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Birthday drinks somewhere between Davis and Central?

Looking for a place near the Red Line between Davis and Central to have birthday drinks with around 7 people in mid-December. Everyone I know goes to Lord Hobo, which is great, but I'd like a change of pace. (Also a fan of Drink and Deep Ellum, but not sure I can get this particular crew to travel that far.)

Ideally, said change of pace would include:
-- a decent beer list
-- a bartender who's not afraid of bitters
-- a few vegetarian-friendly appetizers
-- the possibility of grabbing a seat, rather than huddling awkwardly in the servers' way

Any and all ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Deep Ellum Bar
477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

Drink
348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Lord Hobo
92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

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  1. I'd do Russell House Tavern or Green Street.

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    Russell House Tavern
    14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

    1 Reply
    1. re: robwat36

      Agree wholeheartedly with you on RHT, except I brought a vegetarian friend there and he was underwhelmed, to say the least, with the food choices. He looked at the menu, put it down, and said, "We can just have drinks". He loved the cocktails though. RHT would more than satisfy all your other requirements (smallish, but well chosen craft beer list, great cocktails, and large bar downstairs), and you could check out the menu online to see if it's acceptable.

    2. Cambridge Common would hit 3 out of 4 items on your list. I've never ordered a cocktail there, so I don't know about #2.

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      Cambridge Common
      1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

      1 Reply
      1. re: brandywiner

        Ack, sorry -- forgot to mention that Cambridge Common is a near-weekly after-work staple, so that's also out. Otherwise it would be a fair option, though.

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        Cambridge Common
        1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

      2. I really like the cocktails and small but excellent beer list at Green Street, but the bar area is small and usually crowded. It can be tough to find meatless dishes there too. I usually go for the fried yucca or cheese plate.

        Russell House might work better because its bigger. Cheap fernet too.

        Garden at the Cellar might work but probably not as well as the other 2. I like the food but the cocktails and beer list are a notch below the others.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kinopio

          It's pretty generous to say that the Garden's cocktail and beer offerings are "a notch below." I think they are pretty abysmal. That's been one of the curious issues with that place that makes no sense to me - how can they do that well with the food but so poorly with drinks? I see Will Gilson out regularly at some of the better cocktail places (including hanging out with some of the city's great bartenders), so he certainly knows a good drink, but the bartenders at the Garden can only make a couple of the classics, and not very well.

          The almost non-existent wine list also makes no sense. It's not hard to have a small, interesting, well-priced list. Green Street is a good example.

        2. Trina's Starlite Lounge? Not right on the Red Line, but right on the 83 bus from Porter to Central or a cheap cab ride from Davis if you are sharing with other people. Great drinks, a good beer list, usually no trouble getting a table in one of the three rooms. Nice vibe, a little loud but people are enjoying themselves. The food is sometimes very good, with a range of choices for veggie and non.

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          Trina's Starlite Lounge
          3 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

          4 Replies
          1. re: hckybg

            Second trina's. Based on some of the OP's other fav haunts, this fits right in. Meets all criteria - might have to check on the Veg nibbles, however. (I could be very happy with just a basket of their excellent potato chips!!)

              1. re: Small Plates

                hubby and i went there on january 1st at around 9:30 p.m. only to find the doors locked. any idea what happened? we have been anxious to try their fried chicken. want to try again, but i was afraid maybe it closed?

                1. re: jwlotti

                  They were just closed for the holiday. They are very much open, you'll have to try again.

            1. I can't remember their beer list, but across the street from Cambridge Common, West Side Lounge has very good cocktails, several yummy veg friendly apps (good frites and also nice flatbread) and good seating.

              I also think Green Street is another good alternative.

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              Cambridge Common
              1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

              West Side Lounge
              1680 Mass Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138