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The Linwood Grill

Not Rated.
The Linwood GrillThe Linwood Grill

Taps: 20 / Bottles: 100
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
BA SCORE
97
world-class

40 Ratings
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 7.67%
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]

69 Kilmarnock St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02215
United States
phone: (617) 247-8099
// CLOSED //



Notes:
One of Boston's upcoming beer bars thanks to Matt Dohanian, who unfortunately left at the end of 2006 and the place has been going downhill since. Currently, the owners are looking to rent out the space, but not sell the property.

The latest rumor is that it's been "sold" and will not return as a beer bar, but something a bit more "adult oriented." Website is down, and no one answers the phone. BeerAdvocate will assume this rumor to be true until further notice.

(Place added by: Jason on 03-24-2005)
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 40 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by pizzahead:
Photo of pizzahead
pizzahead

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $

As has been said, the Linwood is really 2 places: a restaurant up front, and a bar in the back room. The restaurant has good atmosphere and is a solid place for barbecue, with great nachos and very good pulled pork and chicken. There are about 8 taps up front.

The back room has about 20 taps, and 75 or so bottles, as well as a full bar (which some other beer bars notably lack). The selection is excellent. Recently they've had Hooker Imperial Porter, Stone Oak Aged Bastard, Victory Storm King, DFH Worldwide Stout on tap. I've also seen Hercules Double IPA, Avery Reverend, plenty of BBC's, always a Lagunitas tap, and a Bear Republic tap or two. The bottles include a good Belgian selection as well as plenty of American Craft brews, all for almost no markup.

The back room atmosphere can be a little strange at times (especially weekend nights). Its generally well lit, with a pool table, a couple of flat screens, and occassionally a band. Usually the music is whatever the bartenders ipod has playing, so it varies a lot.

The location isn't as out of the way as some have said; Its a short walk from Fenway park or the Fenway T stop, maybe a 10 minute walk from Kenmore. Its also not an expensive cab from Publick House of Bukowski's. This bar is definitely on of the best beer bars in Boston, and most reasonably priced. I go in at least once a week, and never get bored with the selection. If you haven't made the trip yet, its time to give Linwood a try.

03-26-2006 15:48:29 | More by pizzahead
More User Reviews:
Photo of commie
commie

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -23.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 5 | $$

[update]I am sad to report that the decline of the Linwood continues. On a recent trip to the Linwood, it was apparent that the tap lines needed cleaning on the lounge side. And, some of the bottles are starting to show their age. One bottled beer was overly active; it was an endless foam volcano, and an IPA that I had was not spoilt, but it had lost it's hops. However, the Orval that I had was great. Also, some more of the better beers are still being replaced with more pedestrian beers. They tell me that they are having trouble selling the good beer like Moylan's. That's too bad because if it doesn't sell well, they won't be getting any more of it. My drinking companion commented that their formerly "stellar beer selection has turned into a Stella section." Replacing some of the tasties on the lounge side isn't such a big deal because they still have plenty left, but the changes have rendered the selection on the restaurant side below sub par for a beer bar. That's too bad.

Perhaps the reason why the Linwood didn't work out as a beer enthusiast's bar is because they don't have enough cooler space on the restaurant side to have a decent stock of tasty beers, and the lounge side, which had loads of good beers and still has an above average selection of good beers, has those loud and sometimes bad metal bands that inhibit conversation and general beer enjoyment.
[end update]

The Linwood has undergone some modest changes. Instead of mostly catering to the beer enthusiast crowd, they have changed their selection to broaden their appeal. As a consequence, they have replaced Stone IPA with the Harpoon IPA. They don't seem to be getting the hard-to-find extra-special releases any more, and they have added beers like Stella and Bud Light. The good news is that they still have some nice beers on tap, and many nice beers in the bottle. You can still get a bottle of Moylan's or a bottle of Orval. I no longer see anything from Alesmith, and I am really disappointed that they no longer keep the Stone IPA on tap because it was my favorite IPA; the Linwood was the only place that I know of that always kept the stone IPA on tap. They still have the Mojo in a bottle, so I was still able to enjoy an IPA on my last visit.

The food is still just as good. I had an excellent arctic char on Saturday night. Look out for the specials as they continue to be the best deal in town. Chef Michael and his crew still make the best mac' and cheese in the world; and the chili is also top notch. They still remain true to the old Linwood by serving the best BBQ of any beer joint in the Boston area.

