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Penguin Pizza

Not Rated.
Penguin PizzaPenguin Pizza
very good

43 Ratings
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: n/a
Taps: 10
Bottles: 55
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

735 Huntington Ave
Boston, Massachusetts, 02115-6304
United States
phone: (617) 277-9200

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-19-2005

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Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 32
Photo of trevorpost
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of harsley
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of WoostaBia
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%

Photo of Jagaguar
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of StrayteEDGE
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of Ken_P
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of mklisz
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of smcolw
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

First, let me state that the pizza is superb. The beer selection is extensive (particularly in bottles). There's also 30+/- beers on tap, although no nitro nor cask draws.

The location is about a mile west of the Northeastern campus on Huntington Avenue in the Longwood medical section of Boston. It's not near any touristy areas, so beer lovers will need to make this a go-to place. I'd place this in the top five beer bars of Boston.

For food, this is mainly a pizza place. There are also wings, salads, panini and wraps, but the pizza is so good, there's no need to go further. We're talking North End quality here.

Service was very good and attentive.

The beers are wide ranging. Unlike most Boston beer bars they don't try to hide their Buds, Coors Lite or Yuengling. They also don't venture too far into the weird: Sam, Sierra, Harpoon and Stone have multiple offerings. Yet there are plenty of samples from lesser known breweries.

This is a small (30-ish seats at tables and 10 bar stools) place. The walls are a drab yellow painted brick. On the Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, it was pretty empty, but I was pleased to see a couple of families enjoying the food. Since we are in the middle of several hospitals and colleges, I would imagine this was unusual.

Photo of TOH
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of dental
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of jwps214
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of mcintire78
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Dicers
4.61/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Where to begin? Penguin is far and away my favorite bar in the city of Boston. I've been going there since I turned 21 and was a student at neighboring Northeastern. With their 20 cent wings on Monday and trivia on Saturday plus their frequent tap take overs by craft breweries it's always a fun place to go.

atmosphere: My favorite part of the establishment. When you walk into this relatively small bar you see the walls lined with 22oz mugs that have been engraved. In order to receive one of these mugs you must "endure" their penguin passport, a list of 335 beers that they carry on a regular basis. This list does unfortunately include some bad macro breweries like bud or coors, but with special rotating micro brews they're always willing to substitute for a good craft beer. I got through my passport in about a year and now am a mug clubber. They have about 35 taps all of which are clean and delicious. About 20 of them are always rotating with new and exciting brews.
If you come on any sort of regular basis you will see other mug clubbers icing (surprising someone with a smirnoff ice) other people close to receiving their mug. Also the staff and regulars are always willing to give beer recommendations to newbies who are intimidated by the large beer list.

quality/service: I may be biased because I am a regular but whenever I'm there even when the place is packed the staff is always attentive and although you may have to wait an extra minute or two it's well worth it. Everyone is friendly, the beer is served in correct glassware, and the food is delicious.

selection: With a list of 335 beers you're bound to find something you love and something you hate. A few beers are hit or miss and they don't always have in stock, but they always are adding and subtracting beers based on what people enjoy. If you can't find a beer here you'll be hard pressed to find one anywhere.

Food: The pizza is amazing! try the duck confit! all of it is good though and they've been rated best thin crust in Boston.

This place located in the mission hill section of boston is a hidden gem and a must for beer lovers

Photo of Hopdaemon39
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

I finally went to Penguin for the first time last night- I was very excited considering how many beers they are famed to have, but came away slightly disappointed. While they do have a large selection many of them were not beers I consider worth drinking (aka coors, other adjunct lagers) and many seemed quite overpriced to me. There was a pretty sharp divide between the prices of large scale American micro-brews (Sam Adams, Magic Hat, DFH 60) and better microbrews (Green Flash and others from out west) and imports. Also I think that some of their drafts were not kept properly- the Founders Centennial that I had was pretty flat as was a Flemish wild ale that my friend had (which shouldn't be anywhere NEAR flat).

That being said, their pizza is excellent and reasonably priced (3.95 for a VERY large slice), they serve most of their beers in the appropriate glassware, and its a fun place to go with friends. I probably won't ever try to go there again but if I happen to end up there it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Photo of Joezkl
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I have been going to Penguin when I am in the area for about five years now and I have watched the establishment grow from a dive-ish bar with great intentions that struggled with execution and keeping up with its demand, to a well-oiled machine that knows its strengths, its demographic, and its limitations.

