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Taps: 31 / Bottles: 15
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1667 Massachusetts Ave
phone: (617) 547-1228
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 47 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 1.5 | $$
I have to start with the food, because this is the real disaster for me. Stopped in for a few beers last night, and wound up ordering a burger as well, despite mediocre past experiences with CC and their other place in Porter, Christophers. My burger arrived thin, gray and very dry. The patty was utterly devoid of any beef flavor, juice or fat. it was totally overwhelmed by a too-large, dry, slightly stale and cool bun. The burger had all the taste and appeal of a high-school cafeteria lunch. The cheese was the wrong variety (requested American, got cheddar), the rabbit food (lettuce/tomato/onion) fairly pallid. The only saving graces were decent homemade pickle slices and food service-grade curly fries that were competently fried.
The beer selection varies from solid to very good, depending on the rotating taps. The atmosphere is lacking -- very generic decor. The service, at least at the bar, was very uneven. One of the three bartenders was lovely and attentive, while I had to aggressively wave down the other two when I wanted something.
03-05-2010 12:24:07 |
More by celeriac
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2
24 taps, with an unimpressive selection among them and nowhere near enough rotation. Smoky as hell. Uninspired food. Put it this way: I live next door to this place (literally) and I never go there. I don't recommend it.
09-08-2002 12:17:42 |
More by doerickson
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: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
The Friday before the 05HeadThrowDown was spent lazing around. Fellow BA and Host Carmen decided that a trip to Cambridge Common was in order, and after we had a short trip to check out her College application, we then grabbed a #66 Bus from close by the Penguin Pizza and headed out on what can only be described as an interesting Bus ride. Aside from the collection of male perverts brazenly & suggestively hassling women at the back of the Bus, oh and the fact that Carmen and I were both molested by a Blind Man before we moved seats, only for the Blind Man to follow me and feel me up again [Ha! take that Carmen!!], we eventually found ourselves in Harvard Square. Once we were off the Bus, it was a reasonable 10 minute walk to the Cambridge Common past people wearing ill-fitting hair pieces.
It was a super hot day and the dark frontage of the CC looked incredibly appealing. Thankfully the dark interior offered some respite from the searing heat outside. We were greeted by a young lady who asked if we wanted to sit at the Bar or take Booth, we opted for the latter, which on reflection was probably a mistake. It was quiet so the CC looked probably bigger than it actually is. Lots of dark woods everywhere, the bar area is a centrally located square island refuge affair which sports around two dozen taps. Either side of this and at the front there are tables & chairs. The front tables are well lit and offer excellent views of the outside world as it passes by the large front windows. To the sides, the seats and tables are in a darker area with booths against the walls on the right hand side; this is where we decided to sit. At the back, the toilets and entrance to the downstairs Lizard Lounge are to be found.
Tap range is around 20 or so, a mix of macros and some popular local brews, punctuated with around 6 interesting (seemingly changing) guest beers, most of which will be listed on the chalkboard at the bar, or as during my visit, also on a separately printed menu included within the Main Menus that we were handed.
I sampled the Victory Whirlwind Wit to start with, which was excellent, damn tasty and very fresh. My second brew was less appealing, McNeills Ducks Breath Bitter was a tad lifeless and boring. No sight of the frozen glasses everyone else seems to speak of. Maybe we got lucky.
Food range is a line-up of the usual suspects, the Menu is pitched at the tried & tested Pub Grub crowd it seems with a few notable exceptions like the excellent fried pickles Carmen decided to get to accompany out first brew. I opted for the spicy Burger, it came with the option of either straight or curly fries, or coleslaw if you care for your figure, like you would if ordering a Burger!! Quality was great, admittedly after our super long wait for beer and food I was ravenous, but even so the Burger and Straight Fries were great.
Well, I left the best of the worst until last. The real downer during my visit here was the Service. Ill pull no punches here it sucked BIG STYLE!!! From being seated we appeared to wait a good 5-10 minutes before anyone even looked at us. One of the younger servers was passing nearby by and I hassled her [in a friendly way] about being thirsty mistakenly thinking that she was going to take our Order. No such luck, but to be fair she got us some water and put in our Order for the beer at the Bat at least. She told us that she was not our Server and would get things moving for us. Seemed like another 5 minutes went by before we got our beer & that was only after I visually motioned her. Then the ultimate annoyance, the woman that decided to eventually come & serve us had actually been tending the Booth next to us and had seemingly just ignored us earlier on. WTF?? It got no better once we ordered our food and Carmens friend Mitsy joined us. Our make-us-wait-ress returned with our food and promptly ignored Mitsy, never even asking if she wanted a beer. In short we had the Worlds slowest and couldnt care less Server. Subsequent beers were impossible as our Server sat at the bar chatting most of the time. Sorry but the Service mark here is a well deserved 1.5, the only tip I left was for the Management to get new servers. The shitty Service really spoilt an otherwise rather nice relaxing lazy Friday afternoon. Shame.
If I am in the area I would come again, but maybe sit at the Bar next time, oh and maybe I would get the T here next time too. Worth a visit, but it is one of those places that, at least on first impressions, is a not bad but could try harder, almost good but could be great sort of places. Not Good Not Bad - but at the moment it has potential to go either way I feel.
Massive Thanks to Carmen for the stellar company and many laughs on the ride out to here, and to her friend Mitsy for the ride home, much appreciated.
Last Visit: Friday 22nd July, 2005
08-05-2005 04:19:55 |
More by TheLongBeachBum
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
cambridge common is one of my favorite spots for lunch and a beer when i'm in town during the weekend. the ambience is just left of center and has a slight pub feel with booths and tables surrounding the bar. the room is dark, and most of the available light comes from the large windows out front.
the common's menu is best described as unabashedly cool comfort food, with the menu offering selections like sweet potato chips, fried pickles, and meatloaf. at my last visit i had a delicious 'english burger' cooked in ale, and served with cheddar cheese and bacon on an english muffin.
the tap selection is impressive, and it's obvious the proprietors are trying hard to create a destination where people are looking for something beyond the obvious choices. i had adequately poured pints of dogfish head 60 min ipa and long trail ale. one quibble with the place is their omnipresent frosty pint glasses, unfourtunately for me, i was too distracted by the cute waitress to demonstrate my beer snobbery... i just warmed the beer up with my hands for a while.
this is the kind of place that's hip enough to bring your friends before a show or game and nice enough to take your visiting parents to brunch on a sunday.
edit: after a recent visit to the common with my girlfriend on a lazy weekday afternoon, the waiter was inattentive, rude, and more concerned with hanging out with his coworkers at the bar than actually serving the customers, so much so that i had no problem giving him the minimum 10 percent gratuity for actually bringing us the food from the kitchen. this is by no means an isolated incident... the quality of service has been seriously deteriorating over the last couple of years.
04-09-2006 13:06:31 |
More by chrisfoll577
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5
Thought the tapped beer selection was decent with more ales than lagers. Their tap system is good for lagers but much too cold for the ales. Also bartenders that were there when I went didn't seem to know how to pour a beer. They would set the glass down on the grate and open the tap letting it splash. Then they would dump the foam and top it off.
The atmosophere is pretty cool since it is a big square bar in the middle of the room and has a wall of windows that lets in plenty of light in the afternoon.
06-26-2002 09:25:13 |
More by Longstaff
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: 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
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: 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
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Cambridge Common in Cambridge, MA
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