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Bars in Inman and Central?

Hi! I'm new to Inman Square and looking for great, laid-back bars that are within walking distance, preferably in Inman or Central Square. Something along the lines of The Field. Any ideas?

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  1. What are your priorities? Atmosphere, food, spirit selection, beer selection, crowd, etc ...?

    If using the field as a guideline, i'd point you towards the druid, the plough & stars, the cellar & atwoods.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jgg13

      Priorities are definitely atmosphere and beer selection. Looking for a place to spend some time on a Friday or Saturday night.

      1. re: kingaj12

        Bukowski's has the best beer selection in Inman, but the atmosphere is loud and hipster-y. The Druid is probably more up your alley.

        1. re: kingaj12

          Out of all of the places I mentioned (including the field), I'd prefer Atwoods, the Druid & the cellar (in that order) - based on the original "like the field" request.

          As bobot mentions, bukowski has an unrivaled beer list in the area, but it's expensive & the scene might not be what you're looking for (I like it). I also like the thirsty scholar that hiddenboston mentions, particularly for sporting events ... I don't really care for their food though (i guess that's also true of bukowski).

          Going back more towards central, I also like the peoples republik on weeknights, where it's a much quieter atmosphere than the raucous scene you get on weekend nights. They have a relatively new menu which isn't super noteworthy, but isn't bad either.

          Looking forward to Trina's Starlight Lounge & Lord Hobo, don't know yet if they'll end up being "laid back"

          1. re: kingaj12

            BTW, I'd also add that if food is your main driver that the answers to your question are going to change radically - there was a thread along these lines the other day:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/651386

        2. The Thirsty Scholar on Beacon Street in Somerville isn't a bad place to get a pint. It's often pretty quiet and laid back. The food is a bit spotty, though the last couple of times I've been there, it has been pretty good. And yes, The Druid is also a good place for a drink as well as some food, as they have mostly above average pub grub.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hiddenboston

            We go there a lot on weekends - because it has a pretty good Irish breakfast. One dish on their supper menu, for which I like enough to return, is their bangers and mash. They use Galtee bangers and the mash (while not the best I have eaten) are good. The Galtees are what bring me back. I know this is not a compelling reason to go to the Thirsty Scholar, but I thought I would give it its prop.

          2. Was at the Druid recently and reminded me how much I like the food. Very good and garlicky mussels with brown bread to sop up the juice. Mmmm.

            Bukowski's is always waaaaaay too loud for me.

            3 Replies
            1. re: yumyum

              The Druid is a great bar. Maybe my favorite bar in the world. It does get a little busy by late Friday and Saturday night, but the crowd is a nice mix, the vibe is always good, and they have a nice beer selection--interesting, big (enough), and well priced. And the food is definitely above 'above average.' You might consider going there at 6, getting a good table, ordering a burger, drinking for a few hours, ordering a veggie burger, putting in a couple more hours, ordering the chicken soup...

              1. re: yumyum

                Agreed. You know a bar's too damn loud when you go in with rock musicians and *they* complain about the noise.

                1. re: djd

                  I have really bad hearing (not a rock musician, but might as well be ... in fact, my rock band friends generally have better hearing than I do due to actually using ear plugs) and that place can be too loud for me.

                  On the upside, for a change of pace I'm not the only person in the group saying, "do what now?" ... "what was that?" ... "can't hear you, can you repeat that?" etc ;)

              2. Wait, has something changed in the last few years? I would never call The Field "quiet and laid back". Laid back, maybe meaning you don't have to "dress", but Friday or Saturday nights, it is drunken and loud and pretty crazy, in my experience. Fun, though!

                I think for a similar atmosphere, you'd go to the Middle East or The Cellar. In the old days, the B-Side, so maybe Lord Hobo will be the same. The Courtyard, maybe?

                Atwoods and Druid are great bars, but you don't see people getting up onto the bar there.

                I love Atwood's and the Druid, but they're not the same kind of place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dulce de leche

                  Much like my description of the peoples republik - a lot of the bars in this area change character pretty drastically depending on *when* you're talking about. Most spots get pretty loud & crazy friday & saturday nights (whether through live music, or just the crowd itself, or even both ...)

                2. I join the chorus favoring the Druid: the atmosphere is what you're looking for, and the food is excellent. I repeat my contention that they have by some distance the best fish and chips in the city.

                  1. As someone with perhaps a bit too much experience of late with drinking in Central (less so with Inman), I will throw in my two cents for the Miracle of Science. It's just a great place, both for eating (search the board and you should find plenty of raves) and for drinking. Drinking-wise, while it may not be the most interesting place around, its fantastic corner location allows for great people watching. Also, their breakfast (notwithstanding the weak coffee) is both fairly inexpensive and really good.