The beer: When I discovered the Penguin, they had approx. 150 beers in house and approx. 10 draft lines. Now there are over 330 beers in stock and nearly 40 draft lines, which often rotate and the draft lines always taste clean (nothing worse than a great microbrew poured through a dirty line). They have recently added a Cask as well. The bartenders are knowledgable and good at reccomending a beer when the list is too intimidating. Beers are generally served in the proper glassware.

The Pizza: A very tasty thin crust that never disappoints. They have traditional run-of-the-mill selections and some interesting artisan creations as well. My personal favorites are the Ultimate Penguin, the honolulu, and the Bird. The menu (or “penu” as they refer to it) has recently been updated and now has even more unique (and delicious) pizza creations, like fig and prosciutto or “the great white”. They also have four daily slice options, if you are in a rush.

The atmosphere: I must admit, this is my favorite part of the Penguin. It is a small place with a decent sized bar and approximately 12-13 tables. The walls are covered in beer signs and the mugs of people that have completed the mug club. If you drink every beer they have in stock over the course of a year (they have “passports” to keep track) you receive your own personalized 22 oz. mug. Upon completion, you can get draft beer out of your mug for the same price as a regular 16 oz draft. This has led to a large group of regulars who frequent the bar, so if you go more than once or twice, you are bound to see familiar faces. It won’t be long until people begin to recognize you as well. I have met more than one friend through the Penguin.

The service: The service at Penguin is always friendly. In days past, when the place was busy the service would become slow because there were only two servers on hand. They have added a hostess and food runners to take some of the pressure off the servers and this has helped the consistency and quality of the service.

In short, this is a great neighborhood bar that is loved by Boston locals that live in the Mission Hill area. The beer selection is among the best in Boston, with some really hard to find beers, and the taps are rotated frequently and always clean. The food is solid pub fare, with pizza that will hold its own against any in Boston. There is a local, down to earth, almost dive atmosphere. There is a good mix of people, from college kids from surrounding Northeaster, Wentworth, and Mass Art (among others), as well as many doctors and nurses that come for a pint after work, and a few mission hill “townies” that have embraced this little gem since its inception.

The Penguin has something for everyone and is a must try if you are a beer lover, pizza enthusiast, a student just moving to mission hill, or a passerby that just happens to find yourself in the Brigham Hill section of Boston.

Photo of IHC
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Atmosphere- I must say this is fastly becoming my new favorite spot to go after work. The atmosphere is small hole in the wall type place. They have lots of beer signs every where. Every time i've been in this place its filled with younger people maybe college or in mid 20's but all drinking good craft beer.

Quality- All of the food and drinks I've had have been top notch, I've going there every day for the last week and its always been consistent.

Service- When its slow the staff is very nice and helpful and friendly. When its packed they still manage to be happy about it.

Selection- They have by far the biggest beer selection I've seen in the boston area. If you know of a place that has more beer than these guys please send me a message im dying to try it. They have 330+ beers some of which of course are on rotation in the draught lines. They also have a mug club, if you try all the beers you get your own mug engraved with your name or whatever you decide to put on it.

Food- Delicious pizza! phantom gourmet rated them #8 i believe in all new england.

Value- Prices are reasonable.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

On a tight corner in Mission Hill. A narrow place with a good beer selection. Right at the end of the bar they keep the bottle selection in a large soda cooler so you can see everything available. They also have a brew club with your own mug.Good Luck. When its quite the staff is really friendly and like holding a conversation with you. However, when it gets a little crowded just expect abrupt service.If your from the area your used to this type of treatment so it should not alter your judgment, so get to know them.
Some damn good and interesting pizza. Prosciutto on a meatlovers, my girlfriend loves the veggie and they had no problem splitting it up anyway you wanted.
If you are visiting I also highly suggest stopping by for at least one beer because they serve Sam Adam's Brick Red. It's a red ale they brew at the Jamaica Plane brewery and only sell to Boston Bars. However Yard House in Dedham, right outside of Boston, has it. I think they have an inside source.

Photo of Deingeist
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is a small place at brigham circle on mission hill. It's not much larger than a hole in the wall, but it's a hole in the wall with a whole lot of beer and some interesting food choices. It reminds me of a small italian/swiss restaurant. I wouldn't necessarily say this is a "destination" restaurant, but it's great for lunch if you're in the area because of school or visiting the MFA.

The quality is overall quite good. They use fresh ingredients in all of their food, and I've never had a skunked beer there in the many times I've visited.

Service is good once you get past the disorganization at the door, it's unclear as to whether you're supposed to seat yourself or not (you're not... i think...) but the bartenders and waitresses/waiters are all friendly enough and seem to know what they're talking about.

