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John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Active Beers: 170
Beer Ratings: 736
Beer Avg: 3.62
Taps: 8 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
33 Dunster Street
phone: (617) 868-3585
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Reviews by Freshie:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Went here after a comedy show at the Comedy Studio on a Saturday night. The place was booming but their was still enough space. A very nice young crowd. Situated nicely in Havard Square, in the basement of a large old building. Decor is great with wide spacious bar and dining areas, rich wood layouts, and staind glass windows. Very comfortable, old school atmosphere. I really dug it.
Only a handful of beer choices, of whatever they had tapped on that particular day, but the choices were varied in styles. A blonde ale, IPA, Stout, Pale Ale, and a barleywine I believe. We went with pale ale in a pitcher which I recall was about 15 bucks, but it filled 6 pint glasses. Not too shabby at all.
I only had some buffalo tenders which were good, and my friends had some burgers, but it all seemed very delcious, and reasonably priced.
Service was fast and slow at times. Our food arrived very quickly but refills on the pitcher were slow. But, given the demand of beer and such a high volume of patronage that night, it probably was fine.
I look forward to a return when I am not the DD, so as to try much more of their selection. It was a fun time.
06-26-2006 00:33:41 |
More by Freshie
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I've been to the JHBH in DC and wasn't very impressed, but the location right by mythic Harvard is a much better pub. Showed up right when they opened after touring (lurking about, actually) the campus and had a very nice stop. The bartender was chatty and informed, providing great conversation to go along with the samples.
The Demon DPA (Double Pale Ale) was the best--clean and hoppy with a resiny spine to hold it together. Very strong beer to compliment the rest of the line up, including one cask. Surprisingly, the Harvard Square Helles was my next favorite, in spite of not really being fan of the style. Very clean and balanced beer that I'm sure is popular with students, but nothing to shy away from as a beer geek. Always a good sign when a pub can do a light beer so clean. I didn't check out the eats in order to save room for a more vegetarian friendly restaurant later in the day. Overall, a surprisingly pleasant stop.
07-07-2011 20:27:23 |
More by FightingEntropy
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This was one of the first places I truly started to appreciate beer.
Not the extreme beer geek's place of choice but if you want solid offerings and great food then this is your place. The good thing about JH is that they're always brewing different beers for every season.
Lots of different types of styles but most of their beers are ABV less than 8%. Thats not a criteria for good beer, but it adds to the variety of the offerings. Good thing about low ABV is that all their beers are super sessionable!
The food is really really good. Their menu doesn't really change from year to year but the food is solid. Definitely not your average bar food, good and affordable.
Not close to Cambridge Brewing Co., but a solid place to stop in and have a few pints.
05-05-2011 20:22:47 |
More by beenitty
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$
I hadn't planned on stopping here but since I got bad directions to another place (thanks Google Maps! Morons), I decided to wander into Cambridge and discovered this place.
The atmosphere isn't quite what I like but its tolerable. A bit warm and dank smelling place with lots of drab wood (perhaps a bit of stain would go a long way in brightening it up?). The smell bugs me as it reminds me of the basement at my parents house.
Beer quality is decent. I liked the pale ale. Selection is limited but that's ok because some places have too many beers to choose from. Solid examples of tried and true styles are what they seem to do best (and that's hardly a bad thing in the age of extreme beer).
Bartender was quick to take my order as the waitress seemed distracted. Forgivable as long as they acknowledge my presence. They were quick at first, which shows that they care.
Talking about selection, the beer list isn't much but they seem to have a decent grub menu balanced with a few foodie items. I'm sick of burgers so I ordered a spent-grain pizza instead.
Speaking of which, pizza was delicious. Honest and tasty with spent grains. Price was good too, which is a plus. If I wasn't so sick of burgers, I would have gone with one instead. A pleasant surprise.
Value? Pint prices are slightly cheaper and ditto on the food. The beer isn't really a draw though and that hurts the appeal. Still, if you want a break from the hectic Boston grind, it'll do.
03-13-2011 01:10:51 |
More by Brad007
vibe: 2 | quality: 1.5 | service: 4 | selection: 1 | $$$
Stopped in for a quick one before a dinner reservation during my first visit to Boston. The place was dark and had a bit of a bad odor. They offer around six brews, but unfortunately, nothing for the IPA lover :( I had a pale ale and it was just okay. Kind of pricey too at $5 per pint. While their styles are pretty true to form, they are nothing special. I would not recommend this place to anyone who is a hop head because they have nothing to offer. I won't be back and would say to pass on this one.
