Bukowski Tavern

Not Rated.
Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
BA SCORE
89
very good

160 Ratings
Ratings: 160
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: n/a
Taps: 22
Bottles: 150
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

50 Dalton St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02115-3129
United States
phone: (617) 437-9999

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @bukowskiboston

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 120
Reviews by Boilermaker88:
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

After making an excellent foray over to Bauer's and picking up a half dozen goodies, I started walking back under sunny skies. In no time, I'm thirsty and, lo, across the street was Bukowski's Tavern. How I almost walked past that garishly painted red entrance, I don't know.
Once inside, I noted the layout was like an inverted L-shape with the long bar taking up the left side, the restrooms right up front on the right, and small tables further back on the right. The place, even at two o'clock in the afternoon was dark and felt small. I bet this place gets packed by nightfall.
I took a seat at the bar, noting the dozens of glass mugs hanging above the bar. A real nice variety of glassware was arrayed behind the bar. A small number of taps offered Murphy's Irish Stout, Stella, PBR, Bass, and Boddington's *pass*, Sam Adams Boston Lager and Hoegaarden wit *pass again*, and Harpoon's summer ale and IPA, Brooklyn Brown, DFH 60 Min IPA, Magic Hat's Fat Angel, and Boulder Beer's Mojo IPA *now we're getting somewhere*. I opted for the Harpoon IPA. Arrived in a 12oz Harpoon glass, nice touch, and set me back $5.27, not including tip. Hmm, a bit pricey for a 12oz pour of the local IPA, if you ask me.
Lots of bottled beers lined the back of the bar, some on ice, some at room temp under the iced stuff. The selection rates a 'good' based more on the bottled beer vice the brews on-tap. Wine was also available but no spirits were sold on the premises. The gal behind the bar took my cash and I didn't see her again. No "can I get you anything else" or something to that effect. Just never came back. I finished up my beer, looked around once more and left. Maybe I didn't look "local" enough.
Oh well. All in all, Bukowski's isn't a bad joint. But I'd just as soon catch the "T" out to the Sunset or Public House.

More User Reviews:
Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

My thing is, I fucking hate Bukowski as a writer. He makes the rest of us wordy alcoholics appear even worse than we actually are--as, as if this world already wasn't prejudiced enough against my active, booze-forward lifestyle.

There's navelgazing, and then there's a fat violent hack writing novels about himself where he's still a violent hack only somehow everyone love him because he's misunderstood. And then there's legions of morons (at least before Chuck Palahniuk and Brett Easton-Ellis started stealing his readership) who just worship the guy, because what self-pitying feeb doesn't love reading about his own, lionized avatar.

Ok. That out of the way, I was prejudiced going in. I stopped by about a year ago and didn't think twice about it.

But then, New Years Eve, Bukowski's was on our walking route. And they featured prominent signs announcing that there wasn't going to be any NYE celebratory bullshit. Nor would there be covers. Or, fuck it, actually, they paid everyone who came in a dollar, in protest of NYE covers. I'm dead serious, and that's awesome.

The tap list is isn't very broad, it's but good. Nearly all of it was from MA. The food is fried crap, but solid. The bar itself is physically narrow and woody, and it can quickly get busy and uncomfortable. But the crowd is friendly and unpretentious, they don't blast shitty music, and it's inexpensive. It's also the best beer bar in its immediate vicinity.

Photo of Jlawlaw
4.54/5  rDev +14.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Great neighborhood spot! Love the bartenders and wonderful beer selection. I love the menu, as well. It gets hard to breath in there during sporting events, but any other night of the week you can get a delicious burger with tater tots and a stellar local beer for not too much money.

Photo of enulcwww
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

This is my favorite bar in Boston. With an excellent rotating tap like and and supreme bottle list I can't really say anything bad about the place. Sometimes difficult to find a spot at busy times and the Red Sox crowd drinking Twisted Tea makes for an interesting day. Any bar that plays Relationship of command all the way through though and I can get Great Divide on tap is okay in my book.

Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 2.75

Located in Back Bay near the Sheraton and the Hilton. It is something of a hole in a wall located at the base of a large parking garage. When one first walks in, there isn't much to look at. It is long, narrow and dark. The bar is to the left and there are a couple of tables lined up on the right. There's a tiny kitchen in the back. Overall, I'd describe it as dingy.

But one doesn't come here for the atmosphere. This is a beer bar and doesn't pretend to be anything but that. There is food available (as is required in every bar in Massachusetts), but it is strictly the bar variety of vittles.

The beer selection is varied and interesting. The tapped beer is always rotating with many unusual and difficult-to-find beers popping up all of the time. The bottled offerings are more steady.

The service is friendly and knowledgeable, but nearly everyone behaves rather indifferently. But when one's glass is near empty, they offer you a new one. There are many regulars who are friendly and willing to strike up a conversation.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

This place is pretty tiny inside and really not that nice - the bathroom is fairly interesting in that the entire inside is diamond plate (like the bed of a pickup truck).

Beers were well poured but only used a couple of different glasses - based on the size of the pour rather than the style.

The waitstaff seemed a little overwhelmed when we visited, maybe it was close to the change of shift but it took a long time to flag down someone to take our order at each round. The waitstaff were friendly but did not seem overly knowledgeable about the beers or the food.

Though they did not have an extensive tap list, they had a very good tap list featuring lots of interesting and good local brews. A number of styles were represented and they even had a couple of more sessionable beers - I like the fact that for most beers they offered a snack size and a full pint.

Only had the chance to try food from the specials, it was called the pregnant dog - hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep fried, covered in peanut butter sauce and pickles. Amazing! Not sure how good the normal everyday food is but this special was delicious.

Prices are reasonable and on par with most of the other places I visited while in Boston.

One additional important piece of information is that this place is cash only!

Photo of EspressoGuy
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25

Feels like one of the good dive bars in San Francisco. Long, narrow, loud, dimly lit. Cash only. Best craft beer selection I could find in the downtown area. Kind of a "hipster" feel -- and has the obligatory Pabst Blue Ribbon to prove it. Not the friendliest service but that's fine. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited on a late afternoon/early evening on a Friday before a Red Sox-Yankees game for about 2 hours or so. As described below, this is a great little whole in the wall kind of place...which is right up my alley. When we arrived the place only had a few other patrons, but when we left, maybe an hour before game time, the place was hopping. The place had a good vibe to it, not so loud that you had to shout, but sometimes so loud that you couldn't hear the music playing...and it was good music, they were playing the Screaming Trees' "Sweet Oblivion" and then followed it up with the Rolling Stones.

The place had a good tap list, a lot of the taps appeared to be local or at least from New England. I glanced over the bottle menu and noted that it was extensive and had a wide variety of styles and breweries. We didn't try the food, but the service that we did receive was good and was very knowledgeable about the beers that they had. Having lived on and traveled the east coast, it was not surprising or off-putting that the place was cash only and I didn't find that the prices were unreasonable. Overall, this is a great bar and one that I would frequent often if I lived in Boston.

Photo of BostonHops
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

cool little bar named after the writer and poet charles bukowski, and probably a tavern he'd have appreciated. sort of a no frills, low-key atmosphere with its dive bar-like vibe - which to me is one its appeals - with a solid beer menu (won't blow you away necessarily but probably the best that i frequent in this area of the city).

bukowski's strength is clearly it's bottle menu, which is plentiful and features a good range of locals, out-of-state brews, seasonals, and belgians. there is a rotating draft lineup that can be hit or miss. last time i was in i had a pesto burger that was pretty tasty, esp for pub fare. one downside is that bukowski's is cash only - who has cash these days? the other is that it's relatively small so it can fill up quickly and get a bit noisy. regardless, definitely worth the trip if you're in the area.

original review on: 07-21-2010

Photo of greenengineer
4.56/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Great little hole in the wall tucked between a parking garage and the Pike. I went in at 5:30PM on a Friday afternoon to hoist a few while waiting for someone. Sat at the bar. 21 taps including 1 cask - none of them Macro brews. Good variety of locals. Not trying to have "everything" like some places do, instead it's fresh and decent, with a good variety. Welcoming staff - no attitude, fun atmosphere.

