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Lord Hobo

I walked by Lord Hobo yesterday and peeked through the windows. It looks like there is a lot of work left. I could only see studs where the bar would go - absolutely nothing else.

Does anyone have any further info? I know that remodelings can move shockingly fast once all the structural elements are taken care of. I hope that is the case here.

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  1. I heard just this morning from someone who will be tending bar that they're hoping for a mid-July opening.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrsx

      Ok, so we can probably expect something in mid-September or October?

    2. Where is this about to be place? The name is a bit troubling.

      2 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        In what was previously the B-Side Lounge location in Cambridge.

      2. Walked by last night. They had the door open and the inside still looks incredibly far from finished.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bostonbroad

          On the other hand, there is liquor visible at the bar. Progress?

          1. re: zebedee

            liquor likely was inventory already there.

          1. re: Sarah3583

            This website is much more informative:

            Does this end the speculation? :-)

            1. re: oniontears

              And based on that, all I can say is WOW. I really hope it lives up to the year of waiting and painful B-Side loss.

          2. walked by tonight and it was definitely "open". not sure if it was a friends/family soft opening or what, but there was quite the hipster crowd outside smoking up a storm.

            1. Well, if it's on Daily Candy than it must be official...they are open to the public tomorrow:

              1. Has nobody been yet? We need reviews, people! How frou-frou is it? How expensive?

                9 Replies
                1. re: zebedee

                  i'll be going there monday with a friend! even though i live down the street, i still have not been since their soft opening last weekend, and their official opening on wednesday. although i do hear of someone else saying it's not all that is cracked up to be -- go to starlite lounge instead. hm...but i don't think lord hobo was targeting that classy cocktail lounge vibe...it's supposed to be a beer bar like deep ellum, no?

                  1. re: shirshir

                    with lord hobo and starlite being new kids on the same block, its inevitable that they would be compared. however, it is unfortunate. i've been to both...and the two establishments couldn't be more different. starlite sells hot dogs and has a beer list that would satisfy a teenage girl or a frat guy. no offense to teenage girls or frat guys. and it doesn't really scream classy cocktail lounge to me. that said, if you get off on buckets of miller high life ponies and hot dogs dressed up in tortillas and puff pastry, check it out.

                    lord hobo, on the other hand, is like no where else in boston. epic beer list, interesting cocktails, great service, and the food is memorable and delicious. my fellow patrons raved about the oysters "the best i've ever had". the gnocci, cod, shepherds pie, and polenta were huge hits as well. very highly recommended. looking forward to my next visit.

                    1. re: bestcans

                      Though I've only stopped by once, on opening night, I wouldn't say that Hobo is "like no where else in Boston." Though I have not done a side-by-side comparison of beer lists, in my mind Hobo goes into the same category of the Independent and Deep Ellum in terms of drinks. We can argue beer list specifics, food, and decor, but all three are places where I could bring a group that included both beer and cocktail centric folks. Beer and cocktail enthusiasts could be happy with their choices at all three.

                      Trina's has a standard beer list (imo the teenage girl/frat guy thing was a bit harsh as they don't have Natty B'oh on tap..oh boy, what a beer!), but they made the decision to have a more relaxed, approachable cocktail list. The bartenders there can make a classic and it seems their Manhattans are becoming well known (which is also the drink that draws me to Deep Ellum).

                      And while I wouldn't compare the two establishments, before you start touting Hobo as a culinary destination it seems both places sell several types of fries. I'm anxious to try the curry fries at Hobo (which are sorely lacking around town), and to compare their gravy fries with those at Trina's.

                      All that said, I did have three very tasty and interesting cocktails on my one visit to Hobo. The Wall St. (Wheat Whiskey, Lillet Red, Orange Bitters), the Rambler (Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth, Amaro Nonino, Marashino), and a drink on their list that is missing from their webpage that is basically Fernet, Canton Ginger, and lemon juice. All three were well made (and for you particular types, they were stirred when requiring stirring and shaken when it was called for by the ingredients), and the Fernet-based drink was especially interesting as the Fernet dominated but didn't take over the drink as strong ginger undertones were present in the finish. Not enough cocktails using Fernet in area drink lists in my opinion.

                      1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                        Tuxedo -- the Deep Ellum comparison is very apt (though Lord Hobo has a significantly deeper list), but the Independent one isn't, really. The Indie has a great beer list, but nowhere near the 40 well-curated taps without a single clunker at Lord Hobo.

                        Glad to hear the cocktails are good - it drives me crazy that beer and cocktail bars are so distinct. I tried the fries and a salad. The fries were REALLY good, the salad so-so, but I'm willing to cut them a little slack on opening night. I guess I'm thinking about it as a great bar with passable food... so if the food turns out to be decent or better, I'll be very happy.

                        1. re: celeriac

                          Went again early this evening, and I have to agree the fries are very good--in this case the curry fries. The deviled eggs are also fantastic. I'm a bit curious to hear about the rest of the menu, because the prices for entrees are basically in a similar range as Hungry Mother. I know opinions vary on this board, but as a local I adore Hungry Mother and have set a high bar on the Hobo's $21 shepard's pie.

                          Celeriac, thank you for your insight and I want to stress that the following regarding beer selection is simply my own opinion. In terms of beer selection, neither Deep Ellum nor the Indo has the pure number of Hobo (we should wait a while to see how the curated part comes out, imo), but I guess it comes down to personal taste. While I very much enjoy Belgians, lacking tasting notes (as the Hobo menu does--and in my very limited experience the wait staff is adequately, but not deeply, informed about the selection), I'm more inclined to try an IPA or other small craft American beer. Those the Indo excels at (they have been expanding their beer selection, if you haven't been in a while, and now offer somewhere between 20 and 30 (I think) on tap) while lacking in Belgians. Ellum has a selection of Belgians, but you are correct to point out that it does not equal Hobo. But if you exclude the Belgians, not only are Ellum and the Indo in the running with Hobo, but so is Atwood's Tavern.

                          Unless the entrees surprise for that price point, I'm beginning to lean towards the Hobo being a drink (good for beer or cocktails) and snack establishment.

