Bukowski Tavern

Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
Bukowski TavernBukowski Tavern
Bar, Eatery

50 Dalton St
Boston, Massachusetts, 02115-3129
United States

(617) 437-9999 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 124 | Ratings: 176 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

definitely has a "dive bar" vibe - cash only, punk music playing, hipster bartender. The place is small, about 10 feet wide - fixed stools at the bar and just a few other tables. good tap list, and bottle list as well. bartender made some recommendations and was friendly. I had the peanut butter burger - it was decent.

Aug 03, 2019
Photo of zrayburton
zrayburton from Massachusetts

4.79/5  rDev +21.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

They may be cash only... They may not have 80 taps... but if we're talking beer bars in Boston, this is my home away from home. I am a proud mug clubber (not subjective AT ALL) because I have been enamored with this place for over 10 years between the draft/bottle/can variety, the staff, the vibe and the proximity to "cool stuff" in town. The vibe doesn't get a 5, not because of the place itself but because of the central location of the bar, which sometimes attracts less sophisticated Beer Drinkers/super-clueless tourists (NOT BUK's fault). This is the first place I try and bring people if they're in Boston to visit and have enough time to check out a handful of beer bars vs. breweries/taprooms.

Sep 07, 2018
Photo of JamFuel
JamFuel from Sweden

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Came here on Sunday afternoon, very nice and quiet.

Well, this is a dive bar, pretty small, cash only and one of the stranger bathrroms i've seen. One room, with a lockable door, but both a toilet and a urinal? Hmm...

Taplist wall good and varied, also a great selection of cans and bottles. Prices were very reasonable. I only had a hot dog, as I would be fed on the plane home, but the dog was very good.

The bartender was very friendly, I think her name was Joanna or something like that. Talkative and really funny. Knew a lot about the beer and breweries she was serving, which is nice. Sure, not alot of variation in glassware, but hell, its a dive bar.

This was my last bar on my Boston trip, and I'm very glad I tried it. Kind of the polar opposite in the place i was in earlier that day. Row 34, but really cool, and I will return for sure.

Mar 15, 2017
Photo of lowteck
lowteck from Massachusetts

1/5  rDev -74.6%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1 | food: 1

Bartender chastised me for not saying please.??? After attempting to order 3rd round, I made the mistake of ordering something NOT on the menu and she walked away without explaining or offering an alternative.
Jesus Christ, I have bar tended for over 8 years, and could never imagine treating patrons like this.
God help us all.
Avoid this shit hole like the plague.

Mar 05, 2017
Photo of mynie
mynie from Maryland

4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Feb 06, 2015
Photo of Jlawlaw
Jlawlaw from Massachusetts

4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Nov 04, 2013
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enulcwww from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Sep 25, 2013
Photo of smcolw
smcolw from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

May 13, 2013
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

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!

May 08, 2013
Photo of EspressoGuy
EspressoGuy from Canada (BC)

3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Apr 20, 2013
Photo of PhillyStyle
PhillyStyle from Georgia

4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Jul 10, 2012
Photo of BostonHops
BostonHops from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev 0%
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

May 16, 2012
Photo of greenengineer
greenengineer from Massachusetts

4.56/5  rDev +16%
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.

Feb 12, 2012
Photo of malthound
malthound from Colorado

3.93/5  rDev 0%
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.

Jan 08, 2012
Photo of glid02
glid02 from Georgia

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Aug 16, 2011
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Jul 06, 2011
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UDbeernut from Florida

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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!

Jun 07, 2011
Photo of jgasparine
jgasparine from Maryland

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Mar 14, 2011
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ngrosen from California

4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Feb 08, 2011
Photo of jjansen
jjansen from California

3/5  rDev -23.7%
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?

Jan 15, 2011
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bierschmecktgut from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

Jan 10, 2011
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tang3nt from California

3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

Oct 23, 2010
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perrymarcus from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev 0%
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.

Jul 21, 2010
Photo of david18
david18 from New York

4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Jul 05, 2010
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mymrnngjckt from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Jul 03, 2010
Bukowski Tavern in Boston, MA
Place rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 176 ratings