If you're at an event at the Hynes Convention Center, this seems the best choice for an escape. It is the anti-Pru.

Seems to get crowded later in the night. Never been there at that time.

Photo of malthound
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Simply put, I love this place. The 'numbers' don't really do it justice. I didn't try the food, but it looked decent. Let's face it guys, this is a notch above a dive bar with a respectable beer list. It's no Toronado, but I felt more at home here than in most bars. The staff is polite and knowledgable, but also very 'Boston', so don't get yer panties in a wad if they don't wax poetic about malt-hop profiles. Enjoy your beer and the vibe, music courtesy of some dude's iPod. Best time I've had in the last year.

Photo of glid02
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in here for lunch during a recent trip.

Atmosphere is nice, it's a thin and deep place with the bar going most of the way back on the left side with seating on the right and in the back. It's got a good deal of windows so there's no dark and dingy feeling, and a few TVs dot the place.

Quality is good. I ordered mostly half pours so I wasn't able to get a good look at their glassware, but everything was served at the proper temperature and with a good amount of head.

Service is also good. We didn't have to wait long for our server, although it was early in the day and there weren't a lot of people there. She was helpful with the selections as well.

The selection was very good. I recall about 20 taps running the gamut of styles, about 30-40% of them local. The bottle list wasn't extensive but seemed well thought out.

Food was solid, if nothing to write home about. I had the chili dog and fries and went away satisfied but not overly impressed.

Value seemed about average for the area. It's a bit on the expensive side for me, being from Atlanta, but overall pretty fair.

Overall the menu was solid and the beer selection was even better. Certainly worth a stop if you're in the area.

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

I was able to hit Bukowski's twice in my trip to Boston. Staying down the block at the Sheraton, Bukowski's was my plan for a fast start in the city. Started with "The Buk" a house pale ale made in collaboration by staff and Wormtown Brewing, according to the bartender. After that, drafts of Osak Blue's G'Night Imperial Red Ale and Lagunitas Olde GnarleyWine. Both very good and impressive offerings for the relatively small number of taps. Ordered dinner--mac and cheese--which looked awesome on the list and was mediocre at best. Mac and cheese seems to be a east coast staple, which I had at several pubs during the course of my vacation, and this was the worst.

A week later when we returned to Boston from road tripping New England, we were tired in the hotel, so I ordered the vegetarian meatball sub, which was much better. I had a Cisco The Grey Lady witbier that was well served and refreshing. However, I noticed that the overall tap offering was much lighter and not as much fun as the weekend before.

Overall, Bukowksi's a great little pub and a placed that I enjoyed a lot for an initial stop. When I asked the bartender for a local place to drink some more, he seemed to prevaricate and gave no recommendations. Maybe he was unaware of the perfectly fun The Other Side less than two blocks away (found later) and other stops. In the end, every beer was well served and they do a good job of presentation and handling of the beer, which is the most important thing really.

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

Visited this place twice while visiting Boston for the ACBF. Located near Prudential Center/Copley Center and the hotels surrounding. Be warned... CASH ONLY!This place is no nonsense.

Food is burgers, sandwiches, wings, etc and pretty damn good. Everything after 11 is $5.95 and burgers 11-6 M-F are like $3.

Tap selection was mostly local beers. Had a few cask ales available too. 99 Bottle available too from an ice chest that runs the legnth of the bar. My wife had a Victory Golden Monkey that had an expiration date in 2014, so I'd assume it was pretty fresh.

