The Independent

The IndependentThe Independent
The IndependentThe Independent
Bar, Eatery

75 Union Sq
Somerville, Massachusetts, 02143-3032
United States

(617) 440-6022 | map

View: Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 28 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ridedammit
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A and I usually end up here during bad weather events, mainly because its on my way home from work in Boston and hhers from Cambridge.

There are 2 sides to Indy, there is the pub side (on the left as you enter) and the restaurant (on the right). We usually hang out in the pub, simply cause we like pubs better, the restaurant side is nice and comfortable as well, just a bit more high-end look.

Beer selection is very good, they have a nice selection of taps and bottles, most of the staff are knowledgeable about the beers (some not so much). they are never heavily invested in one type or style of beer.

Food is hit or miss, on some nights its very good, other times it seems something is amiss in the kitchen.

On the whole I like Indy, its a good beer bar that most of the time has good food.

 801 characters

Photo of celticfutblclub
4.15/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

A - perfectly setup with a restaurant and more laid back bar on one side. the other side (just a bar) cozy brick interior usually more crowded (when it is open). good diversity of people to be found in here.

Q - great quality beers (especially harder to find beers on tap). plenty of good cocktail choices as well. giving it a 3.5 instead of 4.5 because the beers here are very pricey.

Ser - service is very good and they will do anything to help with allergies or food restrictions. they are good with beers but obviously given the turnover on kegs you arent going to get expert advice on beer choices.

Sel - In my opinion the best beer selection in the Somerville/Cambridge area. Definitely carry a wide variety of styles and breweries and often you are going to find stuff on tap here that you won't in other places.

F - excellent food with a good array of foods given the menu isn't super big. food is pricer than most bars but given the quality the prices are matched correctly.

V - listed this is as very expensive but only really in relation to the beer prices. not at all uncommon to see 10 dollar drafts.

 1,118 characters

Photo of amphion1065
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

First date – Lunch, December:
New Slang is playing in the background, but for some reason I’m not annoyed – it fits. Through the huge front windows, I can see packs of bearded twenty somethings pedaling fixed gear bikes through Union Square, but I’m not annoyed by them, either. There’s a homey feel to his bar, a neighborhood quality with which I’m quickly smitten. I’m far more attracted to the beer list: it’s not like Black Albert shows up at every bar in Boston. I order a fried chicken sandwich with pickles, something of an organic/local/sustainable/hormone-free homage to Chick-fil-A. Service is a little slow, but I don’t really have anywhere to be today. Besides, the sandwich itself makes up for it: with a dash of hot sauce, it’s infinitely more than the sum of its parts. I order a Schneider Aventinus and contemplate moving to Somerville, but ultimately decide that I’m fine with a long distance relationship.

Third date – Dinner, January:
There’s been a chef change at The Indo: Mark Cina, formerly of Stoddard’s (a bar to which I’ll never return), has taken over the kitchen. He’s also taken away the fried chicken sandwich. Food prices are uniformly higher, and service seems to have gotten even slower. I start to wonder why I walked from Central Square in the dead of winter to spend two hours not eating a fried chicken sandwich. The tap list is still impressive, but Black Albert has left the building. And yet, I chalk these foibles up to The Indo’s quirky charm. I’m not in a hurry to return, but I have a feeling I will.

Fourth date – Lunch, March:
After attempting to order my first beer, I’m told that half of the tap lines are being cleaned and are thus out of commission. I wonder why a restaurant would choose to do this on a weekend during service, but at the very least I’m glad that the lines are being cleaned at all. Unfortunately, the highlight of the remaining taps is Czechvar – I settle for a Gansett. Twenty minutes later, my warm pint arrives. I remember this taste: three years ago, summertime, sitting on a college green sipping just-purchased beer and feeling a little rebellious. The thrill is gone now, and the beer tasted better out of a tallboy. The fried chicken sandwich is still missing. Perhaps the charm is, too. I have a feeling this isn’t going to get better.

 2,361 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I've been to the bar side, I've been to the dining side. Sometimes on the same night. I like that I can switch my atmosphere by going to either side. The bar side tends to be livlier and has board games to play.

Service is average, which is to say good for the Cambridge area. I've seen bartenders clean the bar before asking me if I mighnt perchance want something to drink which annoys me. At least they are freindly when they get around to me. The servers seem to be more prompt than the bartenders.

I've had a few bad pours but other than that beers come in appropriate glassware and taste fresh and clean.