The service is still excellent. Nate, Martin, Andrew Jackson, and Sara were great, and they will be missed, but the remaining staff still do a fine job with a friendly attitude.

The bar on the restaurant side is cozy, friendly, and very approachable. The bar on the lounge side can be stark at times, and sometimes, especially late at night, it can be a hoot. I don't like it when they have bands because the bands usually play so loudly that one cannot converse with his drinking companions, and it can ruin an otherwise nice evening. Sometimes they insist that you pay a cover to get into the lounge side, and sometimes they will let me in without a cover if I promise that I am there just to drink the beer, and that I don't want to listen to the music. I don't know what their policy is on this. But, it can be a major bummer if you walk all the way over to the Linwood from the Fenway (D-train) or the Museum (E-train) stop, and then they make you pay a cover to listen to some loud second-rate neo-metal band that ruins the mood of the whole place. Lately, I have been avoiding going there on nights when they have a band. You can look up on their myspace page to see if a band is playing, but they still don't list the beers, which they should.

Overall, I'd have to say that the changes may be more enjoyable for the metal head and the pedestrian beer drinker; as a beer enthusiast, I cannot say that the place is as good as it used to be, but it is still one of the best beer bars in Boston.

As I mentioned, the best way to get there by train is by the Green Line. The D-train's Fenway stop or the E-train's Museum stop aren't that far a walk. The 55 bus stops right in front of the restaurant's door. The Kenmore Green Line Stop, and the Ruggles Orange Line stop are also options for people that don't mind a long walk.

As a side note, I would like to mention that I think it is a class act that this place still charges $4.00 for most of the craft and micro-brew quality beers. This is not only appreciated by their customers, but also their staff, as the round number means the bartender will more often get a full dollar tip instead of being shafted with the fifty and seventy five cent tips. Kudos to the management!

02-20-2007 03:45:07 | More by commie
Photo of SkinnyElvis
SkinnyElvis

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $

Stopped by on a Thursday night around 8PM with the missus and the place had about 6 people in it. Hmmm....I was a bit surprised about that and the empty bar gave the place a funny vibe. The quality of the beer on tap was good (Stone, Victory, locals) and it had a great bottle list (Founders, Hooker, great Stone collection).

But, it was worrisome that some of the beers that were originally on the tap list (Stone Ruination for example) were replaced with scrod beer and the tap list was a piece of paper that had all sorts of cross outs on it. Speaking with the staff (who were friendly and knowledgable), the old manager was gone and he was a beer geek and the new manager was trying to expand the bar's base besides beer geeks so the tap list was including more scrod. We ate some apps only and the food was good. The place was very cheap especially for Boston and a glass of Stone Old Guardain 2006 cost only $5.

Hopefully, the locals will keep an eye on this place for us out of towners to see if the changes that are underway take away the Linwood's BA appeal. But as of now, this is a great beer bar.
Cheers.

02-16-2007 12:38:48 | More by SkinnyElvis
Photo of jbart
jbart

Massachusetts

4.72/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

Okay, perhaps there aren't always many people in the bar. And occasionally the live bands can be a little too much. However, I love the Linwood! It's nice to have a relaxing place that doesn't get too swamped before Sox games.

The bartenders here are awesome--very friendly. They know what I like, and they're always willing to look around for something new and different that might interest me. The food is also consistently good--and Chef Mike is a great guy.

This place has a fantastic beer selection at awesome prices. The same beers at neighboring places cost a couple bucks more per bottle. You really can't beat it. The Linwood specializes in American brews, like Avery, Stone, Boulder, Allagash, Anderson Valley, etc. However, there are plenty of other brews like Unibrou, Chimay, Rochefort, etc.

Additionally, I've met some great people at this place. As long as it's open, I'll be at the Linwood at least three times a week. It's funny that people complain that this place is out of the way--it's so close to the Fenway stop on the green line. And it's only a 10-minute walk from Kenmore.

11-05-2006 02:56:56 | More by jbart
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$

We interrupt the recap of Woody Him Forward 1 to bring you this breaking review.

