Redbones Barbeque


116 Reviews
Redbones BarbequeRedbones Barbeque

Type: Bar, Eatery

55 Chester St
Somerville, Massachusetts, 02144-3001
United States

(617) 628-2200 | map

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Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 153
Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I have been to Redbones three times and each time I've been underwhelmed when compared to other rib joints around Boston. Redbones is reputed to be the very best, but every time, I've received overcooked ribs that are dried out and burnt on the outside.

The beer selection is extensive, even featuring a cask-conditioned choice. There are a few macros, but the menu is geared to beer connoisseurs with a good variety of IPA's and Belgians and a smattering of others. Each time, I received a fresh beer with the proper glass.

I have found the service to be uniformly friendly and efficient.

So, in a nutshell, the beer is good to excellent, the food is over-stated and the service is good.

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Photo of DNICE555
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I actually visted this place in October a couple days before Halloween on my way up to Salem,MA. Before I even walked in I noticed a red truck with some dummies set up in for Halloween... I love it. The service was decent. Nobody was overly friendly. The selection was pretty good. A nice chalkboard list of taps including a cask. I really liked that you could get a sampler which contains 5 samples. I love this especially in a bar with so many choices. I believe it was only about 8 dollars too. A good BBQ spot for food.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A packed 2 level restaurant with 2 bars (upper/lower). Alot of seating, but fills very fast, particularly on the weekend. Loud, busy, and packed in. Downstairs has funky decor and is a bit more manageable.

Good tap and bottle selection, from some higher end brews to PBR to Bud. They are frequently out of some beers, but you can always find something you'd like. Some oddities present as well, which is fun. Food and brew were decent and nothing was really off.

Busy busy. Waitress was cool and understandably distracted, but we still got our food and beverages without too much of a wait. Refills? A little tougher, but you can elbow your way to the bar too. Bartenders aren't much for chit-chat, but neither am I.

Food is good BBQ, but far from great. Some things are better than others, but overall, a decent meal (c'mon, this is New England barbeque, not North Carolina).

Noth the cheapest place either. Drafts and bottles are on the higher end, and the food, while alot of it, isn't cheap.

Overall, a decent place. Much more fun, funny enough, when things are a bit less busy.

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Photo of Jayli
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I hadn't been to RedBones in roughly 10 years, so thanks to Tigg924 for reintroducing me to this place.
Hit this place up on a Wednesday night around 6pm. It's a good thing that we got there when we did because this place got PACKED real quick! This place is two levels. On the first floor is a bar to your left and a dining area to your right. The dining area upstairs is rather cramped. Downstairs is another dining area that is nicely spread out and another bar. The walls are decorated with cool abstract art.
Service was really nice. Our waitress was on top of things and courteous. She joked around with us. The downside - after we finished our dinner and were ordering more beers, she let us know that unless we were eating more, we would have to go to the bar. Not her fault, but hey - still kinda sucked.
Nice selection of beers here - roughly 25 taps and a cask. Assortment of local, belgian and other craft brews. Between the two of us, we got our hands on 21st Golden Doom, BBC Coffehouse Porter, CBC Darkest Night, Sixpoint Brownstone, Shakespeare Stout, and Pretty Things Jack D'or.
The food here is freaking great. It's not true down south BBQ but hell if it isn't a damn good replica! Pulled chicken was tasty, mac n cheese, beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. Turn around form when we ordered to when we got the food was damn fast too!
Overall, a nice place to pop in and get some good grub, and good beer!

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Parking in Union Square sucks. A lot.

The crowd is a primarily young but fairly diverse mix of hipsters, punkers, and college students. Downstairs has some impressive, colorful artwork of gremlins, pirates, and babies with fire coming out of their asses that some one obviously spent a lot of time on. Your party gets it's own table if you sit down there. Upstairs are long lines of tables in which people you don't know sit next to you. Sometimes that's a fun idea. Other times (true story) you may be sitting next to the guy with whom you got in a fight with over a parking spot outside minutes before and that makes for a really awkward dinner.

The food is good for the area (I like it better than Roadhouse even when Roadhouse still had the smoker) but it's not like anyone from Texas or Tennessee will be impressed. For $8.99 you can get a pulled whatever sandwich with 2 sides and a slice of cornbread--that's not too shabby. For what it's worth the jerk pork is extremely inconsistent and sometimes will fine while other times it will set your mouth on fire.

