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Let's make a list of bars without TVs

After spending an entire meal at Russell House having no choice but to stare at the Bruins game behind my friend's head (seriously, that table in the downstairs bar area under the TV is brutal), I started making a mental list of TV-free bars. (I realize there are plenty of restaurants that don't have them.)

Anyway, after Drink, No. 9 Park, Clio, and the upstairs bar at Marliave, my brain stopped. Where else can you go to have a drink and avoid the game?

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  1. You are doing the Lord's Work..I don;t live there but visit enough that the resulting list will be laminated and carried in my wallet.

      1. Although much more of a dive bar than any you listed, the Burren in Davis Square has no televisions...I know because my husband refuses to go there on game nights for that reason alone.

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        Burren
        247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

        1 Reply
        1. re: food_lubber

          I love The Burren. Doesn't need to be an upscale list, those are just the ones that came to mind first.

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          Burren
          247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

        2. The Brendan Behan in JP has no TVs. And I THINK that Grendel's Den in Cambridge doesn't, either, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

          And I agree with hazelhurst--you are indeed doing the Lord's Work.

          5 Replies
          1. re: hiddenboston

            A little outside, but the Dive Bar and Armsby Abbey in Worcester.

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            Armsby Abbey
            144 Main Street, Worcester, MA

            1. re: trufflehound

              Armsby has a big tv in the left side of the bar. In your defense, though, I've never actually seen it turned on.

            2. re: hiddenboston

              Ah, but The Behan does show the Sox (and other sports, including, I think, the Premier League) on a pull-down screen. So I don't quite classify it as a refuge from all sports.

              1. re: hiddenboston

                The Behan not only has the pull-down screen, but they also have a small flat screen in that same corner. Fortunately it is only on during local games (so no ESPN just because something has to be playing), but it is there.

                Similarly, Silvertone has a TV that I think is only on for local games. But that still doesn't get to the point of this thread.

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                Silvertone
                69 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  I watched Game 7 of the Celtics/Lakers series last spring at the Behan ... don't know if trhat was a random event.

                2. The Delux Cafe has a TV - but as the TV, as a strict rule, is only turned to the Cartoon Network, I consider it effectively a bar with no TVs.

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                  Delux Cafe
                  100 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116

                  1. Was at Union Bart and Grill recently and was surprised to see the TV had been removed from the bar area.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Fort Point

                      Removing a TV? My God, that is like removing a traffic light (those things never go away). If this is permanent it is progress....has it been gone long or is there reason to fear it is only being replaced?

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        Don't know the answer to you question of gone long or being replaced.

                        1. re: Fort Point

                          OK..just pop a line if you find out anything. I stand as second to none in my devotion to the Sox but I just like a place where I can avoid that stuff sometimes. No matter how much I explain it, people seem to think that their hollering gets through the screen and onto the field/court. At the Cask n' Flagon, sure...

                    2. The Green Dragon has one or two (?) small TVs on the dining side, but the bar does not, and with the configuration they aren't even noticeable. I can't think of another bar in the Faneuil Hall area where that is the case.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: StevieC

                        The Beehive does that too...there's a TV on the side of the downstairs bar that faces the alley out back, but it's invisible to most of the room.

                      2. No TV at Bergamot's bar.

                        1. The old zbar side of Trina's.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rknrll

                            Can't remember - is there a TV at Chez Henri? Maybe a tiny one, usually off?

                            Also, River Gods.

                            1. re: rknrll

                              Now a sports pub (same owners, same kitchen) replete with lots of flat screens.

                              http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

                            2. I could be wrong, but I dont think Alba in Quincy has a tv

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                C., They have 2 right above the backbar.
                                CocoDan

                              2. Mr. Dooleys doesn't have TV's.

                                1. The Franklin Cafe, The Franklin Southie, and The Citizen Public House.

                                  I was in Union Bar & Grill not too long ago, and they still had a TV, but it had moved from its prior location at one end of the bar to its center. It may not have been on, but the game usually is on there.

