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Mar 30, 2009 03:27 PM

Coolidge Corner - Restaurant & Bar

Green Street, Deep Ellum, Audubon Circle, Coda, Ashmont Grill, Silvertone, Washington Square Tavern, Publick House - I love them all.

And I desperately want a great bar in my neighborhood. Lately, I keep asking myself, why doesn't something like this exist in Coolidge Corner? Is it rent? The neighborhood? The residents?

Obviously these are not the greatest times to open a restaurant or bar, but still, what's going on?

Any ideas?

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  1. Your definition may need expansion. Many places sell alcohol and there are bars like Corrib. These appeal to residents and in many cases have been doing that for years and years.

    1. I've been to the Corrib and the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse, I think it is called, only for sandwiches. They are both neighborhood bars, but can't compare to the Washington Sq or Beacon St. Taverns or to Matt Murphys. The answer to your question is that there is just not enought call for a lively pub in this neighborhood. It so easy to walk to several of the places you mentioned and the others easy to get to on the T. I live two blocks away and if I want a drink out, the closest place is the bar at the Holiday Inn. Of course, that's like having a drink in a nursing home and not what you are looking for.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ghostcat

        Yeah, we used to eat at Corrib on a regular bases but the best thing it's got going is its proximity to the laundromat. We'd do laundry and eat/drink at the same time. There wasn't anything on the menu worth going out of your way for.

        1. re: Chris VR

          But modestly priced alchoholic beverages...I used to do the same thing...And the game is always on. The Brookline Housing Department guys all hang there; a real townie bar, and everyone is friendly...

      2. It's practically your neighborhood to go to the Beacon St. or Washington St. taverns. Could be a lot worse. What about Matt Murphy's? Again, a 5-10 min walk but unless you sit at the bar at Lineage ($1 oysters til 6 on weekdays), Khao Sarn or the aforementioned bars, nothing right smack in the middle of CC.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Joanie

          I'd certainly sit at the bar at Lineage over the Holiday Inn -- yikes!

          Their oyster special is scarfable and their cocktails are delicious, as it their food.

        2. Having once lived near Coolidge Corner and watched small businesses there come and go like mayflies, I've speculated that landlords charge unsustainably high rents. The only thing constant is the turnover.

          Most of your options have been outlined here. You do have to get out your walking shoes or your T pass for something really good in that neighborhood. A few more:

          Audubon Circle. Excellent drinks and food, though you have to watch out for pre-Sox-game crowds in season.

          The tacky karaoke-looking bar at Fugakyu. Charming in its way. Almost always empty.

          The bar at Pho Lemongrass. Actually a decent place to watch the game with pretty okay Vietnamese food. Not sure I'd go near the blender drinks, though.

          Village Smokehouse. I'm not a fan of the so-called barbecue here, but the bar is genial enough, with big cheap drinks, though it's often crowded.

          Surprised no one has mentioned the Publick House, a beer-geek bar with okay food.

          Squealing Pig. A bit of a walk, but a good Irish hangout, with lovely toasties.

          Matt Murphy's was my local back in the day (along with the late, lamented dump the Hammond Lounge, now the home of the Washington Square Tavern). I revisited recently for lunch, and found the food to be excellent -- I loved my seafood-centered "farmhouse" plate (you know, the farmer who lives by the ocean) -- contrary to many reports I've read here since it changed hands a few years back, when the original Mr. Murphy moved on.

          Washington Square Tavern really does have lovely food and hospitality. Their wine list pricing is off-putting, not enough bottles under $50, but that's a quibble.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            What seafood centered farmhouse plate? Obviously, I haven't been there in awhile (TC keeps me on a short leash) tell!

            And I quite like the mixology at Khao Sarn....

            1. re: galleygirl

              The Matt Murphy's seafood farmhouse plate was three things: a creamy whitefish spread (my favorite), three golf-ball-sized cod fritters, and a coarse chunky (spoonable) preparation of smoked salmon. Some good bread and slaw. Very tasty, and a lot of food for $10.

              I agree that the bartending at Khao Sarn is quite good, and they have a surprisingly interesting wine list for a Thai place.


            2. re: MC Slim JB

              She/he mentioned Audobon, Publick and Wash Sq. in her original post. Squealing Pig is quite a bit of a walk altho not so long on the 66.

              1. re: Joanie

                Maybe I am asking for too much. While I recognize that many of the places I mentioned are close by, I feel like a lively bar with good food and a great beer and cocktail list should be in CC. I like Lineage's bar, but its very chill; not something I am usually in the mood for on the fri/sat night. The Clubhouse just doesn't do it for me. I feel like CC has a somewhat similar vibe to Central, Harvard, and Davis Square, yet it doesn't have the kind of options these places do in terms of bars.

            3. I am moving in Sept and am considering CC since there are so many great ethnic restaurants, but no bars is a BIG drawback. Maybe even a deal breaker. Has it gotten any better?

              2 Replies
              1. re: turtle soup

                Unfortunately, nothing has changed since this thread was posted, and by seeing what has come up on recent licnesing hearings, it doesn't appear anything will be coming your way.

                Brookline is no longer the town that embraces bars anymore. It's all as family friendy as Fenway. Yep, rather have a bunch of empty storefronts or the godzillionth sushi place than a bar. There are a lot of voters in this town that like to keep that sort of thing out. (not me, of course.)

                1. re: Chrispy75

                  According to recent posts of the minutes of the City of Cambridge Licensing Board in regards to the new establishment opening up in the old B-Side location, Cambridge is also moving in this "non-bar" direction.

                  And this is not tea leave reading, but actual quotes from Licensing Board members who stated their policy to discourage the opening up, and encourage the closing, of "bar rooms" in Cambridge.