The selection is really good for such a small place. 30 beers on tap, 15 permanents and 15 rotating, mostly locals, almost all domestic, a couple imports. 200+ bottled beers. This place turned me on to craft/micro and imports and is pretty much the reason I only drink crafts and imports.

As said above the food is well made. You can get soups, sandwiches, some plated dinner meals or pizza (their main thing). It's not always the absolute best food but it's made with quality ingredients and it's interesting/eclectic. They have pretty good pizza with a variety of traditional and strange toppings. It's a good place if you're looking for interesting options or to try new things.

Photo of maybrick
3.2/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Was there the evening of 04/16/2010 around 10:30. Nice bottle line up and approximately 16 taps. All taps were craft with none being among the "Big Three." It is smaller place that can accomodate around 50 or so people. The bottle selection is decent - I belive in excess of 200 and the taps selections were seasonal. Mostly new Engalnd (Magic Hat, Cisco, Harpoon) but also had offereings from Troegs of PA and Stone of CA. We had the Hawaiian pizza which was good. I'd recommend this place as a stop on a good pub crawl but not as a destination.


Photo of bsend
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Penguin Pizza, a local favorite for so many reasons.

Atmosphere: This place is great to come and sit back. Bright enough during the day for lunch, they turn the lights down around 8pm and it becomes 21+. There can be some loud music, but it comes from Ipods rather than the usual bar music (better than the usual one Journey song, and host of other over played singles). Small negative is the heat in the summer. This place can make it feel like you are down south rather than in Boston.

Quality: Nice pub style atmosphere with clean tables and openly priced beer menu. Everything is up to par.

Service: Where it gets hard, to love penguin. The waiters are usually very friendly, and up to date with beer knowledge. The problem however, is that you may be forgotten and your glass goes empty longer than it should.

Selection: Currently around 30 taps, and planning to get rid of their half liquor license in favor of even more taps (room for 5-10 more). 15 standards, with some of those standards being Dogfish Head 60min, BBC Steel Rale, Sam Seasonal, Brooklyn Lager, Harpoon IPA, Allagash White and Stone IPA. They have 15 rotating taps that have included Six Star Cream, Dogfish Head Black & Blue, Hobgoblin, Affligem Blonde, an import Oktoberfest and many others. The rotating line rotates frequently making it worthwhile to keep going. They also have a variety of bottles around 200. They have a "Penguin Passport" were they check off beers from their list as you drink them. Finish the 200+ list and get a personalized mug to keep at the store for larger fills.

Food: Their pizza is gourmet, big, and cheap. One slice for $3 is roughly a quarter of a larger pizza. They have the usual culprits but also duck, cajun shrimp, and lots of cool vegetarian options. Their menu also includes more than just pizza (sandwiches, paninis, pasta, appetizers etc).

Value: You can spend tons of money on beer here, or go cheap with $3 pizza or 10 cent wings on Mondays. The average cost of a pint is $5 with a decent pour. Most beers come with proper glassware.

Final Thoughts - I love Penguin pizza. For locals, its the place to always stop off at and grab a beer. Good selection, right prices, and a decent staff make this worth coming too.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Finally made the schlep to the threshold of Mission Hill at Brigham Circle to check this place out on a blistering cold Friday afternoon off. The bar is to the left - about 8-10 seats, with about 20 or so taps and a cooler of bottles to the far left. Tables straight back in the center of the place and a sort of open kitchen behind it. Since I was flying solo I sat at the bar.

Let's see - what was on tap. Berkshire Steel Rail, DFH 60, Sixpoint Sweet Action...Boddington's, Allagash White, Brooklyn Lager...and quite a few more. Big bottle list in the hundreds. I saw the Stone IPA tap handle and was stoked until I noticed that it was unfortunately out at the moment. No worries - I had a Sixpoint Sweet Action instead.

The bartender (from previous reviews I guessed that this was Pam) was courteous, helpful and friendly...asking about what kinds of beers I enjoyed and so forth. Pam and her trusty assistant Dave (first day there, I think) were very welcoming to a new visitor and were quite prompt and efficient, too. The Sixpoint Sweet Action was smooth, as was the Brooklyn Lager towards the end of lunch. Oh yeah...lunch...

I had a medium straight pepperoni pizza. Solid - had that pub pizza feel to it - smaller with a mid-range chewy thin crust - not overly toasted and crispy. The sauce was solid, though - not very sweet as some pub pizzas often go - this one had plenty of onions and garlic in it to provide some poignancy. Since I had neither dinner the previous night nor breakfast this morning, I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

$8.99 is a reasonable price for the pizza. Some of their more exotic creations (duck confit, jerk, etc.) will run a few $ higher. Pints were each around $5 and they were damn fine pours. It's a hike from my neighborhood but I'll definitely be back.

