Ah yes….there is nothing like an 11:30am start to an April Red Sox game in Fenway Park. Damn right it’s gonna be cold, but at least I’m not running in from Hopkinton like the 50,000 people partaking in the Boston Marathon. The starting gun for the Marathoners blasts off at 10am – I imagine that’s when we’re going to start drinking.
I have to be honest – I’m not going to be cold. I’m going to be sharing a luxury box with 20 other people that we scored at half price. And it comes with all the free beer we can weasel down our collective esophagi. This is all new territory for me – I’ve sat just about everywhere in Fenway except the luxury and monster seats. And with beers topping $7 inside the park you can bet that my buddies and I have our normal watering holes on route to the park.
Here’s a little secret that I hate/have to share: the best place to park is the garage on Dalton Street. Trust me. And it just so happens that the Bukowski Tavern is on the bottom floor. Buk’s is known as a beer bar, I’m a beer guy, and what else would you drink before, during and after a baseball game. Buk’s usually has a couple of my current craft beer draft favorites: Sixpoint, Southern Tier, Mayflower, Green Flash, Troegs, etc. The craft beers are “city prices” – pints usually start around $6 and go up from there. Some of the higher abv (alcohol by volume) beers might be served in 10, 12 or 14 ounce glasses. Any bona fide beer snob who appreciates a good pour in the proper glassware will find plenty of bottled Belgian beers served in goblet or flute form. The affordable food prices bring everything back down to earth – a hotdog and fries is $4. Cheddar cheeseburger with mashed or fires - $8.
If the quest for vittles is from sea rather than land, the Summer Shack shares the bottom floor of the garage with Buk’s. It’s not exactly a chain, it’s not exactly mediocre, it’s neither cheap nor expensive – but if you’re jonesin’ for a fried mollusk it’ll do nicely.
Speaking of fried seafood - The Baseball Tavern was a legendary dive bar on Boylston Street that’s still on Boylston but can no longer live under the “dive” moniker. They took over an old nightclub with a roof deck and a stage for bands in the basement. And here’s the rub – they serve the biggest, fattest plate o’ fried clams in the city! FYI - this is Boylston behind Fenway, not the Back Bay Bolyston that’s a pink hat cluster fuck.
Here’s a quick list of places where the lines are as long to get in as they are to get a drink – but you might meet a cute chica: Cask and Flagon, Jillian’s (and everything else on Lansdowne), Who’s On First, Game On and Copperfield’s. And as with all great places that feature jocks, cute girls and booze – you can probably get in a fight too.
One of my favorite places in all of Boston is Eastern Standard. It’s smack dab in the middle of Kenmore Square in the Commonwealth Hotel – but this is soft leather chair / martini bar territory and it will have to wait for another blog. There’s a beer theme going on here, which brings me to Boston Beer Works. This is a brewpub – please don’t order a Bud Lite here people. It’s embarrassing for everyone involved. This cavernous pub has had it’s ups and downs, but the current brew-master seems to be on the right track. The IPA is sweet and hoppy with a thick foamy head, very drinkable and void of a bitter finish. The menu is extensive – mounds of nachos and a variety of flavored chicken offerings await. It’s right across from the park, so expect to wait in line on game day.
Bukowski’s sister location, the Lower Depths, is located on Comm Ave. just outside of Kenmore Sq. and it features 40’s. Of beer that is. In big brown bags and all, ya’ll. They also have an extensive craft beer menu (ala Buk’s) and cheap hot dogs.
What have I forgot – how about an Irish Bar? An Tua Nua is over on Brookline Street and they will proudly serve you a perfect pint of Guinness. Tua has some crazy popular dance and DJ nights, and the crowds here before a Sox game are definitely more diverse than other bars in the neighborhood. And finally – across the street is Audubon Circle. It’s all modern and fancy with sleek lines and minimalism with a down-tempo soundtrack, but they sure make a fine burger. It’s been called the best in the city, but I wouldn’t go that far. AC is also good for a mojito or a kiwi-cucumber gimlet – if that’s your thing.
Oh, by the way. Enjoy the game!