They have a fairly large taplist (15ish?) and one cask. Despite often having obscure and sometimes rare beers, the drafts aren't very focused and can be unbalanced in favor of certain styles. They do have a good bottle list to make up for any discrepancies however.

While servers aren't uniquely personable or friendly they are very attentive and empty plates are immediately carried away and I've never had an issue with getting what I ordered.

I've been here a few times and the biggest compliment I can give it is the fact that I keep coming back.

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Photo of tigg924
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Redbones is one of my favorite places in Boston to grab a beer and food. The food is good barbeque for the Boston area. It does not compare with southern barbeque, but if you like the style, it is fairly easy to find something tasty. There are some values on the menu. The restaurant has three different areas: a standard restaurant area upstairs, a tight bar area--complete with the select a beer wheel, and a relaxed darkened bar with seating downstairs. The downstairs is my favorite as they have pictures of colorful dog bones on the ceiling. Redbones is usually packed around dinner time, so often there is a wait. The draft beer list is on the slightly expensive side, but often has harder to find drafts. They do a good job in mixing domestic and foreign, as well as highlighting local beers. The prices are slightly more expensive than other places, but the atmosphere is worth it. Redbones remains one of my favorite Boston haunts. Go hungry for some good food and to try a few good brews.

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Photo of Viggo
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Went to get some beer and lunch before the NotF. Has a really cool vibe, old school looking like it hasn't been renovated or fixed up for a couple decades. Because they don't care and people come there for the food and beer, the kind of place I like. The beer menu was pretty solid, they tapped a fresh cask of Mayflower IPA when we asked for it. The $9 rib special for lunch we got could feed a small family, pretty wicked value for the price. I sure as shit could't finish it all. Beer was a little pricy relative to other Boston spots. Service was excellent, very quick and attentive. All in all, awesome BBQ and a great beer list. Need I say more?

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Great service right at the opening hour (which is a good 30 min. earlier than most beer bars in Boston area). Twenty something taps to choose from featured a lot of regional craft, in addition to a cask ale that was quite tasty. The spinning wheel on the wall can help for those indecisive folks who cannot choose a beer in a timely manner.

I did not order from the BBQ focused menu but the corn fritters and/or hush puppies looked like good accompaniments for beer. Founders Breakfast was on tap while here, as well as many imperial stouts and IPA's. Prices were not bad.

Good location off the red line in Davis Square and close to a great coffee shop across the street - Diesel cafe.

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Photo of HT75
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Redbones is a haunt. That's the best way you can describe the joint. It's an easy walk fron the T station at Davis. There is an amazing beer selection for such a tiny place. And they have a wheel if you don't know what to have. The staff isn't professional in any sense, they just do what they have to. But they are usually very friendly so they get extra points The beer is expensive, however, as the pours seem to be short., so don't plan on spending the evening just there. The bar also is very small, so you may not even have a chance to sit down some nights. It's one of the few BBQ joints around, so it makes dining better than a lot of beer bars. However, I but a 3 for food because people should know that the BBQ is considered sub par by anyone that knows their BBQ. That's not just my opinion. But its BBQ. It would be considered the quality of national chain pizza up against something from the North End of Boston. it won't hold a candle to the good stuff, but it'll satisfy a craving for BBQ. I just want to make that clear because I've sent people there for the beer and they've been ticked at me because of the BBQ.
Anyway a fun place.
I like to add, been there multiple times, so it isn't a one experience review.

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Photo of Darkhorse09
4.22/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A southern style bbq joint that is often crowded and knows their beer and ribs. Not a fancy spot...don't come if you want to spend 3 hours romantically chatting with a date over a clean, easy to eat meal. If, however, you know what you're getting into, then you'll really enjoy this place.

It was crowded. But isnt that the sign of something good? If people are willing to wait for small tables and a crowded bar, the product must be worth it.

Upwards of 20 beers on tap, which rotates frequently. I have gone to just the bar three times and each time the tap selection was new, except for the non-exciting standard beers (Guinness, PBR, macros etc). IPA heavy list, much of which is local. If you like porters/ interesting stouts this is not the place for you. 4-5 Belgians on tap and always at least 1 cask.

Food was tasty. Order the ribs and get all the sauces if you are new to southern food. delicious sides, esp. the mac n cheese, hushpuppies and slaw.