The tap list is written on a chalk board outside which I like--it's like window shopping for beer. A fine mix of locals, American craft and imports but I especially notice a trend toward California beers i.e. Bear Republic, Stone, Lagunitas, etc.. Often they have one-offs and hard to find beers such as Racer X and Harpoon Oyster Stout.

The food is average but doesn't live up to the price.

 1,010 characters

Photo of Jayli
4.15/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Met up with some friends last week who live in Somerville for some good eats and good beers. I had checked out the website prior to going, but it appears their beer list is not updated often.
The Independent has two sides to it, a dining area and a pub area. Pub area is rather small, slightly rustic, dimly lit. Dining side has a bar, tv's as well, plus plenty of tables and booths. It has a older pub feel to it. This place has roughly 15 beers on tap, which seems to change relatively often and a healthy number of bottle offerings (including some decent Belgian offerings): consumed that evening was Bear Republic Racer X on tap, Delerium Tremens on tap, Stome Smoked Porter, Pork Slap, and Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut Down Ale.
The food was rather tasty, had a thai steak salad which was damn tasty, though a smaller portion. Counters parts were also very happy with their orders (I don't recall what they got).
The service was good, beer served in the appropriate glassware, prices are a bit pricey - I'd actually say on the higher side of reasonable. It's a nice place to go, and would certainly go again!

 1,127 characters

Photo of SunDevilBeer
2.3/5  rDev -42.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 1.5

****Re-review 07/09/11. Original review was A- ****

Only the 2nd re-review on BA, but it needed to be done. I loved this place at one point, but they have new owners now (assholes from the defunct Ivy in Boston and current proprietors of the Foundry on Main & Stoddard's) & now the place sucks. Summary of FAILS in my last 2 recent visits:

1) Biscuits & gravy for Sunday brunch was an absolute embarrassment. There were like 5 tiny sausage bits in the gravy and the biscuits were stale and cold in the middle (pre-frozen). How a kitchen could let this go is beyond me.

2. Beer prices used to be reasonable, now they are in the stratosphere. $7.75 for a short poured foamy Jack D'or? DFH Festina Peche, preciously poured for $8 and tasting worse than Magic Hat #9???

3. Snotty hipster service at its worst. Sorry I'm such an inconvenience to order food and drinks here and interrupting their chit chatting with other staff and friends.

4. Different crowd hanging here than there used to be. Lots of craft beer newbies, ultra hipsters, poseurs. Ick.

5. Board games are all but gone. A few sad games remain with pieces missing/broken.

I'm done with the Indo.


I started coming to the Indo 6 mos ago at the

recommendation of a co-worker, and it has become one of my favorite bars in the Boston area.

Definitely has a chill vibe, it's relaxed. A few flat screens for catching some sports, and funky music played via Ipod (at a decent level) for conversation. Board games such as Connect Four and Scrabble are available too (big plus).

Nice selection of 15 rotating taps, ranging from local offerings (Fishermans Doppelback) and other locales (Stone Smoked Arrogant Bastard, a few Belgian selections), plus a tight bottle list. Beers are in good shape, reasonably priced, and with the proper amount of head.

Entree selections are a tad overpriced and a little reaching, but as long as you stay with the pub grub and apps they're OK.

This a great place to kill a few hours, have a few brews and hang with friends. Service is always prompt and friendly.

 2,064 characters

Photo of mungersmurf
4.47/5  rDev +12%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I go to the Independent enough that the bartenders know my name. I prefer the pub side for the atmosphere, and the food is good if you stick to the appetizers and sandwiches. I find most of the proper entrees to be overpriced for the quality.

That said, I love this place. They have an ever-changing beer menu of bottles and taps with a good mix of styles. The staff know about the beer, will always let you try if you seem unsure, and once they get to know you and your taste, will reccommend something or let you know if they have the last bottle of something you've enjoyed in the past (ahhh, my Brown Shugga). Sometimes you have to seek out the staff when they're busy, but they're never rude and usually just busy.

The atmosphere is great, too. Dark and cozy. I've been there probably 30 times and the music was only too loud once. There are games to play if you so choose. Very homey.

 892 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
4.03/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Was in the neighborhood and stopped in just a little after opening one day, so the service team may have been eager to get their setups in so they were around and about quite a bit since there were only 1-2 customers at the bar. Still, the bartender seemed knowledgable if not omnipresent.

This place is old and dark - good to sit and read the paper. Two TVs on the bar side tuned to something useless, but that's OK. Weird music - that's the crew's choice. It's a Somerville thing - whenever I go into a beer/wine purveyor in Somerville I get an eclectic mix of tunes it seems.