I only got to the Linwood Grill three times in my lifetime, with the latest and last being this past Friday, along with Rick Suarez and Caesar of Unibroue and Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe. It always seemed to me to be a bit understated in its decor, but the beer selection was to die for. I was always in seventh heaven on my visits, since many of their selections were ones that I just would not see otherwise, as a resident of PA. I am a big fan of draft beer and would begin to salivate as soon as I looked upon their tap selection and then my heart would start to palpitate when told of the available bottles. It was with great sadness that I received the unwelcome news that they are about to close. I will hold onto my fond memories with both hands and I will allow this review to stand as my salute to one of the greatest beer bars that I have encountered in my extensive travels. Fair winds and following seas to both ownership and anyone involved in the Linwood's operation. You will be missed.

10-31-2006 01:01:44 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Hofbrau
Hofbrau

Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

This place is awesome! The atmosphere on the bar side is good; there's a big open space with a mini stage for whatever band is playing there, a pool table, a couple of nice tvs and a good bar for sitting at. The selection was tremendous, probably over 100 different american and imported bottles. I was also impressed with the service, the bartender seemed to be very knowledgeable about the beers there. When I ordered a Delirium Tremens, he confessed that it had recently been put in the fridge and was not as cold as it should be. So, he recommended the Nocturnum, which I'm very glad I tried. He also gave out some free shots, one of which he took.

The food, I've only had one the restaurant side, but was very good southern style bbq. Value is not bad either, with even the rarer imported beers at about $5 or $6 per bottle, which is actually very good in Boston.

I'm lucky I live right down the street from this place.

10-20-2006 14:23:58 | More by Hofbrau
Photo of Hollister
Hollister

Maryland

4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $

This is the best "beer bar" in Boston. I wish that I could just leave that first sentence as my whole comment, because that's really all that needs said. The Linwood came under new ownership a year or two ago, and Matt (owner, and also a trombonist like myself) has changed it for the best.

They've got an amazing tap selection - 20 total, and almost all are great - some are exceptional. I really like the West Coast Brews (AleSmith, Stone, Bear Republic, etc.) that they get. It's rare to find such a great selection of those on tap, out East.

I think that if I still lived in Boston, I'd be a regular to the tune of at least 3 times a week. Prices were also reasonable, which considering the amazing selection was a shock.

They're located right down the street from Fenway Park which makes it the second best place to watch the Sox.

Bad live music was my only complaint, and I haven't tried the food. Go here for beer!!!

09-07-2006 17:09:51 | More by Hollister
Photo of BlueHammer
BlueHammer

Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

I stopped in here with some friends on a Sunday afternoon and it was EMPTY!!! We were the only 3 customers in there! We ordered some light food and chatted with the bartenders. They had nothing to do so one began building a house of coasters! Very entertaining and friendly staff. The food was good. The beer selection was a two-page printout of draft and bottle beers, a very good selection! This is one of those rare finds that never gets too busy but has a wide and inexpensive collection! If I'm back in the area I'm likely to retun here!

08-13-2006 23:58:40 | More by BlueHammer
Photo of ridedammit
ridedammit

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$

A and I decided to try Linwood after reading about it on BA. It sounded like
the Publick House and other Beer Bars with good food. And indeed it is.
The beer selection is certainly above average, but not quite as many
as I would expect. The beers are mostly American Craft Brewers,
which suits me fine, but A likes Belgians, and a few more of those would
be nice.

the food was very tasty and the staff friendly. We sat at the bar so we
only interacted with the bartendar, but the wait staff looked as if they
liked working there. No sullen faces or bad attitudes. I am sure we will
eat and drink here in the future when we find ourselves near Fenway.

07-11-2006 16:13:25 | More by ridedammit
Photo of mcowgill
mcowgill

Massachusetts

4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$

I have been meaning to write a review of this great place since I've been there a number of times. It's a bit off the beaten path so to speak, which adds to its charm. It also probably is the reason why it often is not at all crowded. I like that. The beer selection is exceptional, right up there with the Publick House, minus the Belgian drafts. As for American craft beer draft selections, it might be unmatched. Usually you can get a couple Stone, Victory, Offshore, Avery, etc. choices. As long as there is not a Sox home game the parking is unbeatable too. Free, right behind the place. The food is really good too. I've had their burgers and chicken fingers and both were excellent. The Linwood is easily one of the best beer bars in Boston.

06-24-2006 19:59:00 | More by mcowgill
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The Linwood Grill in Boston, MA
97 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.