Bartender knows the beers well. Waitress had prepared a speech for first time diners regarding the menu. Enjoyed the ribs and my friend's catfish sandwich was good too. You will leave FULL.
Good value. Fun, active and loud atmostphere. Would go again!

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Photo of Deuane
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

CRAZY crowded and no we cannot seat your party unless EVERYONE is here. Well, shit...oh, Sixpoint stuff on draft if I could only get the pint to my mouth without being jossled from every angle. They should not allow this many people in one area.

Seated...finally! Service, quick, efficient and friendly....despite the crazed atmosphere.

Food....solid Que but nothing outstanding. Sides on the other hand, outstanding for sure! Heck, next time I will eat nothing but sides! Oh, proportions are HUGE! If you dont get full here your name must be Joey Chestnut!

A good place that I would go back to again, but not on a Friday night!

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I had a good time. My wife and I went on a Sunday afternoon around 2pm for a late lunch. I liked the atmosphere and vibe of the place, but I'll be perfectly honest in that it was not a busy time and we had no wait and weren't crowded. If it were the other way around it would have been miserable. To put it politely it would be considered "cozy" with zero elbow room. The place wasn't very big and all the tables were pretty close together. It looked very homey, like "we are who we are" type place. You could see into the kitchen and see the food being prepared. The place didn't look dirty but at the same time it wasn't a fine dining type place either, had a laid back pub feel at the same time. The service was good, we had a hostess sit us down, a waitress take our order, a server bring us our beer, and a separate server bring us our food, so I'm guessing they split tips. Like alot of BBQ places the portions were generous and we found the prices to be very, very reasonable. The beer list was excellent. There were I think 28 different brews on tap and according the waitress they rotate a lot of them. I found the beer to be pretty fresh overall but my wife got a Ipswich Summer Ale that wasn't very cold. I had a tough time deciding what I wanted so I got a sampler. That was another thing that was pretty cool. You could get a sampler of either 3 or 4 beers whichever you wanted and put any of the beers with the exception of the Belgium beers for $7 and if you wanted to sample the Belgium beers it was $9. I was glad they did that because I was in a kind of picky mood at the time. I plan on going back again sometime soon, hopefully it won't be busy again.

One thing I found kind of funny, there was a group of people at the bar screaming watching a soccer game on one end, while the sox were playing on the other end on TV and nobody was paying attention, just thought it was kind of funny.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Our first stop of the evening (Friday night) and it was freaking packed. Stood in the super crowded bar while waiting for our table with barely enough elbow room to raise my beer to my mouth. Luckily, there was a Sixpoint draft event a day or so prior to our visit and many of their beers were still on. I ordered the super tasty Bengali IPA while we waited and before I was halfway thru my glass, we were seated. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich platter. Maybe I'm used to Q in the south, but this (the pork) was sort of a let down. Although it was tender and plentiful, it was rather bland. Do they even have a smoker here? I detected zero smokiness in the meat. The sides were a different story and sort of a redeemer. Some of the best potato salad I've ever had. The cornbread was fresh and the beans were delicious. I'll give 'em this though, the sandwich was huge. I was attacking it for quite a while and it didn't seem like I was getting anywhere. Service was very fast, friendly and attentive considering how crowded the place was. We also noticed the chalkboard with the tap list being updated each time a keg would kick and were also informed of the changes by our server. Glad I was able to check this place out.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Ahh...Redbones. Years of living in Boston will see you within the confines of this Somerville landmark from time to time. I miss it now that I left the city and get back whenever I can.

Redbones is what it is. Its a crowded, packed, loud bbq join with some awesome beers. The bar area is almost always standing room and plan on at least a short wait if you want to sit down in the dining room. At night Underbones, downstairs, is worth checking out as well.

Great, reasonably priced BBQ. Its sloppy, its authentic and its great.

Beer selection is always pretty good. Today they had CBC Milk Stout, Racer 5, Bear Republic Apex, BBC Coffee House Porter to name a few. They also do a Northwest night that is pretty popular and a few weeks ago they had 18 kegs of Sixpoint on tap at the same time. Holy crap!

I love Redbones. The pint of Racer 5 I had today was one of the freshest West Coast IPA's I've ever had!

HINT: Sit up where the kitchen/smoker/pit is and they'll give you a free appetizer most times while they sling meat around.

