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I <heart> Lord Hobo

So it's been almost three years since Lord Hobo opened, and for a variety of reasons -- including less than stellar reviews here and an early chef change -- I never got around to trying it. Until now. And now I can't get enough!

It started a few weeks ago when I walked over for a beer. I guess I hadn't paid attention to how good their beer list -- both draught and bottles -- is, but the beer menu was the first thing to suck me in. I sat at the bar and thoroughly enjoyed a St Bernardus, as well as the great vibe. I have now been back four times in the last few weeks, and am working my way through both the beer and the food menu.

Of the beers, I have always loved Sinebrychoff, a Porter from Finland, and was excited to see it on the Lord Hobo menu. The Stone 16th Anniversary Ale was not a winner, but the Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale was, as was the Achel Trappist Extra (albeit at $30 for a 25.4 oz bottle).

The food has been consistently solid: fried chicken on biscuits (two with fries for a ridiculously cheap $10 on Monday night biscuit night), a very good burger, pan roasted duck breast (a special last week), and a veggie burger. They also offer a simple salad with chevre -- a fairly large serving, very nicely dressed, for only $6 -- that I have enjoyed. I'll continue to pay $30 for premium beers like the Achel when the food is this cheap, and solidly good.

For those of you who haven't tried Lord Hobo, or for those who haven't been in a while, I strongly encourage a visit!

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  1. FWIW - I thought the 16th anniversary Ale was one of the best beers of the year. So good I bought a case, which I rarely do given all the great craft beers out there. A matter of taste, I guess.

    1. Been a few times on Saturday afternoons this summer - really nice beer menu when they aren't doing some theme or tap takeover - always something hoppy on tap that I want to drink.

      Had a couple pints of Port Summer Ale on Saturday which was nicely hoppy and quite drinkable.

      Kind of dissapointed that some lagers come in pint glasses while others are in mugs. Asked for Victory Braumiester pils to be poured in a mug instead of a pint glass and bartender refused since he didn't have a 16 oz. mug - guess the .9 extra ozs. the .5 liter mugs they have was just too hard to figure out how to charge for it?

      1. Monday night biscuit night? Tell me more... I couldn't find anything about it on their website. Thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: gltsoi

          I've been on the last two Monday nights, and both nights they've offered a choice of fried chicken or pulled pork on biscuits. Two sandwiches and a generous portion of fries for $10!

        2. Well, it's been a good run. I've been back to Lord Hobo numerous times since I started this thread, and initially was quite enamored with the place. Unfortunately all of that has changed, as the quality of the food has steadily diminished over time, and I now am giving up on the place. My search continues.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Blumie

            The food has gone up and down in waves over the years. The selection and condition of the beer, however, has never wavered. I use it as a beer destination, with the food as a convenience if needed.

            1. re: jajjguy

              I hear you about the beer. But while it's hard to match the beer selection, I find that I can get much better food and an acceptable beer selection elsewhere. Russell House is an example, where the food is much, much better and I always can find an interesting beer that I like (although I do prefer a divier ambiance than Russell House).

            2. re: Blumie

              My experience with Lord Hobo is similar: Love the beer selection, but the food quality has just been up and down ever since the place opened. I live in the general neighborhood, so I wind up there about once a month for a beer or two, but the times when I eat there are rare -- probably only about 2-3 times a year. I had too many misses in the first 2 years, so I'm gun shy. Have had good experiences with the burger... but burgers are hard to screw up.

              I know they have a very tiny kitchen space and at first that makes me want to forgive some of the lack of quality on certain items. But then I realize that Deep Ellum puts out some pretty fantastic food in a similarly tiny kitchen (and also maintains a great beer & cocktail selection).

              1. re: huuvola

                Maybe it's time for me to cross the river.

                1. re: Blumie

                  Deep Ellum is very much worth the trip.

                  1. re: jajjguy

                    I've been to Lord Hobo quite a bit. I agree that it can be hit or miss, but I think the highs are higher than the Deep Ellum average, if that makes sense. Also much more convenient for me, so I'm not crossing the river on a regular basis. :)

                    West Bridge and Abigail's are not bad nearby alternatives with kitchens open late, or Green Street.

            3. I put it in the same realm as Publick House. Great beer served with indifferent hospitality; not sure I have seen any of the bartenders there show an excitement towards a beer or towards a guest that wasn't their friend. As opposed to Deep Ellum where the service is generally more warm and the beer just as good.

              3 Replies
              1. re: yarm

                Eh, take my order in a timely manner, put the beer in front of me without a 2 inch head *cough*deepellumbukowskis*cough* and I'm happy.

                My only complaints about LH is that sometimes they charge top dollar for beer that isn't in that great shape, and when its busy, the glasses don't get rinsed properly and reek of whatever cleaning product they use which just ruins the beer.