                        2. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                          As a Fernet aficionado, you've probably already had Misty's Villa de Verano at Drink...but in case you haven't, be sure to try it

                    2. re: zebedee

                      My boyfriend and I went there last night, and were very impressed with the entire experience. To start with the drinks: the beer list was eclectic, with a focus on rare Belgians, Germans, and good American IPAs. We're really familiar with unique beers, thanks to BeerAdvocate / The Publick House / well-curated beer emporia...but Lord Hobo's bar was a wealth of new beverages to try. Beer snobs, get here ASAP! They have a cocktail menu as well, with many drinks named for hobo lingo. These would have been sampled if the beer list was not so mind-blowing.

                      As for the food, I would call it Belgian-influenced American comfort food. We enjoyed the moules frites, steak with marrow butter and gorgonzola mashed potatoes, and mushroom polenta with seasonal vegetables. The mussels were plump and flavorful, with seasoned fries and garlic ailoi. The steak was ordered rare, but was cooked slightly more; yet it was very tasty, and the potatoes were thick and cheesy. My polenta was rich and creamy, and the variety of mushrooms (4 different kinds?) complemented it perfectly. The seasonal veggies were delicious as well, with my favorite being a perfectly-cooked quarter of acorn squash.

                      So, consider this review a high recommendation. We're already planning a return trip with a larger group, to introduce them to Lord Hobo's glory!

                      1. re: somuchdessert

                        It sounds delish but higher priced than I was expecting. Could I bring a well-behaved toddler there early in the evening, like I can at say, Highland Kitchen?

                    3. Does anyone have any info on food and beer prices? The web site says nothing, which is usually a bad sign. I'm probably going there tonight with my family, but I'd like to know if we need to worry about sticker shock.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: zebedee

                        Entrees are in the $17-23 range. The menu looks good, but there is not a light dish in sight.

                        Draught beers are about $6-9 (but most are hard-to-find and high in alcohol). Bottled beers are $15-35, but these are only the gems of the beer world.

                        I went for the first time Thursday. I only had beer, which was great. The decor is just eh. I am a huge fan of Daniel's first spot, the Moan and Dove in Amherst, and this has the same commitment to beer, but Lord Hobo doesn't seem to have much personality. B-Side had some personality - it needed a remodel for sure - but it had a great feel. Maybe once it is worn in more, Lord Hobo will too.

                      2. Have been a couple of times now and had several things. The new layout is good, not incredible. A bit bland compared with the B-Side, but they have completely dispensed with the ridiculous 50s retro/diner feel. The food is excellent but in some cases gallingly expensive for a bar (which it is, after all, whether the City of Cambridge likes it or not). I found the hangar steak w/fries and the deviled eggs magnificent and decent values (~$18 and $5, respectively; the latter is a fine tribute to the old egg system of the Windsor Tap and B-Side). While the selections on the charcuterie/cheese plate were excellent, the price was a bit absurd ($16 I think), and the arugula salad was tasty, but in the language of my dining partner 'insultingly' meager.

                        More importantly, the beer selections are top notch and in many cases reasonably priced, and the staff is both knowledgeable and cheerful. The is both surprising and refreshing given the amount of beers on tap, the fact that LoHo is less than a month old, and that many of the staff were out of work for the six months they waited for management to get it together to finally open. Beer samples are freely offered, and servers seem quite expert and willing to walk the indecisive through the immense and rotating menu. The best testimony to the quality of service, however, was the response when in an excess of emphatic gesture I managed to catapult and shatter a half full beer glass against the bar: not only did the server take the initiative to extend last call on my behalf, she also offered me a different beer to try for the replacement, and comped it on the bill.

                        All in all, while the prices on the food are about as high as those at the reputable fine dining establishment Hungry Mother around the corner, the quality of the offerings and the high level of service make me happy to see the new bar doing well so far.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: elbev

                          Why do you say "they have completely dispensed with the ridiculous 50s retro/diner feel" re: the B Side's old look? What makes it ridiculous? That was what the Windsor was like and they just cleaned it up.

                          1. re: Joanie

                            I suppose it is a matter of taste, really. Loved the retro cocktail revival. The decor not so much. Maybe I would have liked it better if it was grimy, though this would not have suited the jacked up food prices. This is all entirely beside the point, though. I like the art selections in the LoHo, but agree with others that they need to find an identity.

                        2. Lord Hobo's dark and red interior has more room than the B-Side (no more crowded walk to the bathroom) and is fairly comfortable. I was really hoping the bartenders would be some of the beer geeks from about town, but I think the staff from the Beehive and Marlaive will come into their own. BTW: tell me about the beer, don't automatically give me a sample.

                          (@bee: Lord Hobo is not for kids, but that's my opinion.)

                          The prohibitively priced food menu (a $13 hamburger and a $21 Shepard's pie is so 2007) is easily ignored compared to the fantastic beer list. A very unusual draft beer list for the States and true beer connoisseurs will gladly add The Hobo to the phenomenal and burgeoning craft beer circuit in Boston. Beers are priced $6-10 and poured fairly into corresponding glassware (also, the alcohol and ounce pour is listed, but some description of the beer would be nice).

                          Publick House and Lord Hobo differentiate themselves from the other good "gastropubs" by having a broad and carefully selected lineup of imported craft beer (Belguims and more) and some stellar domestic choices. And both have beer lists that far surpass the food.

                          The Independent, Redbones, Atwoods (current favorite for food and beer), Deep Ellum, and Cambridge Commons are all fantastic for their selection of microbrews from across the country. Great choices for everyday beer and grub (tho reserving comment on the new chef at the Indo).

                          Starlight cannot be added to the "gastropub" category or really be considered a serious contender for beer geeks (small selection, not interesting, not the focus of their drink menu). And after a couple of visits, the food is nothing to write home about with all the great choices in Inman. You cannot compare Starlight w/The Hobo, Hungry Mother, or any other real restaurant.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: MaineRed

                            The $13 burger is pushing it, but my DCs loved it. The $13 ham sandwich, though...

