass windows. A long bar runs along the right side as you enter, there are booths in the middle of the long thin space and tables just inside the entrance. Bukowski and Hank-Chinaski-related imagery adorns the walls. Behind the bar, hundreds of thick glass beer steins hang above the bartenders, a testament to the popularity of Buk Cambridge’s “mug club,” which requires that you drink every bottled beer they offer within a six-month period.

From BukowskiTavern.net:

“Bukowski Tavern is not responsible for any excessive weigh gain, marriage annulments, black eyes, one night stands, or spur of the moment tribal tattoo arm bands that one may incur throughout the process of completing your mug. Although completing a mug is an awesome accomplishment, it does not shoot said customer into the ranks of infinite coolness that are currently occupied by the bar staff at Bukowski Tavern.”

Well put.

Bukowski Tavern offers more than 100 bottles at any given time, in addition to a handful of “extra special bottles,” and 30 or more drafts. Buk also has a beer engine that serves up unique cask-conditioned offerings. And you can spin the Wheel of Beer if you can’t decide what you want to drink. But if you want the truth, only fucking amateurs spin the Beer Wheel.

Bukowksi Tavern in Cambridge Mass.

Food is fairly standard pub grub, and though I’ve never actually eaten at the bar—I hit up East Coast Grill for grub when in Inman Square, which is next door to Buk—my brother is a semi regular, and he tells me the quality has gone downhill in recent days.

I also get a kick out of Bukowski’s “Hobo Special,” which gets you a hot dog and a 40-ounce of your choice for $6.99. You won’t catch me drinking a fucking 40, unless it’s made by Dogfish Head. But I’m sure lots of grimy college kids and other lowlifes take advantage of the Hobo Special.

I still prefer Bukowski Boston, but that’s largely because it has sentimental value to me. Both bars make my list of Boston’s best beer bars, and you should definitely make a stop at each if you’re ever in Boston’s Back Bay or Inman Square in Cambridge.

UBN

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On Beer and Tea

Bar sign drink beer tea sucks

“After water and tea, beer is the third most popular drink in the world.” – Garrett Oliver, in the preface to the 2011 Oxford Companion to Beer. (Oliver is the brewmaster at The Brooklyn Brewery.)

Interesting factoid. But the above image, taken last year outside of Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, Mass., sums up my feelings on the subject.

UBN

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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.

UBN

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