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Taps: 33 / Bottles: 134
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1281 Cambridge Street
phone: (617) 497-7077
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Reviews by the
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$$
The second Bukowski's ... same format, same attitude, same prices, same dedication to beer, same food menu and pretty much the same beer menu, but with more on-tap; roughly 16 and cask when they have it (call ahead), and well-over a hundred in the bottle, ranging from rare to imports to local to swill. Prices can run high; $5.25 for a premium craft beer to $6-$9 for a Belgian in the bottle and even higher for rarities or large bottles ... but where else are you going to find these beers in such good condition in town, if at all? Suck it up and enjoy! If you're tight for cash, go for a 16oz bottle of Brubaker or Schaeffer for $3 or something local on-tap. Nearly everything is served in its proper glassware and poured to spec, especially Belgian and German beers.
Much bigger than the Boston location, with open floor to ceiling windows in the front and art deco booth-style seating adding even more to the feeling of spaciousness. Painted Charles Bukowski murals cover the walls and load punk, hip hop and alternative music soaks the air. It can get very loud, and it does get very smokey at night (until Cambridge goes smoke-free in Oct. 2003) ... but whatever, if you're into it, like me, you can hang in this place for hours!
Food is always great; basic to eclectic. Try their Mac and Cheese, Buck Burger with Mashed, Peanut Butter Burger, White Trash Cheese Dip, Sweet Potato Fries or my favourite ... Tunn Brod Rulle, a Swedish sandwich with a maple hot dog, mashed potatoes, thousand island dressing and a secret kick hugged in a lavish wrap.
Staff is kick-ass, interested in beer and trained in beer. Service is always great, and served with the renown Buks attitude ... embrace it with some patience and your visit will always be a great one. But, walk in as a beer nerd with a chip on your shoulder and you will get stomped.
Bottom-line: Buks in Cambridge is always a great time, and always has a great selection for the quaffin'. If you're in the area ... do not hesitate in dropping by for some beer and food. It's a must. Oh, and bring cash ... or use their ATM that's located in the back. Like the other Buks, this place is "In cash we trust."
07-05-2003 12:45:23 |
More by Todd
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Same as the first but different from its self, whatever that means. It's the second installment of the original but everything is the same other than the full bar.
The food is the same as well as the service. As long as you act like you belong there you are all set. The prices are the same as well, this is Cambridge (Boston area) and this is the way it is. You could be worse off and go to a trendy club to drop $6 on a short pint of Guinness. This is a no holds barred beer bar so just sit back and enjoy the ride.
06-25-2003 22:11:01 |
More by Jason
More User Reviews:
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$$
I keep going back to Bukowski's, and I almost always leave wondering why. This place could be so great--the open garage doors along the front in the summer, the collection of booths, high-tops and the bar, the very solid beer list and pretty good menu. But it messes almost everything up, and it almost always has to do with unreasonably high prices and rude staff.
The room is great--dimly lit with booths in the center of the space and high-tops in the front. But the music is always blasting in a room that would be loud already from conversation. I like music and human voices in a bar, but when I have to shout for the person next to me to hear, there's really not much point in going out to a bar. On quiet evenings in the summer, when you can seat by the windows, it's great. Otherwise, the noise level ruins any chance at having a conversation over your beers.
Some (maybe even most) of the servers are friendly, but some are incredibly rude, unknowledgeable about beer and simply full of themselves. Last night, our server stood waiting for me to finish my beer, so he wouldn't have to come back to pick up another empty glass the next time he passed by. Well, tough shit. I just paid $7.50 (plus tax) for a 12 oz glass (full to maybe 10 ounces) of beer that elsewhere would be $6 for a pint; I'm not rushing so you can save five seconds.
The beer list here is often very good, but rarely astounding. I take that back, the prices are always astounding. Last night, not a single beer (Harpoon IPA and PBR excepted) was under $7. And most of those came in 12 oz glasses (or smaller), with the at least honest qualifier that that is the glass, not the pour size. Add to that that when the bill came, I remembered that unlike most bars, the price at Bukowski's doesn't include tax. So the bill for five beers last night came to over $40. That's insane! An otherwise good tap list with nothing reasonably priced can't be described as above-average.