                            1. re: MaineRed

                              Right, so we went last night. I agree that the beer list is impressive, but I also agree that they need SOME description on the menu. I really don't want to have to ask the waiter for help on each of the 25+ beers that I don't recognize on that list. Ours steered me to two beers last night - a Belgian that was great, and a Mass beer that was average. My brother had a good German, but he ordered it based on the entertaining name and the waiter provided no input. Bukowski's has this right - if you have a beer list where nobody knows any of them, you HAVE to provide a handout with a sentence about each.

                              We went at 7:15 on a Saturday night, and were in and out in 1:30, wait time included. That was impressive to me. Of course, we skipped dessert, which helped.

                              The curry fries and the truffle fries were both fantastic. I personally preferred the curry, but others at the table didn't. I thought the truffled ketchup was a bit strange, in that the ketchup way overpowers the truffle, but the other two dips were great.

                              Also fantastic: the lobster mac and cheese.

                              The fried oysters were very good, but too simple to declare great. That's ok - I'd rather it be simple than "too much" with oysters. The shepherd's pie was definitely not worth $21, but it was very good. The polenta/veggie plate was very good, but a little too sweet, and heavy.

                              Which brings us back to the point made upthread. There is nothing light on this menu. After we shared two orders of fries, the last thing I needed was a pound of mashed potatoes on my pie. I left it. There are two salads on the menu - one comes with confit shallots and duck confit, the other comes with bacon lardons and cheese. They're in desperate need of some food items that AREN'T stodgy.

                              While I would say that just about every individual item seemed overpriced, we got a party of 5 out the door at $200 even, tip included. That's not so shabby!

                              1. re: zebedee

                                Totally agree. They really need some lighter dishes.

                                1. re: DoubleMan

                                  I agree and I haven't even been there. But that is the trend nowadays. It's not cool to want light food, apparently. To prove your foodie cred you've got to be willing to eat lardons on everything.

                            2. I've been twice now, and they seem to be delivering exactly what is promised: excellent beer selection and handling, very good (possibly excellent, this needs further evaluation) cocktails, and very good food in the contemporary tradition of French-inspired Cambridge bistros.

                              So far I've had these beers, all excellent:
                              Coniston Old Man Ale (mild brown ale serve in 20 oz handle mug(, Stone IPA, and a stout on cask whose name Ive forgotten.

                              These cocktails, also excellent:
                              "Breshun" (a Vesper made with Hendrick's gin), Rambler (an innovative Manhattan variation)

                              And these food items solve crimes:
                              deviled eggs (3 eggs, 3 different fillings, all unexpected and very tasty)
                              charcuterie (a very good country pate with some nice pickled garnishes, mustards, and black salt)
                              fried oysters, with very yummy lightly picked things
                              arugula salad with yummy bacon pieces and a big slab of humboldt fog cheese
                              hanger steak, cooked perfectly, with a very nice red wine demiglaze sauce and good frites

                              Overall, prices are a touch higher than the Independent, but so is the quality (nothing against the Indo, which hits its mark perfectly). Prices are similar to Hungry Mother, but the format is different and friendlier to small plate snacking. A notch less expensive than Rendez-vous or Central Kitchen.

                              I expect I'll be going there often. An issue will be figuring out at what times they aren't generally full-to-bursting and going then, as I prefer a sleepier environment.

                              1. Attempted to go last night after a movie at Kendall- was about 9:20 on a Saturday night. There was a line about 20 people long outside the door- not for a table, just to get in! I guess the buzz has reached critical proportions. No one with us wanted to wait outside in line, so despite great sadness at not getting to try 6 different beers by Cantillon, we headed down the street to the Starlite Lounge. At the Starlite, we had several excellent cocktails, the Berkshire Brewing Company's Coffeehouse porter which is a tasty beer I've always liked, and some bar snacks as well as food. The chicken and waffles entree was really good although I felt $17 was just a little pricey. The fries were pretty poor. Our friend said the pork loin special of the night was quite good.
                                We're planning a return trip to Lord Hobo (please, please consider changing your name to just Hobo or the Hobo. Who thought "Lord Hobo" was a good name for any sort of establishment?) on a weeknight.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Parsnipity

                                  Given that there's still no signage, this wouldn't be too difficult.

                                  1. re: zebedee

                                    Well, with a line out the door apparently signage is low priority...

                                    1. re: Parsnipity

                                      And their website needs to be redone - you know with the correct opening hours (not 4:00 pm as we discovered to our dismay) and maybe fixing those typos....so why not edit out the Lord at the same time ; )

                                2. Went last night and had a lovely time, but the prices will likely keep it from being a mainstay in my rotation.

                                  Drinks: the Sloppy Possum was to die for. The Carolina (I think that's what it was -- something topped with dark beer) was good, but with the ice was a bit watery for my taste.

                                  Food: the deviled eggs were very good, with the avocado being my favorite of the three flavors, and the chile coming in a close second. The truffle was my least favorite -- it tasted too much of fakey truffle oil. The frites were also very good and potatoe-y. The pate/terrine plate was tasty (one venison, one rabbit/duck), but why is it every restaurant is so stingy with the toasted bread and mustards for this kind of thing? The fried oysters were good, but not astounding, and I wished for something slightly bolder than the slaw that currently accompanies each oyster on the plate. My humboldt fog/lardon/arugula salad was good, but at $11 was WAY overpriced. And I know humboldt fog isn't a cheap cheese, but for heaven's sake, if you're charging $11 throw something else in the bowl besides baby arugula and little bit of bacon. Cucumbers, anyone? Frisee? Anything? It felt really under-composed for an $11 salad. If you're gonna do simple and minimal, at least make it stunning in its simplicity -- this just felt like they left stuff out. It made me wish I'd gotten the duck confit salad, which is a buck cheaper.

                                  The service: terrific. Everyone was super nice and helpful, and our server was just great. It's a much friendlier atmosphere than the B-Side ever had, with a lot less attitude to boot.

                                  Overall: I liked it, I really did. But I couldn't bring myself to spring for a shepherd's pie maxing out above $20. It's just a bit too expensive for what it is, in my book. I'll probably go back for a drink or two at a time, but probably not for meals. And as other posters noted, they really need a few other menu items that aren't as heavy as what they currently have.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: litchick

                                    Why would yo spring $20 for Shepard's Pie, when you can walk 10min to The Druid and get a huge authentic Shepard's Pie for $10?? Lord Hobo (besides it's ridiculous name)has ridiculous standards and besides the the two B-Side staff leftovers, has the most unfriendly staff I have ever encountered. I usually do not judge a place until three months have gone by, but this is my neighborhood and I have seen this place through three incarnations.