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Photo of Trailmix242
2.93/5  rDev -29.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Was at Redbones recently and was a little disappointed. This was the second time I had been there and found the service pretty lacking. They do make a consistent BBQ with some interesting items you will not find elsewhere. Beer selection is always pretty good with the current taps listed on a chalk board and it is frequently changed and updated. Now when it comes to pours is where they really rip you off. I do not think a single beer I got or others in my group got were filled. On some of the Belgian beers which were served in chalices the head of the beer did not even make it to the 25cl line and the beer cost $7.50! The bartenders were not attentive at all either and seemed like they did not want to be bothered. Will I go again probably since some of my friends like it but it will not be my suggestion.

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Photo of gfreed
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Redbones is small, dirty, crowded, loud and busy but still worth the trip and the hassle. The food is decent and the beer list is deep and wide, both on tap and in bottles. The beer menu includes an ABV for every listing, which is quite helpful in choosing what to drink. Pricing by the pint is fair; small print on a table-top tent says that they will pour any tap beer into 10oz or 12oz glasses (with prorated prices) but you must ask the server. They've recently expanded their tap offerings from Sixpoint, too. Go early for best seating; otherwise be prepared to wait in the tiny entry or out on the sidewalk.

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Photo of benhamean
4/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

My first review!

Redbones can be one of the funnest places on the planet- you just have to be in the right frame of mind.. you will:
1. have to wait, probably
2. be stuffed in, probably
3. be subjected to loud, boisterous, and no nonsense (but almost invariably good-natured) patrons and staff.
4. get very full.
5. have a lot of quality beers on hand from which to sample.

If you want a quiet place to sit peacefully and contemplate your beer leisurely- Redbones isn't that place. If you want gourmet fare, or even A+ BBQ, Redbones isn't that place either.

To me, Redbones is the perfect combo of vast quantities of unpretentious meat, fun-loving unpretentious people, and great beer. It will probably always be at the top of my places with the best atmosphere to try out some new ales- I envision Valhalla as being at least a little like Redbones...

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Photo of jeff2486
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The beer here is the star 24 tap lines and at least one cask. Today I had Opa Opa IPA, Southern Tier Unearthy, Nugget Nectar, Dales Pale Ale, Lost Sailor IPA.

They update their list pretty often at

They always have quite a few selection I want to try with a variety of local, west coast, regional, and belgian available. The beer changes quite frequently which is nice for a place that I go to a good amount.

The food here is not spectacular, but I think a lot on the menu is very good. I mostly stick to the sandwhiches (pulled pork, pulled beef, brisket) as I have found they are as good as anywhere and they also give you plenty of meat. If I were just rating the sandwiches I would give the place a 4.5 or 5. I also like the beans they give you with the sanwhich platters. I haven't found too many sides that are worth it. I've had the corn fritters, fries, mash potatoes, mac and cheese, and catfish nuggets. They were all fine, but nothing special and I wouldn't recommend any of them to anyone.

I've never gone when it is real crowded but I have always been very pleased with the service. They are just really nice people, from the person seating you, to the people bringing the beers, to the waitresses, to the cooks (handed me some free sausage over the counter one time). Also, anytime there has ever been a slowdown with the food they have always apologized and checked on things immediately.

I really enjoy redbones, the prices are pretty moderate and the beer selection is always great. I've never had a bad service experience and love the sandwiches.

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Photo of joebrewer
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I had lunch here to celebrate their 7 casks in 7 days event. They listed 2 casks on the menu when I was there, but after ordering a black and tan from Berkshire on cask that was really strange, I realized that they only had one cask on tap and just served me a scotch ale instead of what I ordered. My scores would have been higher if this mix up didn't take place.

Selection: St. Barnadus 8, Berkshire scotch ale (cask), Founder's Breakfast Stout, 60 min IPA, Sixpoint, etc.

Food: Good BBQ for Boston, it would be average if it was down south or out west.

Service: waitresses couldn't answer questions about either the food or the beer.

Value: reasonable.

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Photo of erosier
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Awesome Place! A must try if you're in Somerville. The service is excellent. The wait for food was an hour, but the hour goes quick by going to the bar downstairs - Under Bones. The food is excellent! Best Ribs I've ever had. The beer selection is great as well. With a selection including Berkshire Brewing Co., Opa Opa, Cambridge Brewing, Stone's Ruination IPA, Harpoon, Dogfish Head, etc. The prices are reasonable and the selection was great. The atmosphere is really good too. It's a nice place to go eat and have some beers, very laid back atmosphere with great service. I highly recommend this place.