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                  -----
                                  Franklin Southie
                                  152 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Did the Franklin ditch their TV? It is small and crappy, however the last time I was in there (last season) the Sox game was definitely on (no volume).

                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                      They have always had one, but it is almost always off. A few exceptions I've noted: 9/11, a few Sox playoff games.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        I've seen it on for regular season Sox games, as well as some Celtics games as well.

                                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Citizen has a TV, they had the sox game on friday night.

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        That's one I wasn't sure of: I usually have my head down in that bar. Must be impossible not to have a TV in the vicinity of Fenway Park.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                                        Fenway Park
                                        82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          It had been a while since I was in there and had never noticed at TV before. I'm guessing maybe they only show the Sox games or something like that for the same reason you cite. I was actually a little bit surprised, although for that particular night it was somewhat welcome.

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                            That's why I started this thread; it's hard to be sure just from memory.

                                            1. re: robwat36

                                              This is F$&%@!% great! I see a trip to Somerville in my future. The Burren sounds like just the thing

                                              -----
                                              Burren
                                              247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                                The Burren ALWAYS seems like just the thing for me.

                                                -----
                                                Burren
                                                247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                              2. re: robwat36

                                                It's also worth noting the difference between "sometimes has a game on" and "always has something on". This is true in both directions, I've been burnt from time to time assuming a game will be on at a particular bar and nothing because they only put special games on.

                                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                                            Believe you are right, there many be a TV in the center of the bar at Union.

                                          3. As for Alba in Quincy-the one time I was there for dinner it was so loud that we couldn't hear each other across the table. Can't imagine the bar area is any quieter.........

                                            1. Temazcal

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                                              Temazcal
                                              250 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                              1. City Bar in the Back Bay has no TV - not sure about the one on the Waterfront.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Ducksworth

                                                  Hamersley's does not have a TV at the bar. And, so far, I haven't seen aware of one at Island Creek Oyster Bar but we always eat at the dining bar.

                                                  This may be my new favorite conversation and I'm so happy to see that I'm not alone in avoiding places with TVs. So many times one of us will nominate a restaurant for dinner and the other one will say, Yes, but they have a TV. We've stopped going to places we love because the tvs and distracted staff takes away from the dining experience.

                                                  Penny
                                                  http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                  -----
                                                  Island Creek Oyster Bar
                                                  500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                                2. Disclaimer: We MUST have a game on when eating at the bar.

                                                  That said, Flatbread in Davis Sq. doesn't have a TV at the bar. Facing the bowling lanes from the bar is enough of a hoot!

                                                  1. Santarpios in east boston. No tv.

                                                    1. Hate to reply to my own thread again, but...upstairs bar at Sel de la Terre Back Bay and The Enormous Room.

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                                                      Enormous Room
                                                      569 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                      Sel de la Terre
                                                      774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

                                                      1. Don't think there's a TV upstairs at Woodward and the one downstairs is in a cabinet and I've never seen it open.

                                                        1. Washington Square Tavern doesn't have TV.

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                                                          Washington Square Tavern
                                                          714 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                          1. The only place I would categorize as a bar, and which has not been mentioned, is Shays Pub in Harvard Sq.

                                                            In terms of restaurants that have distinctive bar areas and do not have TVs at the bar, I can think of the following:

                                                            Craigie on Main
                                                            Marco
                                                            Blue Room
                                                            Toro
                                                            Garden in the Cellar (upstairs)
                                                            Upstairs on the Square

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                                                            Toro
                                                            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                                            Craigie on Main
                                                            853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                            The Blue Room
                                                            Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: charlestown_matt

                                                              Shays actually has a TV at the bar and it is often on. That said, it is at the far end of a long skinny bar area so it's not all that distracting.

                                                              1. re: melon

                                                                Oops, my mistake. I could not recall a TV being in there.

                                                                Another place that came to mind is the outside bar at the Salty Dog in Faneuil Hall. No TVs, and no games on the radio. Just music.