                                    Sure, the B-Side was dirty, crowded, unorganized, and etc., but in the end, the staff loved it and the neighbors and it was friendly. It was a neighborhood joint.Don't get me wrong, I am happy to have another business open here, but upon my very first visit and the owner sticks his nose up because I prefer a vodka instead of a beer, I have to wonder?! Clearly he doesn't know where his profit margins are in his business or which clientèle could possibly be patronizing his establishment during a snow storm?!

                                    Yes, I do think the food is good, with room for improvement. This is a bar, not a restaurant with a James Beard award winning chef at the helm and a three month wait for reservations. You may want to reconsider prices and portions.

                                    Yes, the beer list is good, but the staff is not as up to date with what's available or knowledgeable as they could be. Perhaps 'pre-meals' (5-15 min informational meetings w/staff ) are in order before you open, so I don't have to 'sample' every beer I ask about or school them on what they have on tap.

                                    Also, this is a neighborhood bar, whether you like it or not. Get to know your neighbors. They are the ones who will end up supporting you. I mean, sure, 'beer geeks' (no offence) will come and go, but this location is not easy to get to/from, especially in winter.

                                    Oh and one thing about cleanliness....yeah, your place is pretty pristine, now, but your staff is pretty filthy. I saw some nasty habits the last 3 out of 5 times I have been in. The first 2, I wasn't looking. Why just last night I saw a guy ran food to a table, touched his hair, counted $$, picked up dirty dishes/glasses(fingers in glasses), went to bar & ran drinks to another table, sneezed in hands, went back to the bar to run more drinks.....It was gross. Perhaps a class in sanitation is also in order.

                                    You are not the B-Side, and you may want to think of some kind of uniform, I mean I couldn't tell who took my order, who rand the food, or who to pay. I do find this annoying.....and yes, I have worked in the business for 20 years and wish you luck....lots and lots of luck!

                                    Lord Hobo
                                    92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                    1. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                      If you hate it so much, why have you been 5 times?

                                      I've only been once for some beers and sides with friends - the Gorgonzola mashed and the deviled eggs were standouts. Everything else was forgettable. I just couldn't get over the fact that people were queuing up outside the place when we left - really, just wait until it's not so new - no need to stand in line!

                                      1. re: gini

                                        Let's see how long that line lasts when the temps finally begin to drop. I don't think that those ultra tight hipster jeans provide much warmth.

                                        1. re: gini

                                          I've been 5x for basically 2 reasons. One being, it's a central meeting place for us neighborhood dwellers to meet before we go elsewhere and two, I keep wanting it to not suck (yet it keeps sucking).

                                          I do agree with you though. There is no reason to wait in a line anywhere, ever! This includes Christmas night at the B-Side a few years back when Ben brought J-Lo inside. ...no need at all!

                                          Guess time will tell.

                                          1. re: gini

                                            PS didn't say I "hate it"....I am very disappointed though....

                                          2. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                            My experience of the staff was that they were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Huh.

                                            1. re: litchick

                                              .....And my experience was exactly as written. I guess you got lucky!


                                        2. My husband and I went right before Thanksgiving and enjoyed ourselves. I know the place is new, but I was really struck by one of the bartenders lack of knowledge of the beer and beer list. He really had no clue about the beer at all. I asked if they had a particular beer on still on tap and he said no. period. No offer of 'If you like that, you might like this'. I was a bit peeved when I saw the beer I asked about being served in a bottle....uh, why didn't he tell me he had it in the bottle? We were 2 of 6 at the bar and most of the staff were more interested in chatting with each other in the service area than dealing with customers.

                                          1. We had success tonight in getting a table. I just wanted to post a warning- they have almost NONE of the beers advertised on their website. They have a good beer selection currently, but it's very different from what's online. For example, there are 6 beers by Cantillon listed on the website... and none available. Overall, the beers there tonight were much more American and more hoppy and strong ales versus the Belgian-heavy listings online. I mentioned this to a bartender as far as it being a little disappointing and she said she'd point it out to management. As far as food, I have to basically agree with most of what's been said-- heavy food, mostly good but not great, and somewhat pricey. Excellent fries.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Parsnipity

                                              FYI, the beer list on the site is now updated as of today, and it looks like they've added at least some minimal descriptions. Seems as though they're attending to feedback...

                                            2. A friend and I went last Thursday night at around 6:45. We were seated immediately. Server was great -- walked us through the beer list in a knowledgeable and non-condescending way and was very friendly. Ordered the fries and oysters, plus the duck confit salad. Fries were very good but truffle sauces were a bit over the top with the truffle oil. Oysters weren't exceptional but still pretty tasty. Salad was good, though not light.

                                              I didn't feel gouged by the prices -- I noticed that the Shepherds Pie was only $17 or $18, so maybe someone is listening to everyone's complaints.

                                              Anyway -- I'll definitely go back. It's a nice place to grab a bite or a beer after work.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: damneddemand

                                                IMHO, that's still quite a bit for Shepherd's Pie. James Gate makes a really good one for only $11. That being said, I still plan on checking it out (LH, not the pie) as soon as I can, crowds willing.

                                                1. re: bostonbroad

                                                  I'm having sticker shock just reading this thread. To me, $18 entrée ≠ "a nice place to grab a bite." In general, I remain perennially boggled that Trina's, the Independent, River Gods, etc., bill themselves as nice (non-divey) neighborhood places and then charge $20 for comfort food. But hey, attitudes like mine are probably why nearly all these places have a $9 sandwich/burger menu. ($13/burger. Good Lord.)

                                              2. It seems that people are fairly upset about the food prices at Lord Hobo. As a relatively uninformed patron who is just speculating, I'm going to offer one potential defense.

