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Where to meet for drinks & light fare near Needham Center?

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We're meeting some friends early Saturday evening before an event. We'll be in the vicinity of Needham Center. Haven't been there in many years, so I'm hoping that the wise Chowhounders might be able to suggest a spot for a drink and perhaps a light meal. There will be six adults in our group. Any thoughts?

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  1. There aren't that many places in needham ctr that serve alcohol.. Mantra, Not Your Average Jo...a Japaneese place, Petite Robert (not quite needham ctr) Sweet Basil was BYOB (not sure if it still is or if they got a license) If Tu Y Yo is still open, they have a small but nice bar...

    The Stonehearth (upscale pizza) also has beer and wine..

    if i had to choose, I'd got to Sweet basil (BYOB) or Tu Y Yo .... Needham is better for food, and less so on the drinks (Many needhamites drink at home, since someone 300+ years ago made this a dry town!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheesehead in recovery

      Thanks so much for these tips! If you can picture it, years ago when I lived in Needham there would have been much less in the way of restaurant options (probably because of the dry town legacy).

    2. At the risk of getting boo'd out of the park, Not Your Average Joe's has a full liquor license and their new menu of appetizers isn't bad. Also, Rice Barn, around the corner on Great Plain has a full license and some wonderful nibbles... as does Masala Art across the common from Town Hall.

      1. I've had a few good meals at Center Cafe, but I can't recall if they have a bar. Rice Barn is good and Petit Robert is a solid choice, though it was recently sold to a new owner, and I have no idea if anything has changed as a result. I'm not a huge fan of Sweet Basil, particular with 6 on a Saturday and with an event to go to. I seem to remember service being on the slower side.

        Blue on Highland down in Needham Heights has a large, upbeat bar. The last meal I had there was unimpressive, but if you are just doing drink and apps/salads it might be a good choice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: reallyred

          I second the Center Cafe. They do have a bar but with only about 4 seats.

        2. Thanks to all for your thoughtful recommendations!

          Wanted to report back about what we decided to do. We went with Tu Y Yo, which sounded appealing to the group. I was able to reserve a table. (I knew our party would end up spending as much on a variety of apps and drinks as we would have on mains.). The staff could not have been more accommodating. We enjoyed guacamole freshly prepared table side, crepas de camaron, the tamale plate, stuffed jalapeƱos Maria Luisa, and tried every one of their quesadillas (these are turnovers rather than the standard-issue tortilla filled with melted cheese.) A perfect choice for the evening.