                                                                1. re: charlestown_matt

                                                                  I am going to be cheeky and corroborate charlestown_matt and say that Shay's does not in fact have a tv. Sure, there is a tv /inside/ the bar, but when one visits Shay's one MUST sit /outside/ on the patio, which does not have a tv.

                                                            2. The Haven in JP has a small TV by the bar, but I have never seen it on over the course of several visits. It may be that they only have it on when the local teams are playing.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: bigsnow

                                                                It usually has soccer on, and if there is no match, then a movie. The handful of times I've been to the Haven I can't recall ever seeing a local sports team on the TV.

                                                              2. Eastern Standard has TVs, but most of the time they're in closed cabinets behind the bar. I've only been in there once when they were visible. Which is one of the reasons we keep going back.

                                                                -----
                                                                Eastern Standard
                                                                528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: apilston

                                                                  I don;t know this place--or a lot of others on here---but that close to Fenway I'd be surprised if the Red Sox were not on when playing. (I don't even mind if it is on so long as it is not loud and people are not yelling. Some places, sure, but not everywhere...)

                                                                  1. re: apilston

                                                                    Any time I've been there during a Sox game, the game is on.

                                                                  2. Hungry Mother
                                                                    Matt Murphy's
                                                                    Neptune Oyster
                                                                    Orinoco
                                                                    Publick House
                                                                    The Middle East

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                                                                    Neptune Oyster
                                                                    63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                                                                    Matt Murphy's
                                                                    14 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

                                                                    Hungry Mother
                                                                    Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                                                                    Publick House
                                                                    1648 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

                                                                    Middle East Restaurant
                                                                    472 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Area Man

                                                                      Publick House has 2 TVs I believe. The Monk's Cellar part of it does not have any so that would be a good place to have great beer and no TV.

                                                                      Deep Ellum recently posted on their facebook that they were showing the Pats game with sound. I've only ever seen them play TCM on their TVs before so that struck me as odd.

                                                                      I don't remember seeing any TVs at The Hawthorne.

                                                                      1. re: Kinopio

                                                                        It is the Super Bowl, and rumor has it a local team is playing. I assume Deep Ellum is making an exception as they would like to take advantage of this and get some business next Sunday evening.

                                                                      2. re: Area Man

                                                                        Neptune Oyster does have a tv, but its not often on

                                                                      3. The bar at No. 9 Park has no TV

                                                                        1. Clio's bar did have a tv although it was rarely on. I'm curious to see what they did with the space over the last 2 weeks during renovations.

                                                                          http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: yarm

                                                                            Went last night, and there is no television! Bartender Todd Maul requested that it be removed since he had no interest in it and it was distracting. Even if he didn't want it on, guests would request it when there was a game (and sometimes fight about it when there were two different games on).

                                                                            http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

                                                                            1. re: yarm

                                                                              How does the overall space look post renovation?

                                                                              1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                When we arrived, the restaurant part was dark as there was only one diner left and she was sitting at the bar. The bar is rather well lit (or back lit) from the booze shelves. They took out the lounge area by the short end of the bar and extended the bar out another 3 seats (which added another drink making station) and another chair or two might be added in the future. The bar top is wood instead of white marble. There are definitely improvements but some set backs. Still the same old Todd making awesome drinks -- now with new experiments from his rotovap.

                                                                          2. great idea. I believe Saloon in davis doesn't have a tv.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: dsarver

                                                                              Ah, Davis Square. No one's mentioned Underbones (downstairs at Redbones). Great for beer, no TV.

                                                                            2. Atwood's Tavern in Cambridge removed its lone remaining TV a few months ago. That move, combined with an improved menu, great new patio, and impressive draft beer list, have moved it just a little nearer and dearer to my heart.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Atwood's Tavern
                                                                              877 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                                                              1. Backbar in Union Square (Somerville).

                                                                                1. Does Casablanca have a TV?

                                                                                  1. Cool! There's a blog called Eat Your TV based on this exact premise. http://eatyourtv.wordpress.com/direct...

                                                                                    please feel free to submit more, or tell them if a bar is in the list but shouldn't be.