                                                I believe that one of the big holdups with getting Lord Hobo up and running was the licensing process, and a big part of that was the fact that the city commission made the owner commit to a food-to-alcohol sales ratio that was higher than he anticipated (or, presumably, had experienced in the other establishments he started in Western Mass).
                                                As such, I think it's possible that the owner has had to raise his food prices slightly higher than they would normally be, and depress his drink prices somewhat. Despite some folks' inevitable griping over the beer prices, in my one visit I found them to be quite reasonable for first rate craft brews.

                                                Now, IF my theory is accurate (and that's a big if), I can see it being irksome to some of you. If you treat Lord Hobo primarily as a restaurant, you're going to get inadvertently gouged. If, like me, you see Lord Hobo as a very good bar with slightly above-average and slightly overpriced grub, you will be getting a more reasonable deal and you may be happier.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: celeriac

                                                  Great post, celeriac. I had been thinking pretty much the same thing. I wonder if pricing the food in order to get the percentage right could backfire though, making it a place to drink but with few people pulling the trigger on entrees. An unfortunate Catch-22.

                                                  1. re: celeriac

                                                    That is a great stab at it Celeriac. However, the Cambridge licensing commission isn't ignorant, but these owners are, by opening with high menu prices and low alcohol prices it will result in just what you said and just what the CLC does not want: another alcohol fueled destination (and neither does the neighborhood to be honest).

                                                    The smarter thing would have been to have lower priced menu items to insure a menu item was purchased with almost every (almost) check. Another end result for Lord Hobo's kitchen, will be a higher food cost, as less food is ordered, more will go bad and be tossed out. They need to rethink their menu for themselves as well as their customers.

                                                    1. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                                      Hey ThatGirl, I have to say I think it's pretty presumptuous for you to keep assuming that "the neighborhood" shares all of the same feeling you do about Lord Hobo. I live in the neighborhood, I like the place, and I know others folks in the neighborhood who are also excited about it. The opinions of "the neighborhood" are surely not homogenous.

                                                      Moreover I have no problem with another "alcohol fueled destination" opening in the neighborhood, though I usually just call them "bars." The schizophrenic relationship our culture has with alcohol is pretty absurd. From this perspective, why was the B-Side OK but Lord Hobo isn't? Aren't both of them "alcohol fueled?"

                                                      1. re: celeriac

                                                        Thank you, celeriac! I live in the neighborhood as well and am very happy to have Lord Hobo. Just because they have high priced items on the menu doesn't mean you have to order them!

                                                        Like celeriac, I don't really understand the big difference between the beloved B-Side. Obviously the beer list is different, but both have/had high priced menu items and low priced menu items.

                                                        I don't know, once I figured out that punching myself in the face hurt, I'd stop doing it. Seems silly to continue punching myself in the face and then complain to everyone about how much it hurt.

                                                        1. re: tallullah

                                                          Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I have lived here (in this exact neighborhood), and worked in the restaurant/bar business for 19+ years!!

                                                          I like bars. This neighborhood does not. You should not have taken that personally. I have watched some amazing places disappear. I am pretty sure you people did not live here when Daddy-O's was here( the absurdly over-priced Oleana's now sits in it's place)if so, we probably know each other! I do not work for the CLC, nor do I want them to win in this situation. I also do no want to sit idly by and watch some idiots do it wrong so the space will be empty for another year-(ish).

                                                          Lord Hobo is doing it wrong. Never mind the surly owner(s), manger(s) and staff who give you the nasty look and over charge you for a vodka on the rocks(2x now) or argue with you on what beer you had on tap the previous night. The lower beer prices are the smartest thing they have done, as they serve no popular domestics. (...because they are too good to wtf??)

                                                          While we are on the subject of what's wrong....if they love the name "Lord Hobo" so much (which everyone is taking the piss out of - yes, you know you have)...why no signage yet, ? Oh, and if you are traveling north (nw) on Hampshire St., the place still looks closed...no outside lights?? Why would you ever board up a window on a major street?

                                                          I have overheard the staff (manager/owner) refer to the B-Side one too many times. They are not the B-Side and will never be. They need their own identity, but cannot seem to find it. I find this tragic.

                                                          You guys have got me all wrong!!
                                                          Do I want a good new bar in my neighborhood?
                                                          Hell yes. It's 132' from my front door and that's a much shorter walk than to/from Innman Sq!

                                                          I just don't want it to suck so bad that I would rather walk the 10min in zero degree cold....but I would rather right now, because it kinda sucks right now....

                                                          1. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                                            I do miss Daddy O's. And I'm with you on yr impression of Oleana. Perhaps the LH will get there act together over the next few months? From what I have read here, it sounds like they've been overly ambitious from the ground up. And now they're trying to get their act and image together? The Beacon St. Tavern didn't have a sign up for almost one yr. I don't know what the theory behind that was, but they do now have signage.

                                                            1. re: CookieLee

                                                              Yeah...it was a trendy thing to do in NYC a few years back (the no sign thing). The B-Side was the first to successfully do it here in Boston/Cambridge. I think it's just silly the way this new venture is clearly trying to 'ride the coat tails'...yet doing so poorly.

                                                              I too, hope they "get their act together."

                                                            2. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                                              Regarding "no popular domestics"....

                                                              IIRC, Lord Hobo is a venture of the same man (name escaping me) who started the Moan and Dove in Amherst and the Dirty Truth in Northampton. Both are well-known destinations for beer geeks (I'm one, so no slur intended), and both seem to follow the philosophy expressed by the "beer bar" slogan, "No crap on tap." (They don't actually use the slogan, AFAIK.)

                                                              Neither place carries any BudMillerCoors products, though the Moan has section of its bottle menu called "Lawnmower Beer", which lists PBR, Gansett, and a half-dozen or so other such brands.

                                                              So, beer-wise at least, that's where Lord Hobo's coming from. And it's why I'd like to give them a shot, assuming I can get anywhere near the place when I'm up in the area over the next week or so. (Had no such luck over Thanksgiving weekend.)

                                                        2. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                                          I'm with celeriac in terms of "the neighborhood." I also live in the neighborhood and am excited that Hobo is open. I worried that the concern about "alcohol fueled destinations" would forever keep that space vacant. Personally I have no problem with what celeriac terms "bars" (is that a new term?....) close to my home.