Atmosphere was mixed between people going to and from Red Sox games and some hipsters. Music was americana which I could have done with out.

Prices were good for Boston.

Excellent place!

Photo of jgasparine
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Atmosphere- A very comfortable tavern that seems to blend the line between neighborhood bar, dive bar and beer bar. Dimly lit on the inside, with fantastic music (Black Keys, Johnny Cash, etc.), and a diverse crowd. I loved the vibe, but the only thing keeping me from giving it a perfect '5' was the lack of space. This is a tiny bar with fewer places to sit or stand than there are patrons... this makes it difficult to get comfortable during busy times.

Quality- Above average quality. Beer was generally served in appropriate glassware, staff were reasonably knowledgeable about their product. Facilities and glassware were reasonably clean.

Service- I was impressed with the service, especially since we visited at a busy time.

Selection- Definitely above average. A nice range of quality beers in an array of styles. One beer on cask. However, nothing on the menu jumped out to me as rare or special (at least not the one and only time I visited).

Overall- I would definitely come back here, but I would hope for a less busy occasion so that I could get a seat at the bar. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, beer geek or not.

Photo of ngrosen
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was in town for a conference at the hotel across the street and I was happy to find Bukowski's Tavern. It features decent food and a pretty good draft and bottle selection. It is a bit pricey perhaps, but it is downtown Boston, so it is on par. The service was prompt and friendly without being cheesy and I liked the dark, mellow atmosphere. It was a welcome refuge after a long day working --- I could sit at the bar, read a book, eat a sandwich, have a few quality beers, and no one bothered me.

Photo of jjansen
3/5  rDev -24.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

i found this place to be just average. They had a decent beer selection with a nice selection of regional beers, but I found that the menu lacked depth. I can't really compare to other places in the area as I was in Boston only for a business trip but all in all, I found the beer menu a bit weak (primarily for the lack of solid IPA's and DIPA's).

if you are in the area it's probably the best place to stop for a beer so I definitely recommend it but don't show up expecting to try world class IPA's.

I believe this place is cash only; the prices are reasonable but as any beer geek knows, the tabs run up quickly and a place like this really needs to take plastic. who carries cash these days?

Photo of bierschmecktgut
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Usually dark in this bowling alley looking hole in the wall.

Service is usually spot on, food and drink menus are on the table.

Selection of beers is pretty outstanding but this is a definite must visit for people looking to try new brews.

food is typical bar food with a twist, peanut butter burgers, white trash dip and specials all the time.

It's known that Bukowskis it pricey for the rarer beers but where else can you get them? Lots of people in here for just for food got a cheaper beer near by.

Photo of tang3nt
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

On a recent trip to New England, my lady and I noticed this place while on a bus and had to check it out.
This place has all kinds of Bukowski stuff inside. Pretty cool vibe, very dark and chill - good music also. At the time they had a beer writing contest going on. I also found out they have a "dead authors club" where if you try all of their bottled beer(I think over 100) in 6 months then you get your own mug or something. Pretty cool. Aside from a pretty large bottle list, they had about 12-15 craft beers from all over the place. Prices were a little steep, that's my only complaint. Overall my lady and I loved this spot, took a bunch of pics of the stuff on the walls and ended up buying a shirt for a few friends who also enjoy Bukowski. If in the area, a must see in my book. Also nearby is Lord Hobo, another beer bar.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

nice little bar named after the writer and poet charles bukowski, and probably a tavern he'd have appreciated. sort of no frills, low-key atmosphere with a great beer menu (the best that i frequent in this area of the city).

bukowski's strength is clearly it's bottle menu, which is plentiful and features a good range of locals, out-of-state brews, seasonals, and belgians. there is a rotating draft lineup that can be hit or miss. last time i was in i had a pesto burger that was pretty tasty, esp for pub fare. one downside is that bukowski's is cash only - who has cash these days? the other is that it's relatively small so it can fill up quickly and get fairly loud. regardless, definitely worth the trip if you're in the area.