And it's a similar story with the food. $10 for onion rings? Are you kidding me? The food is fairly (and in some cases very) good, but for the prices, like the beer, it's unreasonable. And I don't mind when local businesses are cash only--I don't want my and their hard-earned money going to Visa--but when Bukowski's is charging upwards of $7.50 for a 10 oz pour, they can eat the credit card fees.
I want so badly to like this place, and I understand that Boston is an expensive area--I pay rent here, too. But when I can consistently get the same beer--sometimes in a larger serving--for $1-2 at other, nicer bars where I can have a conversation, there's really no excuse for Bukowski's absurd prices.
10-14-2012 23:46:10 |
More by FrankLloydMike
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Met up with some friends in Cambridge for dinner and beer at Bukowski's. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and had no problem getting a table.
They have a fairly extensive tap beer list and a separate book for bottled beers. Nothing super rare, but great beers like Ithaca Flower Power and Jack's Abby Hoponius Union. They also have a cask and some cellar selections.
The food is terrific. We got some white trash chips and all of us had peanut butter burgers. Super tasty! My friends have been there before and said the other burgers on the menu are just as good.
Our waitress was terrific. She knew her beers and was there when our beers began to run low. Also the appetizer and burgers arrived quick. Granted, it wasn't a very busy day, but service seemed quick just the same.
Prices are reasonable, but its a cash only establishment.
I think my only complaint was the bathrooms. They were dirty and graffiti covered. Overall though, I really enjoyed Bukowski's and look forward to my next visit.
03-27-2012 01:42:09 |
More by WanderingFool
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
I was anxious to visit this bar with beatnick character - it certainly lives up to its namesake. The walls are adorned with quotes and surreal images. The staff is young and friendly. I ordered a Sazerac and my server wanted to ensure that I liked it. The crowd seemed to be mixed with all ages and walks of life. The music was ok - mostly popular alt. rock. I would have appreciated more underground stuff. The appetizers were good but pricey and nothing special. The beer selection however, rocked! They had a cask beer, good beers on tap and an extensive bottle menu - including Cantillon Iris 2007! They had a big boardwalk style wheel you could spin if you couldn't decide what to get. There was also a funny 'hobo special' of a hot dog and a 40 in a take out brown bag. Really fun place - check it out!!
11-15-2011 04:15:11 |
More by Neorebel
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Came here with bring and a couple friends for a couple beers.
The place seems to fit its name fairly well, other than the fact that they serve expensive beer. Though the Hobo Special (hot dog and a 40) works.
Took a seat at a bar table and had a few adult beverages. The tap list was pretty eclectic and featured a nice range of beers that I had not tried/can't get back in California.
The service was pretty decent, especially for what I had expected (hoped?) from Hank's namesake. The thing I liked was that they offered half pours of everything on the menu.
10-04-2011 22:12:43 |
More by womencantsail
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in for a few drinks while in the area after having visited the Boston location for lunch earlier in the day.
Atmosphere is nice, it's certainly more open than the location in Boston, especially in the summer. 4-5 tables sit near the open-air windows and a bar sits on the right upon entering. Certainly more relaxed than the Boston location.
Quality is good. The beer arrived at the proper temperature with a good amount of head.
Service is also good. Our waiter knew about the beers down to the style as well as their attributes, which was nice to see. We had to wait a few times to get our glasses refilled but nothing over the line.
Selection was very good, as I found it at the Boston location. 30-40% of the beers on-tap were locals and the rest were solid selections covering a good range of styles. The number of 5% beers was striking and well-received by me. As with the Boston location, the bottle list was far from extensive but was well thought out.
Value was good, a bit expensive to a Georgia boy but par for the course in the area.
Overall this location didn't have quite the amount of character I found in the Boston location, but the openness and more relaxed vibe made up for it. Worth a stop if you're in the area.
