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Taps: 33 / Bottles: 134
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1281 Cambridge Street
phone: (617) 497-7077
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is my go-to tavern, my first choice, a great neighborhood establishment. The beer selection, quality, and diversity should get you in the door. What will keep you coming back, besides the beer, is the staff, the atmosphere, and the food.
Bukowski's is probably best known for its Dead Authors Club - drink 1 each of 133 different bottled beers on a predetermined list that covers the gamut of beer types within 6 months, and you are rewarded with immortality in the form of a numbered mug engraved with the name of the author of your choice, well, dead author of your choice. From then on you can fill your mug with whatever beer they have on tap at the time (about 16 different ones at any given time) at a significant discount. Joining the club is a bit daunting at first, but a couple of beers a day a few times a week will get you there. Plus, you can learn a lot in the process, about both beer and yourself. I didn't realize how much I liked Scottish Ales and Belgian Strong Pale Ales, my current fave, until I had started my mug quest.
Pursuing (and attaining) membership in the Club will keep you coming back, but if it weren't for the other positives of Bukowski's, it would not be nearly as enjoyable. The staff are great, very friendly and knowledgeable. The food is underrated! The menu is creative, and new items are added often. Finally, the environment is wonderful because it's versatile and neither too big nor too small. When the weather is nice, they open up the front floor-to-ceiling windows for a near-outside dining/drinking experience. You can of course sit at the bar by yourself or with a friend or two, and if you want to have a big group party, there's space for that, too.
Note that they are a cash-only establishment, but if you forget to cash up before you arrive, the ATM in the back will conveniently solve that problem for you.
The location (Inman Square) is not the most accessible if you're not local because it's a bit of a hike from the nearest T stops. Honestly, though, I like it that way. It's got a healthy level of activity as it is, and we really don't need any more student watering holes or conveniently located magnets for pub-crawling posers who are looking to pound 4 or 5 PBRs with their new best friends, now do we. Bukowski's is not for them. However, if you enjoy great beer and great food, it might just be the place for you.
06-26-2010 22:34:57 |
More by RBWoodward
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
When to Bukowski's on a Monday after work from about 5 to 9:30pm. When i go there it was quiet with music (a little louder than i would have liked). Had a seat at the bar. It was the Southern Tier tap take over so tap selection was a little different than the norm. For a monday the place got pretty busy. The beer on tap was great at a reasonable price. The bottle beer list was extensive. They have a great menu organized by style. Over a great place to grab a drink.
Also if people were wondering how to get a mug with you name on it you need to drink all the bottled beers they have in 6 months or less. The bartender said it was 136 of them.
06-16-2010 03:43:44 |
More by rebelthrower
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Went to Bukowski's on Saturday afternoon. The weather was really nice outside and we decided to drop by for some late afternoon drinks. We sat by the open front area where you can enjoy the weather and people watch the foot traffic of Cambridge Street.
Our waitress was pretty cool and provided good service. Drink orders were received quickly and she was attentive overall. Reggae music played in the background, which was also well recieved. I've heard other reviewers complain about the music being too loud, but that was not the case during my visit.
Anyways, on to the beer selection...expect about 18 or so drafts. All worthy selections with some pretty interesting brews.
During my visit here is what was available: Smuttynose Imperial Stout, Smuttynose Maibock, Sixpoint Gorilla Warfare, Rogue John John Juniper Ale, Bear Republic Racer 5, Lefthand Chainsaw Strong Ale, Mayflower IPA, Southern Tier Hoppe, Southampton Double Ale, Harpoon IPA, 21st Amendment Watermelon, Harpoon UFO, PBR, Moylan's Pale Ale, O'Hara's Irish Stout, DeKoninck Brune, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bier and Emilesse Double IPA. One cask conditioned beer too, the Haverill Maibock Lager.
The bottle selection is extensive and offered an "extra special" bottle special that included Porterhouse Oyster Stout, 2009 Founders Nemesis and Goose Island Nightstalker.
I found all of the beers to be a bit on the pricey side, but that's typically not an issue for me as I appreciate the good quality of what I'm getting. If you plan on staying for multiple rounds, be prepared to shell out some cash though. Draft prices ranged from $5.50 to $10 for the Emilesse Double IPA.
All in all, I had a pleasant visit and enjoyed some tasty craft beers.
05-17-2010 13:15:30 |
More by Hibernator
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
Much quieter and friendlier than the Boston location. Has the popular wheel of beer if that's your thing--you still have to pay full price for what you draw so there's no real bargain to be had. Has an oft changing cask as well as about 12 other taps with good variety.
Some servers know their beer, others I've caught making stuff up.
There's often a septic smell in the Summer due to a grate out front (yes, I've actually tracked the smell to it's source) wafting in the windows.
The "Hobo special" is a hot dog and malt liqour in a paper bag (for $5 I think). It's not a bad hot dog.
Not outrageous for Boston prices.
