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Jan 12, 2009 05:50 AM

Drinks/apps near BankNorth Garden at not-a-sports-bar

Heading to the Celtics game tonight straight from work with a client - looking for a good non-sports-bar place to grab some drinks and apps that is near North Station. Don't want to go to the Harp, don't want to go to any place with "Brew" in the title. Not opposed to walking a bit further to the North End, but don't have time for a full sit down Italian feast. Would be ideal if the words "foie" and/or "raw" was featured on the I reaching here???

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  1. The Ruby Room at the Onyx Hotel doesn't feel like a sports bar, but I've never chanced the food there. The Flat Iron Lounge at the Bulfinch Hotel is another option, but I wasn't impressed by the food or the drinks. I think the bread-based apps (bruschette and such) at Nebo are decent, but again their cocktail craft is middling. Salem Street in the North End would be what I'd tilt at next, though most of the decent places are 15 minutes away on foot. Neptune Oyster has amazing food (both raw and foie), beer/wine only (though the wine selection is great for the food).

    How about some place that's a stop or two away on the Green Line or Orange Line? I think I'd much rather hit Silvertone or Marliave and then walk over to Park Street than settle for anything a five-minute walk from the game. Think in those terms and your options are much more attractive.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Thanks, that's great info. I was actually thinking about the Ruby Room - from the website it looks like decent apps (tuna tartare, etc) but I'd like firsthand knowledge before bringing a client there. Neptune Oyster - I am dying to go (never been) but would rather save it for a full on dinner. Silvertone is a favorite, good suggestion. What's the deal with Marliave?

      1. re: Lauren R.

        Marliave originally opened in 1875, closed a few years ago. The chef/owner of Grotto bought it, restored it to something approaching what it probably originally looked like. There's a tiny raw bar at the basement level, a cool bar/cafe on the first floor with an interesting old-school cocktail list and a great, reasonably-priced comfort food menu; the top floor is a very fancy fine-dining place that I don't think is worth its prices ($62 three-course prix fixe, most apps in the low teens, entrees in the $30s). The upstairs also has its own cozy, quieter bar from which you can order off either menu. Worth checking out, often less hectic after work than Silvertone.

    2. Recently stopped by the new Fairmont on Battery Wharf for a glass of wine. We were treated to two "tuna cakes" for bar chow. Lightly spiced tuna salad served on a carrot disc. Very elegant. No one was there so service was attentive. Of course we crossed the street for dinner at the Waterfront Cafe (I may have the name wrong), so I can not really comment on their menu.

      7 Replies
      1. re: kate used to be 50

        Waterfront Cafe was one I might have suggested, but it gets jammed before Celtics games, and really has a sports-bar feel with all its TVs. The pizza is excellent, that medium-crust Italian-American style. Much of the rest of the food is decent pub and Italian-American fare. Beer and wine and cordials only, so avoid the cocktails. They have a bottle of Cynar behind the bar, but don't expect them to know what it is. Stick to pizza and pitchers and all is well.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Sorry, I wasnt' suggesting going to the Waterfront Cafe before the Celtics game. It didn't fit OPs request. My suggestion was the lounge at the Fairmont Hotel across the street at Battery Wharf.

          1. re: kate used to be 50

            Not suggesting that you were suggesting... What did you have at the Waterfront? That was one of those Chowhound tips that took me years to act on, but I finally did and liked it.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Same here. When my friend wanted to get together at the hotel I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try Waterfront. I was pleasantly surprised. I had the tomato/mozzarella sandwich which was delightful and my friend and the fish and chips which she enjoyed and I noticed they were not swimming in oil. I would definitely go back. I didn't have a cocktail or wine so I can not comment on their bartending, but it was a cold Monday night and the bar was quite full with patrons. The servicer was also very kind to get our food out fast as I had to get to the commuter rail at North Station.

              All that being said, I enjoyed the Waterfront Cafe more than the Fairmont - but that is just me.

              1. re: kate used to be 50

                The reason to avoid the cocktails at Waterfront is that it only has a beer/wine/cordial license. Like many bars with such a license, they're stretching the definition of "cordial" to include flavored vodkas, so most of their cocktails are some combination of liqueurs and/or flavored vodka. I hate that junk.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    So true, while I really enjoy the Waterfront, I generally stick to wine. I tried an expresso Martini once and didn't care much for it.

        2. MC Slim and Kate Formerly 50 -- ended up going to Red Room at the Onyx -- food was terrible. Atmosphere was ok, although it is MUCH smaller than the website makes it appear, and I found the octopus-shaped red chandelier to be sort of lurid and scary. Anyway, back to the "food" -- we ordered the calamari, quesadilla sampler, and tuna tartare - 1/2 way through the calamari we realized we were eating primarily onion rings and peppers - FRADULENT! - the quesadillas were decent but nothing special, and the tuna tartare was very bland (incidentally the best tuna tartare I've ever had is at Good Life in the financial district - amazing).

          For drinks, I ordered a lemon drop martini which contained little to no alcohol and tasted like bad lemonade (bought cost $12), my companion ordered some other speciality maritini which was served with a blue-cheese stuffed olive (only one, although the cocktail menu distinctly said "oliveS"). The service was slow, the food was bad, the drinks were weak - all in all, a poor showing.

          Next time I'll listen to you, Slim, and go to Marliave's.