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Urgent: Inexpensive bar, with food, near Kenmore

cjd260 Dec 21, 2011 03:32 PM

This may fall into the "blindingly obvious" category, or maybe into the "not a chance" category - I haven't been in Boston long enough to know. I'm meeting a few friends for drinks in a couple hours, would like it to be near Kenmore for everyone's mutual convenience (including public transportation), and will need food for myself. Unfortunately, for the group's benefit, we need to keep prices down, which means my usual haunts (Island Creek and Citizen Pub) are off-limits.

A dive bar would be fine, as long as I can get halfway OK food. I would be OK with touristy if not terrible. But, while I've never been, I'm not optimistic that the Lansdowne area bars aren't terrible.

Anyone have any advice? I realize that this is kind of the Boston-area equivalent of "I'm looking for a bar near Times Square," but am hoping that the options are better.


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  1. t
    teezeetoo RE: cjd260 Dec 21, 2011 03:43 PM

    Crossroads, Beacon and Mass Ave, perfectly fine for burgers and beer. More upscale, Audubon on Beacon going toward St. Mary's.

    1. l
      LeoLioness RE: cjd260 Dec 21, 2011 03:50 PM

      Lower Depths?

      1. MC Slim JB RE: cjd260 Dec 21, 2011 03:50 PM

        A few ideas:

        Aububon Circle, a ten-minute walk down Beacon Street toward Brookline. Way above average bar food and very good drinks, reasonable prices.

        Bleacher Bar, set inside the Green Monster. Surprisingly okay food for a Lyons Group joint, decent sliders and roast beef on weck sandwich.

        Lower Depths, right in the Square. Kind of a starving-student kind of joint (think $2 foot-long dogs), but adequate, and the prices are fair. A very good beer bar.

        Cornwall's, right in Kenmore Square. So-so pub fare in an allegedly British style but the beer's okay.

        La Verdad, far end of Lansdowne. Expensive for a taqueria, but quality Mexican-ish food. Good tequila selection.

        Tasty Burger, across from The Citizen. This is basically quality fast-food burgers etc., but they have a full license and make good drinks.

        Crossroads, a ten-minute walk down Beacon St toward Back Bay. A neighborhood kinda-Irish place, cheap pitchers and passable pub fare, quite reasonable.


        5 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          nsenada RE: MC Slim JB Dec 21, 2011 08:55 PM

          I love the various poutine-tot items they have at Lower Depths. Tasty Burger is great, too, and have sausage gravy that one can douse one's fries with.

          1. re: MC Slim JB
            Berheenia RE: MC Slim JB Dec 22, 2011 03:47 AM

            We were in Tasty Burger a week or 2 ago and could swear it is beer and wine only. I read the planned sister restaurant in Davis Square will be full bar, Somerville fathers permitting.

            1. re: Berheenia
              MC Slim JB RE: Berheenia Dec 22, 2011 07:32 AM

              You are correct: Tasty Burger Fenway does beer & wine only, plus some nice NA slushies, floats and rickeys. Draft pitchers, too.


            2. re: MC Slim JB
              jgg13 RE: MC Slim JB Dec 22, 2011 01:40 PM

              I'd have trouble calling Lower Depths an inexpensive bar - their beer prices are insultingly high, and I'm usually not one to complain about such things.

              1. re: jgg13
                David_A RE: jgg13 Dec 27, 2011 11:26 AM

                I have to second this reply. I hate anything owned by the Bukowski folks.

            3. Berheenia RE: cjd260 Dec 22, 2011 03:42 AM

              O'Leary's at 1010 Beacon (St Mary's T Stop C line) is a ten minute walk or 1 T stop from Kenmore. A true neighborhood gem.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Berheenia
                C. Hamster RE: Berheenia Dec 22, 2011 05:20 AM

                Better yet if you are walking or going in one more stop is The Pour House on Boylston

              2. p
                pemma RE: cjd260 Dec 22, 2011 06:01 AM

                Bukowsky's on Dalton St. is in the general area. Can't necessarily vouch for the food as I only ate there once fairly recently and I have no strong memory good or bad. Large selection of beer, though.

                15 Replies
                1. re: pemma
                  MC Slim JB RE: pemma Dec 22, 2011 07:34 AM

                  Buwkowski has the same ownership as Lower Depths, and a similar approach to food: it's cheap, not remarkable, but not gross, either, and the beer list is impressive.


                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    yarm RE: MC Slim JB Dec 22, 2011 07:46 AM

                    I wonder if the food at that Bukowski's is still decent. The one in Inman Square has been going down hill both in quality and portion size. We have ceased to go there.

