Bukowski Tavern

Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
Bar, Eatery

1281 Cambridge St
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139-1338
United States

(617) 497-7077 | map
bukowskitavern.net

Notes:
PLACE STATS
Average:
3.91
Reviews:
59
Ratings:
78
pDev:
9.72%
View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 78 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by FrankLloydMike:
Photo of FrankLloydMike
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Glider
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Big tap list with a lot of good choices, solid burger and tots with a range of sauces on the table, and garage doors that open in the summer make this place a good choice if you're in the area. The knock was always that the beer was a couple bucks more than most other places, but I feel that is less the case now.

 314 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Popped in here last Saturday about 5:00 and the place was just starting to fill up. Has a modern open feel, slightly industrial but open. I did notice that they had descriptions of beer styles on the walls as part of the decor. Taplist was very good. About 30 different offerings with locals and imports being well represented. Prices are above what I pay locally, but not unreasonable. Did not stay for food, but my wife did have a mixed drink and she really liked it. Not a place i would search out for, but we have several restaurants we like in the area. This seems to be a perfect place to hit before our reservations.

 631 characters

Photo of flek
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A solid spot if you are in the Cambridge area. A nice tap list that featured various styles and nice selection of interesting beer. Definitely has a college bar feel and was packed with students and hard to find a seat. If you are in the area, it is wotrh checking out just to see what they might be pouring.

 311 characters

Photo of jtk21351
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of Ajlvt
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of SharkNado
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

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

Photo of Dicers
3.95/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of rjp217
3.91/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of nkelley77
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of harsley
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Boston71
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of mklisz
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of chrisharris
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ivyman
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of SweetChicken
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of smcolw
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of doremite
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of BostonPhilly
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of tegelaar
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of brureview
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
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 +8.7%

Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge, MA
Place rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 78 ratings