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Dec 5, 2011 08:09 AM

Two guys walk into a bar....

A friend of mine is coming to visit and we generally like to sit at the bar for an extended amount of time, drink, have a meal, and catch up.

We'll be heading out on Tuesday, dec. 27th, and I'm having trouble thinking of a place. I work in Kendall Square and the ideal place would be off the redline in either direction to make things easy.

We prefer good food and great cocktails. The last place we went was Craigie on Main and before that we were at Citizen Public House. We had burgers and house cured meats at both. Cocktails were great- edge to Craigie.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Lord Hobo or Green Street Grill perhaps. Good cocktails, but I don't have much experience with the food at either place.

    Green Street
    280 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    Lord Hobo
    92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

    1. Rendezvous. The bar is small, but on a Tuesday should be doable.

      Green Street, Russell House Tavern would be my back-ups.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nickls

        We enjoyed Russell House Tavern. Food isn't very impressive at Lord Hobo. Haven't done Rendezvous...

        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

          Hobo's food is definitely a notch (or more) below all the rest mentioned in this thread. I really like RHT & Green Street. Haven't hit up the various new-ish Kendall spots to say much about them.

      2. Why not one of the myriad new spots in Kendall? Catalyst / Area Four / Meadhall / Firebrand Saints -

        10 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Good Recs. Been to Abagails- it was good.

          Never seen the bar in Area 4 or Catalyst. Are they good spots to camp out at for a night?

          Firebrand Saints is a cold space with limited menu and a small bar. I didn't care for it too much. I like Mead Hal for a beer but the food isn't great and for some reason I can't connect to the atmosphere.

          1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

            Other hounds will hopefully weigh in. Catalyst has a huge bar - don't think it would be a problem camping. I get the sense that Area 4 is a warmer space, but have not been yet.
            Always forget to list Abigail's.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              I've only been to the coffee side, but Area Four appeared to have a nice restaurant space and a big bar.

              1. re: hckybg

                I agree with OP that atmosphere at Meadhall just doesn't do it for me.

                The bar stools at Area 4 are REALLY uncomfortable, but maybe that's just me. Trendy, metal ones that make me squirmy.

                The bar at Za is nice. It shares the space with EVOO so you can order from both menus and are not stuck eating the pizza (can't stand the crust at the ARL location - must be the same in Cambridge?). There is a bar snack menu, too.

                As mentioned above, the bar at Rendezvous is great - I love the table height of it.

                1. re: digga

                  What is it about Mead Hall? I never feel at home there.

                  1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                    My issues with Meadhall:

                    -I like the comfy leather chairs and couches upstairs. But I feel like I am crashing someones party or walking through someones living room when trying to navigate the tight spaces.

                    -I've been a few times (afternoon and midweek after work). Not once was my first choice beer available. Other in my group had to ask for 3 beers before finding one that they actually had.

                    -The food is expensive? Small portions? Not what I want while drinking beer? I don't know why, but it's not a place that I want to eat.

                    -The space is odd. The tables behind the bar (to the right when walking in) look cramped. But the front looks empty (the high ceiling?).

                    -Walked in at around 5:30 with a group of 7 one afternoon. Place was basicall empty (maybe a few seated @ bar). Still took the hostess 15 min to seat us.

                    Or it could be that the place is too large for me to feel comfortable.

                    For future reference, the places where we like to sit at the bar and enjoy a couple drinks and food are:

                    Rendezvous, Green Street, CBC, Hungry Mother, and Blue Room. We plan to expand our range to the new places in Kendall.

                    1. re: viperlush

                      The blue room is in the basement of my building but for some reason I have never thought to have drinks there. I am surprised by this now that I am thinking about it.

                      1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                        It's easy to overlook. The BF works in that building and we went there for drinks for the first time last week (also the first time for his co-worker who joined us). It was a little crowded, but it was probably because of a private party at the bar and a bunch of large parties at the tables. I think we will go back after the holidays. Ended up going to Think Tank for food that night.

                        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                          i'm with you. I've been drinking in and around there for nearly 15 years but I've never thought to try to drink (solely) *there*.

                          1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                            The Blue Room is terrific -- great food, great drinks, friendly atmosphere -- and an interesting wine list and by-the-glass program.

            2. monday night is 1.00 oyster night at Rialto featuring island creek oysters and a good wine list. Rialto does run out of osyters so it is good to start earlier rather than later

              1. What about stoddards? Can anyone recommend that. I hear very little about it.

                5 Replies
                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                  Stoddard's has upped their game to have a rather good cocktail program and a serious beer program. They jigger accurately, fine strain, use large format ice (they chip their own ice for Moscow Mules etc. and make large chunks for other drinks), and have a menu with historical drinks, some modern classics, and some house originals. Their food is good too although I usually go for drinks and their pretzel/veggie cheese dip plate. With the exception of the first time I went shortly after they opened, I have not had a bad drink there and their technique is on par with some of the bigger players in the game.


                  1. re: yarm

                    I went once when they first opened and really didn't like it. Found my way there again recently and was really impressed. They had a nice beer selection, including some interesting cask options and the drinks they made for me were pretty good (don't recall what I had exactly, but I bounced around a bit - I was being fickle that night!)

                    1. re: yarm

                      I'm wondering if Stoddard's has overcome the "one good bartender" problem I encountered over several visits last year, one that afflicts a lot of local programs with a good, seriously crafty bar manager but a shaky training program: namely, you only get a reliably good drink if the top man is in front of you.


                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        I have been served by 5 bartenders there ranging from the bar manager to the guy they bumped up from barback. And all of them seem to be up to the same level via training.

                    2. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                      I don't have nearly the sample size of Yarm, but can't say I've enjoyed the cocktails at Stoddard's either of the two times I've been there.

                      First time was over a year ago, got a Blood & Sand and a Seelbach. Both tasted bad, I suspect the crappy sparkling wine they used killed the Seelbach, may have been the same with the O.J. in the Blood & Sand.

                      Went again a few weeks ago, remembering reports that they had improved. I ordered a Jack Rose and again did not like it much. I'm wondering what kind of grenadine they used, as it is a fairly simple drink to make. Next, I decided to play it safe and ordered some whiskey on an ice ball. Took a good 10 minutes after ordering to get my drink despite being one of five people in the whole place. The first ice ball had to be discarded for some reason, which didn't help my opinion of the competence of the bartender.