I often bring people here for the peanut butter bacon burger.
11-01-2009 20:11:13 |
More by donkeyrunner
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Much better than the other Bukowski location, and certainly more quiet on my daytime visit.
This location has a more traditional, roomy bar with plenty of light and a neighborhood feel. Same or better tap selections than what is available on Dalton St.
Service was more polite, prompt, and actually had some knowledge of the beers on tap. Prices weren't bad for the area and quality of beer.
Good location near two other beer bars, the Druid & Atwood's. Easily accessible by the red line and very short bus trip.
10-07-2009 16:14:40 |
More by yemenmocha
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
Visited Bukowski's while taking a self guided walking tour of the Harvard/Cambridge area. A decent open air pub consistent with many found int he Boston area. Large open room with about 25 seats at the bar and some 30 tables. It was mid afternoon on a Sunday and very quiet when we arrived. The bartender wbile friendly enough was also less than interested in answering questions about the beer and more interested in a sidebar conversation...no worries though, we got what we needed. Several high quality taps including Stone IPA and some locals. Quite the bottle selection as well with some decent belgians from what I could tell. Prices were reasonable compared to some of the Bean-Town pubs that we visited.
All in all I would visit again to spend a little more time taking the place in, we had to leave rather quickly however.
08-08-2009 16:47:58 |
More by hoffman
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2 | $$$
So I went here for dinner tonight, and I left pretty disappointed. I had somewhat high expectations for their beer list, which was underwhelming. I understand focusing on domestic brews, but nothing from Brewery Ommegang? Only a couple Avery brews? Nothing from Lost Abbey, and only the bare basics from Stone? (Ruination on tap and Arrogant Bastard Ale, if my memory serves me.) The beer bottle list is pretty well-organized into styles of beer, but this points out some glaring deficiencies. The most egregious deficiency was the complete disrespect to saisons - only Saison Dupont, the saison that every bar has just to seem cool. To make a long story short, whoever organizes their beer menu saw fit to take very few chances on bringing in interesting and unique beers, and it really shows.
The food was pretty unremarkable, to be very kind. I got a cuban sandwich that was literally some cheap store-bought ham, some dry, tasteless pork, a few pickle slices, and some grainy mustard on two pre-sliced pieces of white bread. I could have spent $10 and made four Cubans that tasted and looked twice as good as these. My girlfriend got a burger that looked like a pre-formed burger, and tasted like one, too. Oh, and it was overcooked.
I'm glad I came here just to see what all the fuss was about - turns out that it's mostly hype.
05-11-2009 00:35:22 |
More by vrazionale
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$$
Shouting to be heard across the table over the din of students and hipsters isn't my favored way to spend an evening, but I figured it would be a fair trade for promising taps and excellent bottle list. The first round was Southern Tier's IPA, and it tasted wrong. I asked the server if I had the right beer, which he indulgently confirmed, but the beer was definitely wrong. That flavor, which I still couldn't place, was in the second round, Stone's Arrogant Bastard. It tasted like someone had cut the beer with Cel-Ray. I figured there was a problem with the taps, so I drank an IPA from the cask, and there it was again. Tea Tree Oil! It has to be whatever they're using to clean the glasses.
While we drank, we ate these sad-looking burgers that reminded me of itinerant burger slingers in parking lots and county fairs, and the fries at the bottom of the pile on the late were ice-cold. I shan't return.
One of my companions drank a delicious cocktail, made with lavender lemonade vodka, though. Sipping that was probably the highlight, as the drinks went.
12-11-2008 16:50:22 |
More by niall
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Bukowski's is a great little hole-in-the-wall bar with a fantastic beer menu (both taps and bottles). I've been a couple of times and each time the staff is very knowledgible and the beers are served in appropriate glassware.
The food menu is a little limited but you don't go to Bukowski's for fine dining. I always get the boneless wings that are damn tasty.
The atmosphere is kind of tough to describe... kind of bohemian coffee house meets biker-bar. It looks rough from the outside (looks rough from the inside too) but the people/vibe/staff are all great if you're looking to relax, listen to some decent music and have some great, great beers.... (and maybe have some wings!)
Whenever I'm downtown, I try to swing through for at least one or two at Bukowski's and pre-Sox games there are a must although, get there early!
11-18-2008 19:18:39 |
More by hossthepatsfan
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
A friend of mine who is a Boston transplant turned me on to this place.
The bar itself, looks slightly rundown on the inside - c'mon it's a BAR!
The service was great, our waitress was attentive and great with providing feedback on beers on th emenu. What is even better, if nothing on the "menu" suits your needs and you can't decide, there is the wheel of beer. They spin the wheel and a beer is selected for you. There were plenty of "want to try" on the menu for me to make my decision, but some night to just go in and let the wheel decide would be fun.
The food was typical bar food and went nicely with our beers.
I loved this place and look forward to going back!
07-01-2008 14:18:39 |
More by Jayli
Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, MA