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Sep 10, 2007 09:13 AM

Tavern in the Square to Porter

Given the stunning accuracy of my previous report on the Parish Café coming to the ex-Rustic Kitchen/Cottonwood space in the Sears Building in Porter Square, you can take this for what it's worth. The new "word on the street" is that The Tavern in the Square is planning on opening a second branch in that space; they've applied for a transfer of the liquor license from Rustic. Anyone know anything about their current operation in Central Square. The website ( is less than encouraging. How do they compare with the Cambridge Common right down the road?

Update to add that it looks like these are the same people (or at least related) to the ones who run the Joshua Tree in Davis. Too bad.

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  1. Ouch. The Tavern in the Square is yicky. Parish would have been so much better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yumyum

      I'll second that thought. The couple times I've been to Tavern in the Square, the food was mediocre and very salty. Parish Cafe is excellent, in my view at least.

    2. Tavern on the Square is a big space, they have large flat screens and draw a lot of sports fans. It isn't my cup of tea, seems really sterile. The one time I have been in, the food was quite boring in execution.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Snowflake

        However, that would be a nice addition to Porter - there is really nothing for just cheap bar food and beers in the area, except for Uno's.

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Haven't been back in years, but doesn't Christopher's meet the "cheap bar food and beers" criteria in Porter?

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I was thinking...really cheap....
            Actually was thinking more along the lines of the old Crimson sports bar in Harvard Sq. - Christopher's strives for more refinement.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              Heh, the Crimson was anything but refined, that's for sure. I think most people I know had been barred from the Crimson for life at one point or another. I like cheap (and I love beer), but give me Christopher's any day.

      2. Tavern in the Square is a good place for a beer or five while watching a game on TV. It''ll be a good alternative to Spirit, which is just up the road, and Cambridge Common, which is probably more of a place to get food and drinks than Tavern in the Square is.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hiddenboston

          I always forget about Spirit - For some reason, the layout of the place gives me hives. Any thoughts on the chow there, if one were so inclined? I think I had a forgettable burger there once.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            I find the food at Spirit to be a step above most Irish pubs. The chef there is pretty good, actually. Decent shepherd's pie, good curry chicken, and some of the best wings in Cambridge.

            The place is REALLY LOUD though, and can get packed when there's a big Sox or Pats game.

            1. re: hiddenboston

              I've been to Spirit for the wings, and they were good. However, aside from the font on the sign, the place is basically just an Irish sportsbar with good wings. And they used some kind of weird floor-cleaner that smelled way too strongly of pine.

              I used to work near Tavern On The Square and it was one of the few lunch places we could get five or ten people around a table for lunch. That, in my estimation, is the only reason to ever go there. It's aggressively mediocre and not even cheap.

            2. re: Bob Dobalina

              The food's ok, a bit better than Joshua Tree, but that's not saying much. I prefer the burger at Christopher's down the street, but Spirit's got a better set of flat screens and the Sunday Ticket to watch the Giants (lose) on.

              Never had the wings, but'll have to try them out per the post above.

              I mostly always end up at Orleans though cause they have couches and mango mojitos. Those two in tandem are really killer, not that their food is particularly good.

          2. Isn't there a Joshua Tree moving into the Tonic space in Allston now? That's not too exciting. Sounds like it's gonna be total sports jersey kind of place.

            1. I have tried the Tavern in the Square a few different times when I find myself in the Central Square area. Each time I have enjoyed my experience. Good food and portions, nice beer choices, open air windows and fast and efficient service. They are not trying to reinvent the wheel here but just offering a good place to hang out for food and drinks. Will look forward to the new location.