                                                          Personally, Hobo is becoming just a bar for me. I'm a big fan of the fries, but the lack of lower priced items will drive my dining choices to Hungry Mother when I feel like spending that level of money or Atwood's when I don't.

                                                          What I do disagree with is the idea that they have low or lower than average alcohol prices. Cocktails are $10 ($9 at Trina's and $8-$10 at Green St.) and the beer prices are overwhelmingly over $6. Not gouging the customer for craft beer, but not cheap. Dale's Pale Ale was $0.50 to $1 cheaper at Atwood's when they had it on tap. Atwood's also carries Speakeasy from San Francisco at about that same amount cheaper than Hobo charges for Racer 5. Both are from the same city and sell for the same price in San Francisco. Yes I realize distributors could be different, but I'm just trying to point out that Hobo is certainly not offering any deals on alcohol.

                                                          1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                                            Canadian Tux -- following my second visit to the Hobo I'm actually inclined to agree with you. I would say the beer prices are largely on the high end of average. It should be noted that the European beers run about $2 more per pour than the Americans, but I think that's pretty par for the course.

                                                        3. Ok, so DC and I took one for the chow team and ordered the putatively overpriced "Shepherd's Pie." What we got was a rather large collection of wonderfully tender, savory chunks of braised lamb, some similarly tender and savory veggie bits, all sitting in thick chewy highly reduced braising liquid/sauce. The whole thing topped with a big pile of mashed potato with green specks in it. Anyway, this dish was awesome, and did not remotely resemble the hamburg-under-mash that I've had elsewhere under the same name.

                                                          I thought it was reasonably priced at $18. I don't know whether the price is justified by the cost of the ingredients, but that's not really the way it works. It takes time and planning and a level of expertise on the part of the kitchen staff to pull something like this off. It's obviously not easy to keep up a high level of food quality at a pub-type place, as the current thread on the Independent shows. I hope they can keep it up and stay creative, and I don't mind paying a few dollars more here than i would at Indo or Atwoods.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: jajjguy

                                                            "Anyway, this dish was awesome, and did not remotely resemble the hamburg-under-mash that I've had elsewhere under the same name."

                                                            Sounds nice but doesn't really sound like shepherd's pie either if it wasn't minced / ground meat.

                                                            DC and I were there for the first time last night. Pretty good on the whole. The Moenschof schwarzbier, which I'd been anticipating, was pretty bland on draught, but I moved on to the Coniston Bluebird Bitter (described, incorrectly, as a mild on the menu -- I thought they were supposed to be beer experts?) once I'd confirmed that it really wasn't a mild, and it was quite good, if too cold (it would be hard to say that it wasn't cellar temperature though given the current weather) and the draught Young's Double Chocolate Stout was in excellent condition.

                                                            We had the curry chips -- they were fries of course, but I was more surprised at the curry sauce, which isn't at all what would be served in the UK and Ireland, where the inspiration presumably comes from. Nonetheless the sauce, which seemed mayo- or cream-based, was pretty addictive.

                                                            DC had a vegeburger and reported disappointment -- I had the lobster mac'n'cheese which I enjoyed.

                                                            DC's negroni, Angelina, and Soylent Green were all well received.

                                                            All in all pretty decent and a definite draw for the beer.

                                                            1. re: chickendhansak

                                                              Interestingly, Matt Murphy's shepherd's pie is also lamb. I find it delicious, and prefer it to minced beef. hotoynoodle, I used to live in the UK, and in Britain it was often prepared w. minced beef. I didn't know about the lamb/mutton thing.

                                                              1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                shepherd's pie is traditionally made with chunks of lamb. (actually mutton back when.) poor folks were cooking it long before ground meat was readily available.

                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                  exactly. when made with beef it should properly be called Cottage Pie imho.

                                                                  1. re: ScubaSteve

                                                                    at some point it became a school cafeteria abomination -- a way to use up left over hamburger, i suspect, just like american chop suey. (which in college we called "trainwreck".)

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                      This whole time, I thought I was getting chunks of shepherd in there. I guess my school cafeteria was sloppy with the apostrophes - I agree that lamb makes more sense. So much for getting shepherds pie and washing it down with a soylent green.

                                                                    2. re: ScubaSteve

                                                                      My grandmother was from Newcastle England and has always made (and called it) Shepard's Pie with minced beef. Everywhere I have lived in Ireland, it was made with lamb (mutton). Mostly, after living all over the UK and N.Ireland, I believe it's a rural dish served with whatever is fresh and available. Here in the USA, it's bastardized like everything else we copy.

                                                                      1. re: ThatGirlInCambridge

                                                                        Well, funny you should mention that because that's more or less where I'm from too and I concur with your Geordie grandmother.

                                                                    3. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                      For clarity, I agree that it's supposed to be lamb (and that beef is "cottage pie", but often called shepherd's pie too), but I'll have to defer to your expertise on long-term traditions. For 30 odd years I'd been used to it being made with mince, and my relatives before me, because mince was always the cheapest meat available.

                                                                2. I went for the first time last night. The mussels and fries were great, and a good bargain at only $10 for a ton of food. I'm more of a cocktail girl than a beer girl, and not only was I super pleased with the Angelina (gin, chartreuse, st. germain, lemon and bitters I believe?), but there are quite a few other drinks on their list that are on my to try list.
                                                                  That being said, I don't see myself ordering much else on the menu, based on the combination of the prices and the "meh" reactions to the food from my dining companions. I'll stick with what worked, enjoy the drinks, and probably not spend nearly as much time there as I did the BSide. And the name still sucks.

                                                                  1. I made my first visit on Wednesday night. My takeaway is that this is a place to go if very thirsty for beer, but the food left me wanting. We started with the truffled fries which was the absolute winner of the night - the fries were fantastic. So, I guess this is a place to go for beer and fries.
                                                                    The rest of the food - was fine, not great, just fine. My DCs had the burger and the veggie burger - both declared them "okay, not great" - also the veggie burger came with cheese with no mention by the waitress or on the menu - what if one is vegan? or just doesn't want cheese?
                                                                    I had an entree portion of the lobster mac and cheese. It too was fine - nothing I'd rush back for.
                                                                    Service was friendly and a tad slow a times but fine overall.

