by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
Nightlife stalwart Central Square has a most wonderful knack of quaffing any possible thirst. Whether you prefer a 1989 Cotes de Francs Bordeaux, a gorgeously frothed pisco sour, or a microbrewed IPA on tap, these precious blocks of Cambridge deliver. Read on for a quick rundown of 10 wonderful bars--there's plenty more, mind you--but it's your fun task to scour them all. Go on, crawl like you mean it.
(Photo: Middlesex by Jose Cuadra)
Updated: October 01, 2009
IN FIVE WORDS: precise, upstanding, experienced, handsome, eye-opening. EXPECT: an unfussily elegant and well-stocked bar with old-school know-how and an approachable professionalism. TRY THIS: the ponderous St. Pierre (a cocktail with housemade rose vermouth and Niesson rum) or a glass of heady, aged Riesling.
IN FIVE WORDS: warm, eager, relaxing, local, comforting. EXPECT: cozy and charming feel in a quintessential Italian-tinged bakery and cafe. TRY THIS: red or white sangria, based on Spanish Rioja and bursting with fruit, which goes well with the nightly live music.
IN FIVE WORDS: chill, Bohemian, trendy, small-capacity, velvety. EXPECT: an intimate, second-story lounge with Oriental rugs, luxuriously low seats for perching and a petite dance floor. TRY THIS: "God in Small Pieces," a spin on a pomegranate margarita, a bottle of Red Stripe or, hell, some single-malt scotch.
IN FIVE WORDS: reliable, welcoming, boisterous, social, encouraging. EXPECT: locals and industry players thronging a wood-heavy bar with many-a-slung cocktails. TRY THIS: the Daisy Black, an homage to proprietor Dylan Black's great-great grandfather (Old Overholt rye, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup), or an ice-cold bottle of Miller High Life.
IN FIVE WORDS: sensual, trendy, minimalist, intimate, hipster. EXPECT: a vibe embodied in come-hither eyes across the bumping dance floor thanks to DJ'd tunes. TRY THIS: the tangy, tequila-based Double 'O' Siete or a bottle of Hitachino Red Rice Ale.
IN FIVE WORDS: farm-fresh, spunky, earnest, straightforward, down-to-earth. EXPECT: an instantly homey spot festooned with herb plants and a cozy bar that befits the diminutive, we're-all-friends-here, market-driven restaurant. TRY THIS: a smooth Sazerac or a bottle of Montepulciano for the table.
IN FIVE WORDS: loud, low-frills, sports-friendly, modern, straightforward. EXPECT: austere, chic-geek space with a laboratory-tabled bar, open-grill kitchen and periodic-table chalkboard menu. TRY THIS: a pitcher of Victory HopDevil or two fingers of whiskey to down the killer burgers.
IN FIVE WORDS: elegant, seasonal, neighborhood, rustic, natural. EXPECT: romantic yet casual nook, with a handsome bar playing cult-classic cinema on the TV. TRY THIS: the Boutonniere (apple brandy. French vermouth, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur) or a glass of Muscadet.
IN FIVE WORDS: sensual, tasteful, leisurely, sharp, sophisticated. EXPECT: a dim, casually romantic bistro with refined turns on European comfort food and efficient bar. TRY THIS: a glass of sparkling rose cava or a local beer from Cambridge Brewing Company.