08-15-2011 23:58:16 |
More by glid02
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$$$
Hadn't visited here in nearly 9 years since a miserable visit, but a friend visiting town wanted to meet there so...
Visited around 7 on a weeknight. About half full, met my drinking partner at the bar.
Admittedly I had low expectations given my prior experiences at Buk's/Lower Depths. The hipster/tatooed barkeep met us pretty quickly and cordially to take our orders. Ordered a Harpoon 100BBL Rye IPA, my friend ordered a Brooklyn Lager. My beer arrived in a 11/12 oz glass, my friend got a foamy pint. Both beers tasted OK, but were small for the price.
During our visit the music escalated in volume immensely. Crappy techno punk from the barkeeps ipod....ick.
Bartender was checking back often...kudos. Was surprised at the service level given Buk's reputation & my prior disappointing visits.
The thing that really derails this place is the pricing....1 to 2 dollars more than the rest of Boston for drafts. Looked at the bottle list and most of them were out and out ripoffs.
Cash only here. Bullshit.
Not a place I'm anxious to return to, but better than I'd previously thought.
06-12-2011 03:32:14 |
More by SunDevilBeer
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5 | $$
I had been hearing about Bukowski's Tavern for a long time and was anxious to give it a try. The beer list at the Cambridge location is impressive with 30 beers on tap, plus the house beer and a cask ale. They also have a very small - and overpriced - bottle list (four selections when I was there).
Sat down towards the back of the tavern in a booth with a friend. There was a rather unpleasant draft coming from somewhere, and considering it was cold and rainy outside, this really wasn't very welcome. However, once some food and drink was inside of us, we didn't really notice this minor annoyance anymore.
There were four TVs, all broadcasting a different sporting event. There was music playing in the background. Unfortunately, about halfway through our meal, the music tripled in volume and it became very difficult to have a conversation.
The service was good. The waitress came immediately and was always quick to check on us. I cannot comment on her knowledge of the beers on tap as I didn't ask her any questions.
I ordered the Imperial Stout Trooper, and while the tap lines seemed to be well maintained, I was a little disappointed when my beer arrived in a juice glass. Looking around the bar, they appeared to have four different glasses: the juice glass for heavy stouts, a Hefeweisen glass (though I didn't see any Hefs on the menu, so I'm curious what was in poured into this glass), a La Chouffe-style glass for the Belgians (my second beer, the Urthel Hop It was served in this glass), and a Brooklyn Lager pint glass for everything else.
The food was a huge disappointment. I ordered the Godzilla Burger: a housemade yellowfin tuna burger with mirin-chili-soy glaze, kalamsi mayo, sweet potato tempura, and avocado on a toasted brioche roll. They claim the burger would be cooked "rare," but was really anything but. This was overdone and dry. The bun was stale, not toasted, and the sweet potato was raw and crunchy with a small amount of fried tempura breading around it.
It did come with a side of fried plantains that were very good, however.
If you're going to a show at the Lily Pad and need a drink before or after the show, this is a good, nearby option. If you're wanting a good meal, you're better off going elsewhere. And with so many high quality beer bars in the Boston/Cambridge area, Bukowski's Tavern is best left alone.
03-11-2011 15:06:11 |
More by rinhaak
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I was a little uneasy about going in after reading some of the reviews here. While I like a place that is laid back and not pretentious, I don't like to get a lot of attitude. My fears were unfounded as the staff was very friendly. I loved the atmosphere of the place. This is an old service garage turned into a bar, complete with the roll up garage door still there. The bar itself reminded me of an old diner or the lunch counter at Woolworths, old metal framed stools bolted to the ground.
Nice selection of beers including cask beer. Not sure what you want? Spin the wheel. There's a carnival style wheel with the name of each beer offered. The only catch is whatever the wheel lands on is what you're paying for. And did I mention you're paying cash? No plastic taken here, cash only. Truth be told, I probably would have stayed for a few more beers if I could have used my credit card as I was running low on cash and didn't want to pay fees for an ATM.
High on my revisit list for Boston. I may have to check out their other location as well.
12-31-2010 16:25:06 |
More by Keith238
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Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, MA