                                                                    Fries, entrees, three beers, two glasses of wine and a cocktail came to $120 - so somewhat reasonable.

                                                                    What made the meal overly expensive was the parking tickets waiting on our two cars. WTH happened that Hampshire St and the ENTIRE neighborhood is now resident permit only? It is totally Cambridge's perogative to do this, but if I was a business I would push back to have at least *some* visitor/metered parking available. I realize this issue is totally unrelated to chow but it made my dinner at LH go from $40 to $70 - definitely not worth it at that cost.

                                                                    Bottom line - fine. But, with all the options we have in Cambridge and Boston I don't feel any need to settle for "fine" when I can go elsewhere and have "great."

                                                                    Lord Hobo
                                                                    92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: heathermb

                                                                      That's similar to my take. I think the beer is great, the cocktails are decent, the food is fine but overpriced. That seems to be the general sense of things among the masses. I certainly wouldn't cry if I ended up there, but it is a bit out of the way so I'll likely only go a handful of times a year. On the upside, I love how the bartenders aren't snotty/snobby like the ones at the publick house.

                                                                      1. re: heathermb

                                                                        Do you know if the veggie burger is house-made or of the frozen variety?

                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                          I believe house-made. Which my friend thought made it more surprising/disappointing that it was bland.

                                                                        2. re: heathermb

                                                                          I ran into that problem as well - there is practically nowhere to park in the area around Lord Hobo. I guess you could park at the theater parking garage - not sure of their hours, and it's a decent walk, but much cheaper than paying for the tickets.

                                                                        3. It's my favorite bar in the area so far but it's definitely not the best bar around. Solid food, very solid beer selection, both are just more expensive than they should be. It's very similar to the Publick house in that way, in my mind. I probably wouldn't go as often if I didn't live so close and wasn't generally disappointed with most of the other bars in Central but it's far and away better than the Field, etc. so it gets my business more often than not these days.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: hungry_and_thirsty

                                                                            I get on Hobo's case for all sorts of things, but I don't find the beer to be overpriced considering what it is. I haven't done the side by side, but I'd wager good money that Bukowski's charges more on a specific beer-for-beer comparison. Sure, the beer ain't cheap, but we're not talking about cheater pints of bud light here.

                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                              The beer prices at LH seem reasonable. This is just one example, but I believe LH are charging about $2 less than Jacob Werth's for Schnieder Aventinus. The difference in location could explain that to a large extent though.

                                                                              I'm a big fan of ordering from cask selections when available, and when I was at LH the other weekend I think they had 3 cask beers but the selection wasn't great. 2 out of the 3 were IPAs I believe. When you only have 3 of something, don't make two of them similar.

                                                                              1. re: Kinopio

                                                                                Ah Jacob Wirths ... that's another place that massively overcharges for their beers.

                                                                              2. re: jgg13

                                                                                Yeah but Bukowski's also tends to be overpriced. Compared to say, Cambridge Common or Red Bones which both have similar American Craft Brew selections, Lord Hobo is more expensive.

                                                                                1. re: hungry_and_thirsty

                                                                                  Buks is definitely overpriced, but in terms of breadth of selection they're probably the closest competitor outside of the Publick House empire. Heck, take out selection and the inman buks could be viewed as the primary competitor beer-wise to hobo in the area.

                                                                                  Both CC & Redbones have nice beers, same as some other spots, but the total number of beers available is hard to match around here.

                                                                                  Somewhat playing devil's advocate though - while I'm not a detractor of hobo, I'm not a fan. I just think the complaints about expensive beer to be a bit silly - it isn't the cheapest in the city but it is far from the gouging that some places pull

                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                    As CC's neon signage proclaims, they have 30 beers on tap. Is Inman Bukowski's in that zone? I don't remember it but I haven't been there for a long time.

                                                                                    1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                                      I don't know that they even have 30 on tap, but their bottle selection is monstrous. Although I have to admit with CC that they might be right up in there as total # of beers goes, I always forget about their ever improving beer program.

                                                                            2. Ate there last Thursday. Great cocktails -- original, well-made, some are challenging. I had the Sloppy Possum (Fernet, Ginger, Lemon) and the Rambler (Rye, Vermouth, Nonino, Maraschino) and my wife had the 92 Siesta (Tequila, Canton, Lemon, Agave, Angostura). All excellent, if expensive. My companions seemed to enjoy their wines and beers. Some of the food was excellent (Charcuterie), some just ok (Fries, eggs, pasta in two dishes was a minute or two before al dente, a few of the mussels were off). Waitress did say that they werre sort of between menus. Service was very good. It was very noisy if you're thinking you'll be able to have a conversation. Some sound absorbing panels would help.

                                                                              Overall, a welcome addition. I'd love to stop by for a creative craft cocktail, but I might prefer to eat elsewhere.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                One thing I forgot to mention in my post last week - our waitress mentioned that they had a new chef. Such a change so shortly after opening is curious...

                                                                                1. re: heathermb

                                                                                  Well, we went last night and the new chef needs to work on food temp issues.

                                                                                  My "warm" raclette, apple arugula and ham sandwich wasn't even tepid, the inside was cold...and it would have been a lot tastier if it was warm (I was picturing something more along the lines of Audubon Circle's hot pressed brie and apple sandwich). My DC's potatoes on top of his shepherd's pie were also cold. Otherwise, we did have a good time, the service was great and the beer and cocktails were great. Fun atmosphere, and since the food wasn't crazy expensive I wasn't too annoyed. But I'm not sure I'd go there again for food...

                                                                                2. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                  I made the mistake of getting the Sloppy Possum and the 92 Siestas back-to-back, and now I have a pet peeve about cocktail menus relying too heavily on ginger - whether it's Domaine de Canton or the ever-more-popular house-made ginger beer.

                                                                                  Also, for those concerned about price, the half order of lobster mac & cheese is a best buy. It's about 75% as big as the full order (it's even served in the same dish).

                                                                                  1. re: robwat36

                                                                                    I agree that ginger maybe is overused, but then again, I would not think that the Sloppy Possum and 92 Siestas would appeal to the same drinker.