                1. re: LStaff

                  I've never had that glassware issue. That would be a problem for me. But I try to avoid busy times.

                  The service for me has been fine, certainly not nearly as bad as Publick House, which is sadly on my No list, but I do agree that Deep Ellum does a very nice job with service.

                  1. re: LStaff

                    yikers (you have sent it back, yes?) that's as bad as servers spraying ammonia products to wipe down tables next to you while you're eating.....

                2. The food does swing wildly depending on who is in the kithcen. We've had the waffles on the brunch menu twice. The first time, they were absolutely. The second time was a total disaster.

                  That said, I have to disagree on comments about indifferent service. Yes, there are a couple bad servers but as a whole I find them to be a really friendly bunch.

                  1. obligatory "what an offensive name" comment.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: enhF94

                      Coupled with an obligatory "how dare they reside in the old B-Side location" comment.

                      http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com

                      1. re: yarm

                        Who stole - stole! - it from Windsor cafe? ;)

                    2. Tried to go to Deep Ellum tonight, but parking was far more difficult than I anticipated. I didn't have a lot of time to drive around looking for a spot, so I doubled back to Cambridge and went to River Gods (my fist time notwithstanding five years in Cambridge). I liked the food very much. The beer selection could use improvement (although I was pleased with the Leffe Brun on tap).

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Blumie

                        River Gods is the best. I love the church pews.

                        In case you try again - there's a load of parking behind the Walgreens near Deep Ellum. It looks a little sketchy, but those streets are great for parking.

                        1. re: gini

                          Thanks for the tip. Sketchy doesn't bother me!

                          1. re: gini

                            Beware of Walgreen's parking & make sure you read the parking limit signs or else you'll be towed at considerable expense. Think tow yard may have cameras on this lot.

                            1. re: Taralli

                              I read Gini to be recommending the streets behind the Walgreens, not the Walgreens lot.

                          2. re: Blumie

                            I like River Gods more for the eclectic look and entertainment than the food and drinks, which are good but not all that exciting. I think Atwood's has a similar place in the Cambridge bar firmament.

                            1. re: CportJ

                              Atwoods has a terrific beer list. Probably a step behid Hobo, but still very solid.

                              1. re: mkfisher

                                Absolutely a step (or two) behind Hobo but better than most.

                                Although with most normal spots upping their game, the distance Atwoods has on the pack has been closing, IMO.

                          3. Just read about State Park, from the Hungry Mother team, opening this week in the old Think Tank space. Haven't seen a menu or beer list yet, but I'm hopeful that this could be a new go-to place in the area.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Blumie

                              Eh, their beer list doesn't compare with Lord Hobo. And the wine list is tiny. But the space is more comfortable than Lord Hobo. Being that they just opened tonight, I don't feel comfortable critiquing the food menu.

                              River Gods ( for the burger) Green Street (especially taco night), the bar at Rendezvous ( Monday tapas), Friendly Toast ( nachos or onion rings), and the bar at Hungry Mother (when they have the ham biscuits) are our go to places in the Kendall/ Central area.

                              1. re: viperlush

                                Pretty sure that Green Street's taco night is, unfortunately, a thing of the past.

                                1. re: Blumie

                                  Well that sucks. Last time we went was a couple months ago and we have trying to get back over ever since.

                                  1. re: Blumie

                                    This couldn't possibly be more anecdotal but a regular at a bar i frequent typically left for a bit on Wednesdays for taco night, and now at you mention this I don't recall him doing that lately

                                2. re: Blumie

                                  I think they had 4 beers on tap. Can't remember which ones, other than the Harpoon Stout that I had. A bunch of lawnmower/hipster beers, many in cans, some paired with shots, a High Life with rye and amaro called the State Park Cocktail, maybe a dozen or so imported bottles, and some good cocktails.

                                  The menu has lots of fried food, some pickled items, some BBQ. Basically what you would expect for Hungry Mother's downscale Southern cousin.

                                  More importantly, shuffleboard! Also 2 pinball machines and pool. Works with the 70s basement rec room decor -- wood paneling, taxidermy, lots of nice old beer signs and lights, booths and bar stools from the old Paddock in Somerville.

                                  1. re: CportJ

                                    Here is the online menu. Prices are slightly different than actual one, but the items on it are them same. They just need to add those ham biscuits from Hungry Mother on the menu and I will happily return.

                                    http://www.stateparkcambridge.com/ima...

                                    1. re: CportJ

                                      The beer selection looks pretty good to me. Not Lord Hobo good, but still plenty of good options. And the food menu has me salivating, especially because I expect it to be light years ahead of Lord Hobo.

                                  2. How's the food at Plough & Stars?