                    I'll also throw in a kind word for the Phoenix Landing. Don't stay there past 10:00 PM (when the DJs start spinning music of often dubious quality). But it's a fine place to drink the early evening, especially if you're interested in seeing a replay of a Champions League match. Plus, they have just recently redone their menu. I had sworn off eating their food, as it had previously been bland pub food. Though the new menu does not seem to be near the Miracle of Science nor the Druid in quality, I've been impressed with the quality of the ingredients.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Zut

                      I had forgotten about both spots. Love the roni burger at MoS, although it gets too crowded too early for my tastes. The Phoenix is exactly as you describe - I know the last time I was in there I was pleasantly surprised at my food (forget what it was though)

                      1. re: Zut

                        I love the DJs "spinning music of often dubious quality" at the Phoenix Landing but if beer is your beverage of choice I submit that the selection is meager and the taps are unclean. I need to get some food there based on your comment, usually kitchen is closed by the time I reach.

                      2. What about Green Street? It's in Central, pretty big bar area with stools and some tables. Good cocktail menu and a very good beer selection. No "entertainment" to speak of, but who needs it?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nathanP

                          I'll second Green Street, but I've mainly enjoyed it as an after work, couple of cocktails, and a snack kind of place, not really as a later night bar scene. The quality of the cocktails and pricing is hard to beat though.

                          Also, Trina's Lounge on Beacon should be opening in the near future, providing a cocktail-centered place right in Inman. It'll have be a damn nice place to unseat the Druid as my go to bar in the neighborhood, however.

                          1. re: nathanP

                            Also love Green Street - the drinks are better than the food and the food is really good.

                          2. Echoing a lot of people here, but:

                            The Druid.
                            Plough and Stars.
                            Atwood's.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: rknrll

                              Oh the Plough. One of my favorites.

                              1. re: yumyum

                                I would think you would like the Druid and Atwoods. Both have good beer, food and prices. Skip Bukowskis.

                                Also Try Charlies Kitchen in Harvard Square. It has a nice night scene and an outdoor bar in the summer.

                                1. re: David_A

                                  I *do* like the Druid and am okay with Atwood's (see upthread). I wasted a big chunk of my mis-spent youth at Charlie's , due to a bar fly love interest. You got me pegged.

                                  1. re: David_A

                                    Agreed Bukowski is a must miss; they have the most expensive beer prices in town, serve in small glasses and are well known for their short pours.

                                    1. re: PaulB

                                      Yes Paul B! That was proven again last night as I drank a Pizza Port Hop 15; it was $7.70 and was past its prime--way sweet. Contrast the night before at the Publick House where it was in pristine condition, tasting quite complex and was "only" $5.50.

                                      I bailed after that Buk's experience and walked down the street to The Druid, where I had a fantastic fish sandwich and Guiness--they are doing a great job there :)

                              2. How has nobody mentioned River Gods yet? It's a tiny little place with amazing food and a limited but solid beer selection. There's nice decor, and the music is always atypical of the boston scene.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sourcandy

                                  I always forget about that place (and live just a few blocks away). I'll have to go back sometime soon.

                                  I will say that it got annoying (to me) for a while - teeming to the brim with hipsters every time I went (not that I mind hipsters per se, I just don't want to be in a crush of them). Dunno if that's subsided.

                                2. I'll throw in more votes for Green St (less bar-y, but nice and mellow, with great cocktails and a great burger) and Atwood's (surprisingly great beer selection, solid food, fun atmosphere, though the live music is a bit overpowering sometimes). Also, if you're willing to head north to Union Sq, the bar at The Independent.

                                  1. druid is excellent, its a plus if you can get some real estate at the corner tables or the bar

                                    Atwoods is awesome, only been there once but everything about it is worth going back

                                    thirsty scholar is another great place/atmosphere

                                    Bukowski's I dont get the hype, big deal lots of places pour varieties of beer, food is below average in my opinion.

                                    1. A new addition to the list: East Side Bar & Grill. Towards East Cambridge from Inman, not far from Atwood's. Less raucous, neighborhood scene, very good food.

                                      Of the other possibilities, I think Druid and Plough are the best choices for both food and drink. O'Sullivans, towards Porter on Hampshire>Beacon, is also great. Eating at the Thirsty, however, is a risky proposition.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: elbev

                                        Agreed. I have never had anything yummy at the Thirsty besides Guinness.

                                        1. re: elbev

                                          I used to live down the street from the Scholar, and ended up eating there more often than I should. I found the mussels to be reliably very good. After a while, that's all I ever ordered.

                                          1. re: zebedee

                                            The best thing about the Thirsty Scholar is the availability of Shipyard ales on tap, IMO. And the fact that they show the footy a bit more reliably than some other bars.

                                            1. re: chickendhansak

                                              "Show the footy?" Dear chowgod in heaven what does that mean?

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                Football, dear heart. You may know of it as soccer.

                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                  I actually played in high school, but never heard it referred to as footy.

                                        2. I was on my way to the Druid last week, but as I drove by Atwood's I saw a parking spot right in front, so I stopped in. I don't like the atmosphere as much as the Druid (it's not as funky), but the Atwood's beer selection and fish sandwich were superb!

                                          1. I love the Druid for their fish and chips and a very well-dressed spinach salad. Yum!