                    I second Tasty Burger - a burger and a beer can cost under $10. It's not outstanding but rather good for the price.

                    1. re: yarm
                      C. Hamster RE: yarm Dec 22, 2011 12:09 PM

                      A bit of a walk from Kenmore, though.

                      1. re: C. Hamster
                        yarm RE: C. Hamster Dec 22, 2011 12:39 PM

                        Half mile, 7-8 minute walk, yes. Considering Cjd260 mentioned the Citizen which is a full 40 yards further away, I figured it was within the range.

                        1. re: yarm
                          marais RE: yarm Dec 22, 2011 03:08 PM

                          Bukowski is okay for a burger, not a luxe burger like you can get elsewhere in Back Bay/Kenmore but perfectly acceptable, especially my fave the Reuburger. And the steak bomb topped with the White Trash Cheese Dip is pretty good with a beer. But no doubt about it, the beer trumps the food pints down.
                          I've not been after midnight, but at that time menu items go half price till close.

                          1. re: marais
                            jgg13 RE: marais Dec 22, 2011 03:17 PM

                            I like that steak bomb for what it is - I think it's called the redneck steak & cheese or something like that these days, used to be the white trash steak & cheese. It disappeared from the menu for a long time.

                            I can't imagine ever going to Bukowskis for the food, but I don't mind eating there if I'm there for other reasons.

                          2. re: yarm
                            C. Hamster RE: yarm Dec 23, 2011 06:40 AM

                            Tasty burger is way more than a 7 minute walk from Kenmore Sq.

                            Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good suggestion but if someone takes you up on it they should know the truth.

                            1. re: C. Hamster
                              MC Slim JB RE: C. Hamster Dec 23, 2011 07:40 AM

                              Depends on your starting point, but let's say you're at ESK. If the Sox are not playing that day, you can walk down Yawkey Way to get to Tasty Burger, and it's only 0.4 miles, an easy 8-10 minute walk. With the Sox in town, Yawkey Way gets closed down, to say nothing of pedestrian mobs in the way, so it's rather longer then.


                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                C. Hamster RE: MC Slim JB Dec 23, 2011 09:45 PM

                                Ok if you are at ESK you need 3 min to walk up brookline ave to get to Yawkey way.

                                Then it's at least a 8-10 min (or more) walk unless you are trAining for the Marathon.

                                BTW, I ate lunch there today and it was awesome!!

                                1. re: C. Hamster
                                  yarm RE: C. Hamster Dec 23, 2011 09:52 PM

                                  13 minutes to walk a 1/2 mile = marathon training indeed.

                              2. re: C. Hamster
                                yarm RE: C. Hamster Dec 23, 2011 07:46 AM

                                I forget that there are people who do not or cannot walk 15 minute miles (or do not or cannot walk a half mile). Googlemaps lists it a 0.5 miles and 9 minutes and they use the route I take. If you walk a 20 minute mile, make that 10 and sue me for those extra 2 minutes, and if it takes you longer than that, grab a cab.

                                1. re: yarm
                                  MC Slim JB RE: yarm Dec 23, 2011 08:20 AM

                                  I think most people walk a 20-minute mile, and if you're faster, you still have to contend with urban obstacles like traffic lights. (I'd also say, don't encourage people who can't walk a 20-minute mile to take a cab!)

                                  I think some people avoid longer walks because of other issues, like Grandpa's bum hip or the ladies' high heels (South End cobbled sidewalks are murder on those).

                                  (This is still a food site, right?)


                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                    tysonmcneely RE: MC Slim JB Dec 23, 2011 01:19 PM

                                    Come for the food, stay for the discussion on walking speeds!

                                    1. re: tysonmcneely
                                      iloveporkbelly RE: tysonmcneely Dec 23, 2011 06:41 PM

                                      Go to Cornwalls and get an onion loaf! Actually the food is somewhat passable. Good beer selections and friendly staff. Also one of the favorite haunts of a lot of heavy drinking Boston Chefs.

                                2. re: C. Hamster
                                  yarm RE: C. Hamster Feb 19, 2012 07:19 PM

                                  Did the experiment tonight. My wife and I made it walking from the Eastern Standard to Citizen (across the street from Tasty Burger, we had to wait for the light) in just shy of 6.5 minutes (and 6 minutes from the banks at the corner). We were not running, jogging, or in marathon training, but walking a little slower than a 15 minute mile. At a 20 minute mile (average walking speed for a female), it would an 8 minute walk to Tasty Burger (0.4 miles) from the banks.

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