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Taps: 31 / Bottles: 15
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1667 Massachusetts Ave
phone: (617) 547-1228
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 47 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $
Cambridge Common is rapidly becoming one of my favorite beer bars. Their prices cannot be beat in this age of price inflation. Yesterday I had pints of Hampshire Special Ale and Long Trail White for $4, and they were running a special for 2 Orlio beers for $3/pint. The beer list has something for everyone, both the beer geek and the beer newbie, and they do a tremendous job of supporting local craft beer.
I am not sure why Cambridge Common doesn't get more love. I suppose the food is nothing special (though certainly not bad), and the chilled pint glasses turn some people off. Nevertheless, they have surpassed Redbones as my favorite everyday beer bar.
06-04-2008 21:16:07 |
More by Afty
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Located between Porter Sq. and Harvard Sq. on Mass. Ave., it's closer to the later. The more I go to CC, the more I enjoy it. Not for the food or the beers, but because it's one of my local places that almost never dissapoints. They always tend to have at least one or two things on tap that are very interesting, a handful of interesting beers, and then a handful of the usual suspects. Quality of the beer is always top notch. Thirty plus taps and one cask gives one this luxury I presume. Large all dark wood U-shaped bar with tables and chairs on either side. In the summer they have an outdoor patio, which is really just picnic tables on the sidewalk. A couple of tv's hang in the bar area.
Food is your standard pub grub. You won't be finding anything out of the ordinary on the menu. I've never had anything truly excellent, but I've also never had anything terrible. I suppose that's the nature of pub food--it's just supposed to be plain 'ol good. Service is sometimes a bit slow, but I think that's due to the size of the place rather than the quality of the employees. They mostly tend to know their stuff.
Only grip I have is their insistence on serving beer in chilled pint glasses. That's a no no. They regularly keep their tap list up to date online, which is a plus as most places intend to update regularly, but almost always fall behind.
04-28-2008 20:31:41 |
More by bjohnson
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Nice bar/restaurant located between Harvard & Porter Square. Decent atmosphere with tables in each side of the room and a bar in the middle. TV's are scattered around the room and fit in nicely with the overall atmosphere. I have never had trouble with the service here and the food selection is good (sweet potato fries here are one of my favorite foods in all of Boston).
Now to the beer. There is always a number of good choices here with roughly 20 taps. Offerings typically from locals Smuttynose, Berkshire, Sam Adams, Long Trail and national beers Stone, Southern Tier, Bear Republic, Rogue among many others. They do well at getting in the new specialty beers and I've never been disappointed with the quality of a beer served here. A solid choice if you're in the area.
03-02-2008 19:20:27 |
More by bkett01
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$
Normal pub atmosphere here. The selection here is pretty good. Most of the seleciton leans towards regional beers like berkshire, ipswich, sam, southern tier, and magic hat. There is also always a cask available. I've only gotten drafts here, but as I remember there really werent that many bottles on the menu. The food here really isnt that great; small portions and not that tasty. Might be a bit of pain to get to though if youre taking public transportation. Also make sure you ask for a non chilled glass before you order your beer.
02-26-2008 20:46:04 |
More by ohmesohoppy
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Went to this place on a weeknight. Getting there was fairly easy even in the snow. Parking in the back was a nice plus.
I started in with a Belgian tripel (on tap) and my wife had a nice cask conditioned IPA. Both were served in proper glasses and correct temperature.
The food was good. Not great. I had the fish and chips. The chips were great but the fish was a bit soggy. The wait staff was very friendly and pretty good with drinks.
The only major complaint I had was the music in the background. It didn't seem to fit the client el of the joint. Alternative rock didn't fit the old people and families that were seated around me.