I like their 15 taps - mix of locals and even a few Belgian offerings. Houblon La Choufe Dobbelen IPA Trippel (sic?) on tap? Bring it on - same for Hennepin. Served in proper glassware - maybe a little small but that's OK - pours were good. The Houblon at $8 a pour seems a little heavy, but $5 for a Hennepin is in the ballpark.

Didn't get a chance to try the chow. Maybe next time. I liked the place and will be back.

 1,002 characters

Photo of Applesauce1
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I came here while visiting my buddy that lives in Boston. We came around 11 pm on a Friday night. The atmosphere here is very nice. Decent sized crowd, but not too many people. Music playing, but not blaring. You can hold a conversation with someone here. They had a few tvs showing some sports over the bar. I had two glasses of good craft beer here. I forget at the moment what they were...but they were good. Bartenders were friendly here also. Selection was good, but nothing great. Maybe 10 or so craft brews in addition to the standard bar line up. Prices seemed reasonable for this part of town. I plan to come back again sometime.

 638 characters

Photo of nfo
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Ate on the left side (the pub) - the dining room feels a little stuffy (agree that the TV on that side seems out of place). In the pub, there are plenty of nice TVs - good atmosphere for sports fans. Overall, the concept seems a little schizophrenic - I think it would be better if the whole space had the gastropub feel that the left side does.

Service was a little slow, but it was crowded with a Sox playoff game on. At the very beginning, before it was crowded, we had a good first impression - later, the server was too busy but service was adequate.

The beer was all in good shape, and they have some of the proper glassware (imperial pint for Guiness, goblets for some Belgian styles). Most beers are served in shaker pints, which was fine for what I ordered. The selection is excellent, skewed towards American and Belgian styles. Good representation of less common regional brewers like Rock Art, Berkshire, Sixpoint. Some usual craft beer suspects like Ommegang, Brooklyn, Stone, Lagunitas. Some less common like Founders and Great Divide. And some imports, mostly Belgian.

I thought the food was very well executed. Pub standards like fish and chips (thick batter with herbs, so purists may want to avoid) and grilled sandwiches were all good. I like the thin cut fries. Oysters were reported to be high quality. Some more interesting items, like the smoked trout fritters, were tasty and unique. The pork cheek special was great - braised, shredded and then lightly breaded and fried, served with concord grapes and a nice reduction.

 1,548 characters

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Hit the bar section twice, better atmosphere for me. Dark and very pub-ish

Hmmm ... The first visit it felt like a dream. Deviled Eggs & Toasted Steak & Cheese for starters and beers from Stone, Bear Republic, Sixpoint, Dogfish, Lagunitas, etc. A nice mix of heavy hitters to some regulars. About 20 beers on tap and a solid bottle selection.

The second visit was the second dream all over again. More Deviled Eggs though changed it up with the Trout Friters and Crab Cakes. Stone Bitter Chocolate and Stone Anniversary Beer with a few other heavy hitters during the night.

Never prodded the staff about the beer too much though they seemed to be knowledgeable to what they were serving. Everything was served in the usual logo pints ... at least they where beer clean. I would not miss the big screen TVs if they disappeared, distracting and sometimes hard to carry on a conversation with that and the music. Either way a great place to chill and have a few ... eggs and beer.

 980 characters

Photo of charlieford
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This place is ok, but it does not deserve an "A."

The bartenders are kids who are obsessive about beer, but that doesn't mean they are good. Bartending is about service, not about knowing about hops. I have waited for a while to be served here.

There are better bars in Union Square where these kids can learn about service. P.A.'s Lounge is one.

I would also like to see more local beers on tap.

Yes, the Independent is worth visiting--the selection is good and the food is good-- but bars are about more than selection. There is no local feel or flavor to the Independent.

 580 characters

Photo of MGambleWWS
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went to the Independent on a Saturday night around 9:00 PM. Got a little lost on the way, but eventually made it there. Medium sized crowd hanging around the bar watching (and strangely enough cheering for) what looked like women's tennis. Cool music was playing the whole time, loud but not enough to drown out a conversation.

We ordered a few Smooth Hoperators, and grabbed a table a little out of the way. I had heard about the deviled egg's from a friend so we ordered some of those and a cheese plate and frites. The food came promptly and was delicious.

By this time the bartender was routinely checking up with us and we chatted about different beers, he was very nice and willing to shoot the shit about oatmeal stouts and dark wheat beers all night!

Overall this place is a good value, you get full pint's at a reasonable price, good food and great service! It's a great place to go and chill out for a while and have a few beers without breaking the bank.

 969 characters

The Independent in Somerville, MA
Place rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 28 ratings