Photo of trbergman
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I saw an ad in last month's BA magazine and decided to check it out after viewing the menu online. My girlfriend and I visited last night with a couple of friends. All of us were impressed.

The place has a bit of a dive-y feel, at least when first entering, but everything is clean and the aesthetic works pretty well. Not many tables, but on a Tuesday night, we had no trouble getting a spot. The beer list is very good, although the draft selection is nowhere near the quality of the bottles. About half are rotating taps and the only way to figure out the current selection is to ask the waitstaff, who were otherwise very helpful but couldn't remember the new things on tap.

Their pizza is delicious. We shared the Jerk Shrimp and the Seasonal, which was butternut squash sauce, goat cheese, and leek. While the beer prices are pretty standard for Boston, the pizza is a steal - $8.99 for a pretty generously sized medium.

Other than the trouble with the rotating taps I already addressed, the staff were generally helpful and service was reasonably quick. After paying the bill, we took our time leaving and no one gave us a hard time.

I'd definitely go again, although the Brigham Circle area is off the beaten path for me, so I'm not sure when I'll realistically get the chance. If you live or work nearby, you have to check it out - and it's worth the occasional detour even if you don't.

Photo of dananabanana
3.08/5  rDev -22%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A good local "dive" bar. When I worked at Brigham and Women's Hospital across the street, I went there often. This place has a lot of regulars.

Their pizza is great, with some really inventive selections (try the Seasonal or the Duck Confit).

The beer list is one of the best within walking distance of the Brigham Circle area. They also have a beer club, where if you finish 100 specific beers, you earn a glass and a lifetime discount on their on-tap beers.

They have the slowest service I have ever experienced at a restaurant. The good news is, they get to recognize the regulars very well, and will get to you faster once they know you.

This place is great after work or on a Saturday afternoon. At night, it becomes overcrowded and turns the music up way too loud.

And yes, I have seen rats here.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I didn't have a very good time at the Penguin, but that's mainly due to one individual, and really not much of anything else. However, as he was an employee - or even an owner (?) - that makes a real difference!

Some jack-ass named Joe was sitting at the bar talking to the Irish lass behind the bar, and when my food arrived I thanked the server but he didn't hear me, and then said loudly "Thank you" as if to correct me. Knowing that he's at least in some way associated with the place, and was obviously acting that way because of it, I found it off-putting. Any regular-Joe at the bar rail can say whatever he wants and I couldn't care less, but when you're part of the venture I find it holds more weight with me. He then proceeded to say under his breath, but still audible to me as I ate... "Go on, slurp it on down" implying that I was some repulsive non-mannered swine. How rude!!! I don't care if you're F'ng Prince Charles, judgemental people don't do well in my book!

That said, I have to slam them on service as the server was also quite unattentive due to her chat, and seemed to block me out to talk to Joe about the sand they were bringing in for some kind of special party.

The pizza was very good, and the beer selection was excellent with well over 100 bottles! They offer 28 taps including Left Hand JuJu, Allagash White, Smutty Brown Dog, Krusovice, Narraganset, Harpoon IPA and Sam Adams (of course!), Wachusett's Blueberry, Stone IPA, DFH 60 Min., and Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale complete with the "buy the ceramic stein" promo. There's even a Penguin Ale that I was completely assured is made just for them by Budweiser!

The full menu impressed me, and I only went with the pizza because, well, it is Penguin PIZZA! I thought the prices were reasonable, and even bordering on "inexpensive" for Boston, with soup at $4, tostadas at $7, wraps for $6, pastas in the $8 to $10 range (except for shrimp scampi... $11), and apps and salads in the $5 to $8 range. And beers are reasonably priced at roughly $5 a pint as well.

So overall, this is a pretty decent little pizza place with a VERY good selection of beers! Worth trying. Comfortable and casual.

Photo of Lothore
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I really dug penguin pizza more as a place to hang out with friends than a beer bar. The atmosphere was pretty good, your average pizza joint with a bar, a bit small. The pizza was tasty and large for being so cheap. Service was a bit slow but the place was jam packed so I didn't ding them too much for that. The selection was large but even so I found only a few beers I was interested in trying, I think bigger isn't always necessarily better. Overall I had an excellent time there eating with some friends from boston and enjoyed a couple good brews.

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Penguin Pizza in Boston, MA
89 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.