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Photo of ohmesohoppy
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A bit bright and kinda cramped at night. Downstairs seems to have a better vibe for dirnking. Everytime Ive been here the service has been very good even though it is always packed. The selection here is pretty good althought they could probably do away with the bass and guiness. They also always seem to have at least one beer that cant be found at other bar around boston which I really like as beer bars in boston seem to have same things on at the same time. I really dont see what people see in the food here I go here for the beer first then the food. Most of their food comes out dry and is reallly quite bland, but it does fill you up. I think the pulled pork and baby back ribs is the best combo.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Stopped in for dinner and a few drafts on a Wednesday night. We were seated in "Under bones", as the upstairs was packed, but no worries as the service was as prompt as could be with a full house and the Sox playoff game on. The vibe was one of an underground jazz club; minus the jazz, however this place definitely had an artistic feel to it. Pouring were about 15-20 taps all of pretty decent quality. On tap included: Piraat, Stone 11th Anniversary, Stone IPA, Oskar Blues Impy Stout, Smutty IPA, Harpoon Triticus, etc. The bottle list was approximately 10 deep and nothing really to take your eyes away from the taps. I've been looking forward to sampling the BBQ at Redbones since moving to the area, and I'm afraid my expectations may have been inflated. The menu seemed extensive, but the brisket I ordered was only slightly above average for a place supposed to be known for its 'Q'. This place reminded me of Eli Cannon's or The Great Lost Bear regarding selection, with the addition of two or three high end/rarities. (Warning: parking in the surrounding Somerville area is a bitch, and be prepared to pay a ticket if you illegally park).

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of my favorite BBQ and beer establishments in the Boston area. I've never had a bad experience there, and I've spent a lot of time there. To begin, they always have an outstanding selection of beers available, which change on a fairly regular basis. Most of the Trappists, some other fine Belgians, and lots of US micros are available, and of course, who can resist a 16oz. of Schlitz?

The food is outstanding as well, by far some of the best BBQ I've had in Boston. I've never had a meal there that I haven't liked. Price-wise, it's a little high, but given its reputation and popularity, it's somewhat expected. Still, I highly recommend it.

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Photo of albern
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I remember when this place opened and I used to live in West Somerville. I was a pretty regular customer. I've only been in there a few times in the last couple of years, but the beer selection has always been first rate, and the owners are quite active sponsors of good beer events. The food is good if you are into messy barbeque. The only downside is that the bar room is quite narrow and separated from the restaurant which means that a few dozen people standing will make it very packed in that area. The restaurant is always crowded which invariably means that there are plenty of people waiting in the bar area. The downstairs is a bit dark and low ceilinged for my tastes. Red Bones is a great place for people who like beer variety. On the way home, go to Elm Street Liquors just down the street for a truly impressive variety of beers to takeout.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.43/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is amazing.

Outside there were several people milling around and we were told there would be a wait for a table, but there was space at the bar facing the kitchen. This was a very cool experience, it was essentially like being in the kitchen. About a foot away were the cooks frantically turning out BBQ dishes for what seemed like 250 people. To the left of me were the friendly wait staff hurriedly picking up dishes.

Considering how packed the place was, I wasnt expecting service to be very quick but immediately after sitting down, a waiter was taking our drinks order. In the meantime, one of the chefs in the kitchen gave us a free pork rib appetizer.

The menu is expansive with dozens and dozens of bbq items. I had a pulled pork plate and my friend had a beef brisket plate. Everything was good, the mashed potatoes and corn bread were amazing. The beer menu wasnt as big as I expected but it was extremely high quality, with a focus on local stuff and hoppy stuff. I got an Opa Opa IPA which was way too quaffable in the summer heat, then a Racer 5 IPA. Both tasted fresh and were served at the right temp. Brooklyn Blast was available on cask and for some inexplicable reason I didnt try it.

The atmosphere of the place was frenetic, with every seat taken and people walking around all over the place. There was lots of beerphanalia and texas kitsch all over the walls. Along with the picnic bench like tables, rockabilly music and expansive menu this place must be the most authentic BBQ place Ive ever visited.

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Redbones Barbeque in Somerville, MA
4.18 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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