                                                                                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                      I have heard rumors that the Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur) rep helped out creating the cocktail list.

                                                                                3. We went to Lord Hobo for the first time last night and weren't terribly impressed. I enjoyed the cocktails, I had one with rum/luxardo/lemon & bitters, my wife had THe Wall St, and the one with Fernet Branca, but the food? meh. Deviled eggs were ok, but nothing special, truffled ones were overpoweringly fake truffle oil tasting. Tuna sashimi was good, but needed a bit more soy sauce/wasabi. Our friend and the wife had the burgers (I tasted the wife's - only OK), and I had the very dissapointing Cuban sandwich which used shredded pork in BBQ sauce (not vinegar based) instead of the pork roast. Not a great idea. 4 cocktails for my wife, three for my friend, 2 for me (and a diet coke), 2 burgers, one Cuban, tuna sashimi and eggs, $200 with tip. Way too much for what it was. I won;t be rushing back.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                    Yeah, I finally had a full meal at LH a few weeks back (Shepherd's Pie) and it was so-so, pretty weak for the price. Just confirms what I've been saying all along: IT'S A BAR, FOLKS. Go there for drinks and fries. The food is there in case you really need it, but try not to.

                                                                                    1. re: celeriac

                                                                                      I get that it's a bar. But if the food is really supposed to be an afterthought, why even the pretense toward good food, which seems to be in evidence given their menu selections and prices?

                                                                                      1. re: bella_sarda

                                                                                        Because per the Cambridge licensing board or whatever, they need to hit a food/alcohol sales ratio.
                                                                                        I forget if it was settled on 65/35 but someone else on here will probably know.

                                                                                        1. re: rknrll

                                                                                          if they don't what happens? can Cambridge shut them down because their food sucks and no one buys it?

                                                                                          1. re: ac106

                                                                                            Don't know how it works but I do remember reading the minutes from the meetings or whatever, and it was discussed at length more than once.

                                                                                    2. re: kimfair1

                                                                                      I had the Cuban at LH recently and was also appalled (like kimfair1). Like, have these people ever actually had a Cuban sandwich? There were no real pickles, only a few lame pickled carrots. No mustard either and the bread was terrible. The saving grace were the fries. Friends had the mussels which were also good, but the Cuban just completely grossed me out.

                                                                                    3. The service, fries, and beer selection bumped this place from a 2 star to a 3. Maybe my expectations were too high. (Regrettably we hadn't consulted CH reviews..). Very noisy. No parking. More importantly, the food - Cuban sandwich - strangely tasty but pretty greasy. Mac and cheese - a bland, boring, flop. Deviled eggs - unremarkable, but then again the benchmark is my Mom's.. IF I could find parking, I may go again for an appetizer and a drink, but not a meal. And we had so wanted to be bowled over by the place.

                                                                                      Lord Hobo
                                                                                      92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                                                                      1. i was there last saturday evening, and even in a total downpour it had a good turnout. we were able to get a table, and i thought it was great. the beer and cocktail selection was fantastic (although i tend to prefer slightly lighter drinks, the men and beer-drinkers in my crowd loved it). the service was good especially for it being around midnight, and the art on the walls was interesting. the volume was good for a "bar conversation." definitely will be visiting again!

                                                                                        1. I bought a BuyWithMe coupon for LH a few months back and finally got around to using it. Consensus: I miss the B-side terribly.

                                                                                          As many have mentioned, the space it quite similar but they got rid of the booths along the wall in favor of hi-tops. You just can't tuck into a high-top. The new interior while less cramped just feels totally sterile. With its mounted enormous flat screens with the Bruins game on it felt much like the insipid Tavern on the Square (and don't get me started on how I miss The Good Life).

                                                                                          We grabbed a drink at the bar before a table opened up. At first I was pleased. They were playing good music (Walkmen and Gang of Four) I was excited about the beer list and I really wanted to like this place. But that wore off pretty quickly (the music got boring too). We split 3 appetizers: fries with thai curry sauce, clams carbonara, and sweet and spicy chicken lollipops. The fries were ok but I prefer fries and curry sauce (the original kind they are riffing on) from the Burren or Thirsty Scholar. The clams were good as were the lardons in it but the pasta was undercooked and believe me I do like it al dente. The chicken has potential in that they got the crispiness of the skin just right... but that goopy sauce... too much of it. All in all if your a beer person and that is what is luring you here then just stick to the drinks. (sniff sob... I thought the food at the B-side was really great in an unassuming way)

                                                                                          I found the service indifferent. Mr. ordered a beer and the waiter informed him they were out of it. Mr. openly admits he should have spoke up and asked for advice on something similar but he was also surprised that at a "beer place" like this that the waiter wasn't more enthusiastic about making a suggestion for something similar. I too would have liked a little more enthusiasm.

                                                                                          And I will end on a positive note. I did have a very interesting and delicious beer of my own choosing: Emelisse Rauchbier from Holland. I'm more of a whiskey/scotch/bourbon girl so maybe that's why this appealed to me. Imagine a rotting fermenting fruit smell and then somebody starting a smokey brush fire... but you know... in a good way... that's what this beer was like.

                                                                                          247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                                                          Good Life
                                                                                          28 Kingston, Boston, MA 02111

                                                                                          Thirsty Scholar
                                                                                          70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: heypielady

                                                                                            Yeah, this place is only good for the beer. It's such a bummer. I loved the owner's first spot (Moan and Dove) and his second (Dirty Truth, but not nearly as much as M+D), but he really lost the elements that made those places great - great beer plus great, friendly service, and a real cozy feeling.

                                                                                            1. re: heypielady

                                                                                              I think its easily the best place in the Boston area for beers. They have an excellent mix of local, west coast and Euro. They were a bit heavy on the IPAs for awhile, which is the trend nationally, but they have had a more varied beer list lately. I'm mainly into trippels and imperial stouts and they always have at least a couple good ones at all times.

                                                                                              If you want to talk beer, I'd suggest sitting at the bar. I've always gotten great service. If you are unsure of anything, ask for a taste before you order. That will tell you a lot more than any waiter or menu can.

                                                                                              The food I've had has been fine, but thats not really the point of a place like this. Go there to geek out on awesome beer.