12-20-2007 16:00:03 |
More by jneiswender
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $
Stopped in here Saturday 9/08/07 for dinner with my wife. Got a booth seat at the back of the bar, but from our seats we couldn't see the TV (kinda wanted to watch the Sox game). Oh well. It's never a positive when your seat is sprinkled with the rice from the last customer's meal. The food was hit or miss here. My burger was dry, and my fries soggy. Conversely, my wife's burger tasted great and her curly fries were excellent. We both did agree the fried pickles appetizer was tasty. The beer selection here was also above average. There were a few good bottles, but the main draw was the draft list. Lots of local choices (Ipswich, BBC, Brooklyn, etc) and some good out of state choices (Boulder, Two Brothers, etc). The prices here were great though. I got a pint of Berkshire Oktoberfest for $3.80. Our bill was for 4 beers, one app, and two burgers and came to $40, so pretty nice. Service was decent, the guy helped us out, but he seemed to have a lot of tables and be in a hurry. Overall, it was a nice dinner and it was a fun new bar to try. I'd come back again, but there are plenty of other places to hit first...
09-10-2007 23:03:58 |
More by morebeergood
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Tucked in-between Porter and Harvard squares the Cambridge Common sees more locals and students that appreciate good food and a diverse selection of beer. They have beer hosting beers dinners which is a major plus in my book and they always seem to have something different on tap more times than others it is a local one from the North East or Mid-Atlantic. Berkshire, Lake Placid and etc.
A solid pub/bar feel. The service is on top of their game and the food aims more towards home cooking rather than the usual mundane pub grub seen everywhere around Boston. Bands play downstairs in the Lizard Lounge to further the entertainment.
06-05-2007 04:59:55 |
More by Jason
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
As luck would have it, a colleague was able to extend a last minute invitation to attend a business conference in Boston. I wasn't even able to get the suggestion of a road trip out of my mouth before my wife was loading the kids into the family truckster for one of our semi-annual excursions to our home away from home. On this particular trip we decided to plan a dinner with a group of friends that we had not seen in some time. A couple of them suggested the same location, so shortly after we arrived in town we headed down Mass Ave and over to Cambridge Common to catch up with everyone.
Now, first things first: for anyone driving to Cambridge Common a 15 minute buffer is highly suggested to find parking. While both metered and guest parking spots are abundant, they are often difficult to come by and more times than not you'll need to take a few "laps" in your car before one of these seemingly ever-elusive spots open up.
In terms of the restaurant itself, the décor and atmosphere are fairly typical for a Boston-area restaurant: simple and dimly lit with a darker wood bar and tables, and a semi-sophisticated crowd that blends lively, younger folks (who, given the restaurant's location on Mass Ave in between Harvard and Tufts, are mostly a mix of undergrads for those two schools) with professors and other scholarly types.
As the Cambridge Common is known primarily for its impressive beer selection, let's dive into the beer specifics: the tap range is somewhere in the neighborhood of two dozen, with another one to one and a half dozen bottles available. That said, probably half to sixty percent of those bottles are macro-brewed beers and of no concern to us. From the selection of "good stuff," I'd call the offerings abundant and solid, but there's a minimal "wow" factor in terms of super-rare beers. I was happy to see beers from breweries like Brooklyn, Magic Hat, Victory, Berkshire and more, but most of these offerings are what you'd expect to find at any good beer bar in Boston/Cambridge. There are one or two good finds on hand, such as Two Brothers Hop Juice from Illinois, but I was honestly hoping for a few more. Quality wise, the beer is in good shape and tasting quite fresh.
The food is typical pub fare for the most part but is surprisingly reasonable in price, and is quite good as well. I kept it simple with a cheeseburger and fries and was impressed by not only portion size but that it was actually cooked to order. Food offerings run the table from soups and appetizers to sandwiches and burgers to salads and seafood, so there's really something for just about everyone.
My only real complaint about Cambridge Common is the service. It just isn't there. I wouldn't call it bad or unpleasant, but rather slow and oblivious. Our party was to be nine people and we were the first to arrive, with our two year old and four year old in tow. We informed the host that we would be a party of nine; the staff arranged the tables to seat nine and then proceeded to tell us that at least half of our party was required to be there to be seated, meaning we needed one more person to hit pay dirt. All were en route but no one else was physically present, so we waited with two antsy children staring at our ready to be sat at table for 15 minutes. I understand this seating policy is in place at many restaurants, and for good reason, but when your establishment is not overly crowded and there are children involved, bend the rules a little. After asking a few times, I finally moved to more of a plea to sit as friends were now parking their car, and they obliged. Was that so hard? Once the entire group arrived, our waiter was attentive, but quite slow and a bit aloof. The service could easily have been far worse, but it also could have been much better.
