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Bukowski Tavern

Not Rated.
Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
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very good

56 Reviews
Reviews: 56
Visits: 73
Avg: 3.9
pDev: n/a
Taps: 21
Bottles: 100
Cask: Y
[ 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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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 56 | Visits: 73
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The second Bukowski's ... same format, same attitude, same prices, same dedication to beer, same food menu and pretty much the same beer menu, but with more on-tap; roughly 16 and cask when they have it (call ahead), and well-over a hundred in the bottle, ranging from rare to imports to local to swill. Prices can run high; $5.25 for a premium craft beer to $6-$9 for a Belgian in the bottle and even higher for rarities or large bottles ... but where else are you going to find these beers in such good condition in town, if at all? Suck it up and enjoy! If you're tight for cash, go for a 16oz bottle of Brubaker or Schaeffer for $3 or something local on-tap. Nearly everything is served in its proper glassware and poured to spec, especially Belgian and German beers.

Much bigger than the Boston location, with open floor to ceiling windows in the front and art deco booth-style seating adding even more to the feeling of spaciousness. Painted Charles Bukowski murals cover the walls and load punk, hip hop and alternative music soaks the air. It can get very loud, and it does get very smokey at night (until Cambridge goes smoke-free in Oct. 2003) ... but whatever, if you're into it, like me, you can hang in this place for hours!

Food is always great; basic to eclectic. Try their Mac and Cheese, Buck Burger with Mashed, Peanut Butter Burger, White Trash Cheese Dip, Sweet Potato Fries or my favourite ... Tunn Brod Rulle, a Swedish sandwich with a maple hot dog, mashed potatoes, thousand island dressing and a secret kick hugged in a lavish wrap.

Staff is kick-ass, interested in beer and trained in beer. Service is always great, and served with the renown Buks attitude ... embrace it with some patience and your visit will always be a great one. But, walk in as a beer nerd with a chip on your shoulder and you will get stomped.

Bottom-line: Buks in Cambridge is always a great time, and always has a great selection for the quaffin'. If you're in the area ... do not hesitate in dropping by for some beer and food. It's a must. Oh, and bring cash ... or use their ATM that's located in the back. Like the other Buks, this place is "In cash we trust."

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Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Same as the first but different from its self, whatever that means. It's the second installment of the original but everything is the same other than the full bar.

The food is the same as well as the service. As long as you act like you belong there you are all set. The prices are the same as well, this is Cambridge (Boston area) and this is the way it is. You could be worse off and go to a trendy club to drop $6 on a short pint of Guinness. This is a no holds barred beer bar so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Ajlvt
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of SharkNado
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

Photo of slasich
4/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of Dicers
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of rjp217
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of nkelley77
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of harsley
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Boston71
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of mklisz
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of chrisharris
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of ivyman
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of SweetChicken
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of smcolw
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 1,355 characters

Photo of doremite
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of BostonPhilly
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of tegelaar
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of brureview
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 861 characters

Photo of TheAnk
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of BostonHops
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

 1,214 characters

Photo of FrankLloydMike
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

 2,662 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Neorebel
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
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!!

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Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, MA
88 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.