Non-Fancy Dinner for 15 in Cambridge or Boston?
Looking for a low-key restaurant or pub/bar with good food (and drinks!) that can accomodate 20 out-of-town work colleagues for a weeknight retirement dinner later this month. Private room not necessary, though certainly a bonus if possible. Will be coming from the Kendall Square area and have no problem taking the T or cabs, if need be.
Jacob Wirth's has a very large rectangular table in the back room. It is quaint and old. In the theater district. Food is good. Lots of many types of drinks and quite an assortment of beer.
Could you go as far as Melrose? See Lipoff's post about a banquet at Fuloon. If I were retiring, this is what I would want!
I just wrote a note, but forget to post it, so I'll try again. I go the bar at the Marriott in Kendall Sq, called Characters quite often. I've seen many small parties in the area behind the bar where they set up a buffet, but there is a second level in the small dinning room that could probably accomodate you. The bar food is good as are the drinks. It seems like people from MIT and the neighboring research companies hang out there. It seems to be very convenient for you.
I think a cool place would be if you could reserve a big group at Green St Grill. It's all kinds of awesome (food, drink, atmosphere). It's a 20 minute walk at a group pace (in Central Sq), very quick by T or cab.
I've been to Characters a few times, and while not horrible, I'm not crazy about the Applebees-esque, chain-bar-and-grill atmosphere. At Cambridge Brewing Co, you could reserve a big chunk of the back dining room and get better beer (Characters may have Cambridge Amber). The food doesn't exactly get accolades here, but it's at least as good as Characters. A 10 minute walk. Downside is beer and wine only.
Actually, I think a new chef recently started at CBC, so I'd be interested to hear if anything has changed.
Legal could work too (though I can't believe I'm even bringing it up). But I think getting 20 out-of-towners to travel any kind of distance is a pain, whereas the OP doesn't seem to mind.
Fuloon is actually in Malden, a little easier to get to than Melrose, but it takes a while from Kendall. With that many people, you may have some unadventurous eaters who might not appreciate it. They have a private dining room.
You might want to try Orleans in Davis Square, Somerville. It's right near the T station; they have both regular and bar menus, and a large area with both couches and tables. I went to a retirement party there a couple of years ago--food is good and there's enough variety to satisfy everyone.
I'll second Cambridge Brewing Co.
The Midwest Grille on Cambridge St could be fun for this kind of event.
Ole Mexican Grille in Inman Sq has a private room, good food, great margaritas.
How about the No Name seafood restaurant? I was there years ago (I live in the South now, bummer) and I remember it as being low-key, nothing fancy, but having great seafood.