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Bukowski Tavern

Not Rated.
Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
very good

73 Ratings
Ratings: 73
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: n/a
Taps: 21
Bottles: 100
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1281 Cambridge St
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139-1338
United States
phone: (617) 497-7077

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @bukscambridge

Place added by: Todd

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Ratings: 73 | Reviews: 56
Reviews by SunDevilBeer:
Photo of SunDevilBeer
3.01/5  rDev -22%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of slasich
4/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of Dicers
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of rjp217
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of BastardFromABasket
1/5  rDev -74.1%

Photo of nkelley77
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of harsley
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Boston71
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of mklisz
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of chrisharris
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ivyman
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of SweetChicken
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of smcolw
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

I frequent the Bukowski in Back Bay, but I must say I prefer this one. First off it's probably three times larger and not nearly as divey. Second, I find the tap selection to be more varied featuring more unusual brews. Third, this one opens up to the street.

The single room is 30 x 40 feet with a 20 foot bar to the side. The tap list is about 25 - 30 different offerings. And with the exception of Pabst Blue Ribbon, all of the beers are craft. On this Saturday afternoon (May 31, 2014), it was active but not not too busy. There were a couple of bar stools and several booths available, although all of the tables near the open garage doors were taken.

Although I didn't try the food, the menu could be described as creative bar grub. It is also a sparse choice of eight items and one dessert. Still, everyone seems to enjoy what they ordered, but then again, one doesn't come here for the dining options.

The service borders on indifferent and friendly. Not bad, but also not that attentive--my glass was always empty for about five minutes before I was asked if I wanted another. Not that I would come here strictly for the service.

So, if you are near Inman Square in Cambridge, this would be the place to go. But if you are willing to walk a half mile down Hampshire, you could go to Lord Hobo's, one of the finest beer joints in the area.

Photo of doremite
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Steve-Atlantic
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of BostonPhilly
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of tegelaar
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of brureview
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I had read about Bukowskis and finally had a chance to have a drink there when I visiting friends in Cambridge.

It's a very unpretentious place and low-key hipster. No attitudes here.

I was impressed with the server's knowledge of beer, and she poured possibly one of the best wheat beers I have seen in a bar.

The beer menu is varied. Some excellent beers and some macro fare. I drank a Berkshire Brewing scotch ale which was quite good. My friend had a Port Brewing Board meeting which was far superior to a bottled beer I had bought a few months earlier and full flavored.
Our friends had German beers.

The appetizers are very good. The sweet potato fries were better than in most restaurants, and the pita and hummus was fresh.

Overall, an excellent Cambridge bar. Perhaps too hipster-grungy for some folks, but craft beer drinkers should check it out.

Photo of TheAnk
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of BostonHops
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4

as far as Boston-area bars which are filed under the craft-centric heading go, Bukowski's to me is somewhat middle of the road. (measured against your everyday bar it impresses considerably more, obviously.)

atmosphere is good; dimly lit, with booths lining the center of the room and the bar stationed off to the right. a collection of high tables is arranged at the front, opposing floor-to-ceiling windows which are removed during warm weather.

service is very hit or miss. I've had bartenders/waitstaff be friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, and I've had servers such as the one we had last night; while not overtly rude, definitely caught a strong impatient/unfriendly vibe from her - not the level of affability you kind of expect from someone in the service industry (expecting to be tipped).

selection is solid, covering a broad range of styles and breweries. that said, have never really found anything rare or off the beaten path. again, if you're looking for some good craft brews in general? you won't be disappointed. if you want to be blow away? you'll probably be disappointed. if you're in the area it's absolutely worth a stop but not the kind of place you need to go out of your way for.

Photo of FrankLloydMike
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Photo of Neorebel
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
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!!

Photo of womencantsail
3.86/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, MA
87 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.