11-08-2010 23:41:37 |
More by mymadeline99
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $
I had gotten dinner here with my dad and brother several years ago, but only recently returned on a Wednesday night. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the atmosphere, which embraces its location in a basement with no windows. The place is large, but successfully divided into different areas with plenty of intimate nooks to keep it all interesting. Overall, the feel is of an old tavern, which is cozy and warm. Unfortunately, the bar table area (not the bar itself) began to fill up with a somewhat rowdy crowd more befitting a college frat bar than a brewpub. This is more what I had expected, perhaps unfairly, and makes me weary of returning on a busier night.
The quality of the brews was solid without being amazing. I had the ESB on cask, which was good but a little empty feeling. The range of styles on tap gave a lot of options, which was nice. Overall, the beers were a bit cheaper than most pints nearby and were available as full or half pints, which I always appreciate.
Perhaps because of the growing crowd, the service wasn't great. Our server didn't seem very knowledgeable about the beers and took forever to come by to ask if we wanted another round (we did when we finished our first, but by then we had changed our minds). She dropped the check and we put cash out but were waiting for change. When she never returned, we simply left the appropriate tip (not stiffing by any means, but less than we would have if we had change).
Overall, I really enjoy the space here and the convenience of its location. The beers were appropriately priced for their quality, and I'd like to come back, but it probably won't be a priority.
09-28-2010 18:29:26 |
More by FrankLloydMike
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
I always liked this place when I was younger, this was pre beer Nirvana when I discovered what good beer was, but they always had a good selection, and the beer was pretty decent, not a bad atmosphere, food was ok, but a fun place to go with rotating beers being brewed. Service was ok, not the best. Usually easy to get a seat. I'd start with the sampler and then move on to whatever was tasting the best. Menu was changing alot as well, so it kept it interesting. Not the best beer in the world but serviceable for a brew pub.
06-12-2010 01:00:50 |
More by Pittsburgh
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I went here for lunch while visiting Harvard.
The atmosphere was ok, nothing special. It was basement like, very spacious and nice seats but pretty boring scene.
The beer was all brewed there but not a huge selection, maybe only 6-8, I did not see what other beers they had.
I had the sampler and got beers picked by the brewer. In general they were pretty good and arranged appropriatley.
The food was typical bar food, ok but nothing special. The bread they serve is oustanding and they have some really good fries.
The service was kind of lacking, the waitress was drab and not very beer knowledgeable.
02-22-2010 01:30:44 |
More by jrallen34
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Decent atmosphere down in Cambridge, with the whole subterranean-brewhouse thing going. Nothing to set it apart from most brewpubs. The food was good, beers were definitely unique and interesting but no greater than average. Wait staff was a little, um, douche-y, but they got the job done and were fairly prompt. There were several beers that seemed interesting, from a wide variety of styles, but I honestly wasn't blown away by any of the four that we tried, including a single-hop IPA from the cask and a one-off Houblon style Belgian IPA. Nice local joint to catch a brew and a game.
12-25-2009 03:09:48 |
More by BretSikkink
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
I've never reviewed John Harvards??
Wow. Well, my friends and I used to go here every monday night for beers....why Monday? Cuz Mondays suck and we wanted something to look forward to I guess.
We always went there with one purpose in mind....to drink pitchers of the Milk Stout they used to make, but unfortunately no longer do. It was a fantastic brew that will go down in our memories as sweet folklore. We were always served by the same waitress (Michelle), who treated us well and would give us free pitchers every now and then. What more can you ask?
The food is essentially pub fare, but done well. Hearty entres with a home-cooked feel are what they excel at.
These days, beer night with the guys is gone because we've moved a bit further from each other and most of us are married. I still visit every now and then (just did this past weekend) with fond memories of the place. The Milk Stout is no longer there, but they still brew up a solid batch of 6-7 brews. The boch is fantastic.
The 2nd-to-last time I was there, we saw a cockroach crawl in front of us at the bar. It was gross, and it dissapointed me to see one in my beloved brewhouse. But the bartender was apologetic and gave us a round for free. In hindsight I wasn't surprised to see one because the place is in a basement, and with the brewing going on right there...you see what I mean.
Anyway, I still recommend the place. It's an institution in the cambridge area with solid brews and solid food.
11-18-2009 01:49:57 |
More by jbertsch
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John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House in Cambridge, MA