Service aside, I liked this place overall. I'd go back but would definitely put it 'B' level in terms of places to visit if you're in town. My suggestion would be to make sure you hit the must-visit establishments like Cambridge Brewing Company and Sunset Grille & Tap (yes, any of you that know me or have read previous reviews of mine know that I have not had the highest opinion of Sunset, but Marc Kadish has really turned this place around quite a bit in the past few years and the beer selection is really nothing short of amazing), and then try to swing by Cambridge Common if time permits. That said, I'll certainly be back.
04-15-2007 01:33:12 |
More by guinness33
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
With two friends living within stumbling distance, I've probably been to the Cambridge Common 30 to 40 times over the last eight or so years. I'm usually reasonably content with the tap selection (24 taps), reasonably pleased with the food, and completely blown away by the consistently abysmal service.
It's about a ten minute walk up Mass Ave from Harvard Square on the Red Line.
It's a relatively large place, with seating for 20 or more around a horseshoe shaped bar, 6 or 8 booths in the big windows, and a dozen or more tables. It gets busy at night, and has a surprisingly crazy lunch rush of local workers (mostly drinking garbage out of bottles), and the random locals, business lunchers, and Harvard folks who filter in. (I should note that I've never been to the Lizard Lounge side.)
The tap list has a bunch of standards that most local beers bars and stores have, with a few fun surprises now and then. I had Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale, for example. That said, out of 24 taps, a dozen or more are completely uninteresting, and another half dozen pretty predictable for the Boston area beer scene. The rock-solid-ice cold glasses suck, and I consistently forget to ask for a room temp glass, and often get a cold to nasty response when I do remember to politely ask for a non-iced glass (see service notes below.)
The food is solid, and pretty darn reasonably priced (as is the beer.) It's pretty standard pub/restaurant food, with a heavy emphasis on deep, deep fried food. Stress the 'deep' in that sentence. It definitely caters to drinkers (and others) with the munchies. Lots of tasty things like deep fried pickles with a spicy aioli, and ranch dressing.
The service: wow, it SUCKS. Almost every time I've ever been in. Throughout the meal, or drinking. Lunch, mid-day, dinner, night, busy, slow, it doesn't matter: 90% of the employees just don't give a shit, and there are no shining stars in the remainder. The bar is usually a little better, but only relatively so. This is a place to come when you know what you want, and have time to wait for it. The bar is usually decent about giving out a couple of samples, but god help you if you ask for anything else out of the ordinary when it's busy. When they mess something up on your food (which is common) or beer (which is less common, but still happens with disturbing regularity) they just hand you the replacement, and often look at you like it was your fault. When they fail to bring something, but charge you for it anyway, they look at you like you're trying to scam them. (For the record, I'm not going to try to cheat a restaurant for $0.60 worth of guacamole.) Did I mention the service SUCKS?
I don't know: for a place with a reasonably solid beer list, you'd think they'd try to create a culture that made people want to come back. As it is, I only bother when other Cambridge options are tired (we've been multiple times recently), closed, or too far to drag ourselves to late at night.
11-13-2006 05:18:04 |
More by warmstorage
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
This is one of our favorite spots to meet up with friends. Good food, great beer selection, and its pretty easy for everyone to get to (just allocate 20+ min to find parking). Seating has usually been pretty easy, and they can accommodate larger groups of people well.
However, the last couple times weve been there the service has been disappointing. Its been very slow and weve never maintained the same waiter/waitress throughout the course of a meal. Needless to say, wed find ourselves having to repeat orders, go to the bar for beers, and spend more time than necessary waiting.
Well be back for all its pros, but not unless weve had some snacks and are in no rush whatsoever.
09-20-2006 14:08:22 |
More by msolar
Cambridge Common in Cambridge, MA
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