Photo of david18
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

As soon as I saw this place I knew I was gonna like it. First of all was the name. the I asked the bartender what the name came from and she told me that it is "The name of a poet who the owners likes". That's the answer I was hoping for. I'm a huge Bukowski fan. Then there was the atmosphere. Little place with a great bright orange entrance. Nice and kiinda seed inside. Small bar but a surprisingly good selection. I had looked online for the best beer places in Boston and this place didn't come up. Fortunately it was across the street from my hotel.

Bartenders are knowledgable and very nice. I liked this place a lot and will go back next time I'm in town.

Photo of mymrnngjckt
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I stopped here on one occasion during a recent trip to Boston. The atmosphere is what I love in a bar. Dark. Seedy. Loud good music playing (Tom Waits on this occasion) and non evasive service. The selection was better than I expected prior to walking in. Lots of regional craft beer and some non-regional craft also. Service was what I wanted for this occasion. They brought me beer when I needed it with no questions, no fanfare. I didn't try the food by what I saw coming out appeared to be your standard pub fare. I really enjoyed this place and I look forward to going back if the oppurtunity presents itself.

Photo of drpimento
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Neat little place, in a way. Just mid-way over the bridge from this neat old fire station. Can't miss it due to its bright orange red color. Walked in and bar was full but shortly thereafter I got a seat. Great selection of beers available on draft and in bottles including locals, regionals, macros, both craft and mass brewed. Bartender was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Patrons, on the other hand, while not rude, certainly were some of the least friendly I've ever run into: no chit chat, no eye contact, real stand offish. Would've given a better atmosphere grade but for that.

Photo of Cmack15
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Just checked this place out for the first time last night(can't believe it took so long to try this place). My friend suggested we meet up at this bar becuase he was a fan of the music and scene there. Heard all kinds of music from Johnny Cash to Depeche Mode. The bar is close to Berklee so I think they get a lot of students and young crowd but there is a mix. Beer selection was above average, they had like 8 or 9 beers on tap and decent bottle list. Beers are served with apropriate glassware too so they bartenders seem to know their stuff there. Nice decent little bar with some good brews I would reccomend it. Did not try the food but I hear the burgers are good.

Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Despite knowing that it is across from the Sheraton, I always seem to lose my way when trying to visit. The front door opens onto a large vestibule with free newspapers and an ATM. The second door opened onto the inverted "L"-shaped bar to the immediate left and the lavs to the immediate right. The foot of the "L" of the bar was very short, but the leg of the "L" was quite long and served as the anchor for both the beer engine as well as the fourteen (14) tap system. Pops Choklit Shoppe-style swiveling stools lined the front of the bar. A couple of troughs were part of the back bar and they were filled with ice to cool the BTs. Mug Club mugs hung on hooks above the bar. All of the way aft, on the left side, was the kitchen. Aft of the lavs, on the right side, was a long bench along the wall, which was fronted by eight (8) standard restaurant tables and chairs. Above one of these tables, hanging on the wall, was a charcoal portrait of Buk. Continuing aft, a short (three 3) steps led up to a restaurant area with standard tables and chairs and a dedicated server. Buk-related murals lined both walls of this area.

This ambiance was dark and Stygian, just the way Buk would have wanted it. The wood bar had a rough, worn look, again, perfect. He would have disliked the smoke-free environment, but that's just the times. What would have driven him out the door, however, was the volume of the music coming out of the stereo. Not classical, and TOO LOUD!

Cash only, for some odd reason.

On one visit, I ran into Monk's Tom Peters, and Rick Suarez and Caesar of Unibroue. Another time, I watched football near Fenway with many of the staff. It definitely bears visiting.

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Bukowski Tavern in Boston, MA
89 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.