Redbones Barbeque

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Redbones BarbequeRedbones Barbeque
155 Ratings
Redbones BarbequeRedbones Barbeque

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(617) 628-2200 | map

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Ratings: 155 |  Reviews: 116
Photo of slander
4.38/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5


Had to go. Have wanted to go for some time now, and the AOBF afforded me the opportunity. Headed out with Davo, Spesh and Heather after a long long day and caught a great damn meal.
The place was jammin' but that's what you get for rolling in on a Saturday night after 7 PM. Spotted the beer wheel, and thought better than to spin after I saw some of the things on it. Took a Stone Smoked Porter because I could and we headed downstairs to wait upwards of an hour for a table (which is by no means whatsoever a complaint, we knew what we were getting ourselves into). The lower floor is seating area with a bunch of close tight tables and a bar area. The whole room is a collage of these oddly cartoonish aliens and animals (and "Spock") with painted brightly colored everywhere. It's like Keith Haring on paper (you either get that or you don't. I make no apologies). Got a good look at the beer wheel. Not crazily great, although reasonably with rotations, it can go hit or miss. Finally, a table. There's just too damn much on the menu to easily chose for. Ribs, ribs, ribs, ribs and ribs. I went with some sampler that afforded me a ridiculous amount of food. I think there were beans and slaw nestled beneath but I never got down that far. The food was outstanding. A must if you do the barbque thing and you're within 100 miles of Somerville.

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Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Finally made it to this well heralded Boston area location. Funky, southern BBQ shack sort of motif, the bar to the left and the small open kitchen straight ahead as you enter. Pleanty of quality brew available on the ever changing tap list and a respectable selection of quality bottles. The food really is a big part of the draw here, we had excellent pulled pork, brisket and frid fish in sandwedges to stay and to go. Service was very quick, friendly and attentive. Will definatly be back for the BBQ, friendly service and atmosphere and quality beers. Had oaked Arrogant Bastard (on tap) for the first time to boot! Well worth a visit if your'e anywhere near the Boston/ Somerville Mass area.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Not was I lucky enough to get here once during my recent trip to the AoBF2 Stammtisch Festival, but I got here twice.

The first visit was an impromptu break from the all-day Stammtisch. BeerFinancier, BierMansGirl and a few other BA’s fancied something more than Pretzels and Wurst, to soak up the excellent flowing alcohol, as well as getting some fresh air. So we left the Stammtisch with a mission for some wholesome food, & after flagging down a Taxi-Cab - ended up at the infamous RedBones.

The traditional looking wooden bar runs down the left-hand side, as you enter. A full wall runs parallel to, and about 6 feet in front of, the bars counter. To your right immediately as you enter is the entrance to the upstairs dining are that lies behind the wall in front of the bar. We were here for the food and after collecting a drink at the bar we took our seats in the dining area and enjoyed a hearty, well-priced meal. The Jerk Beef Sandwich I had was excellent and spicy as I had hoped. But better than that, I had the chance to drink a Cantillon Kriek served on tap, which was stupendously marvelous. The McNeill’s ESB was also very good. In addition to about the 20-25 beers on draft, it also sells a Cask beer via Beer Engine, although the one I had was flat, lacked vitality & carbonation – this is so often a case of using hard & soft spiles incorrectly, or not using hard spiles at all to control the release of dissolved carbon dioxide in the cask. Still, it is true to say that this is a widespread problem I find in the US as a whole when I come across cask beer, so it’s not just peculiar to just Redbones, a minor ‘beef’ really.

There is also a bar downstairs but we only visited this for a brief look when I attended Redbones the second time on the Sunday after the Post-Stammtisch Party at the Boston Beer Works – North Station when PatandDavid showed myself, xlperro & BochTech the brightly decorated underground bar – recognizable from so many of bennybrew’s photo’s from a previous BA Social.

After having heard so much about this place, I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. Drawbacks are its popularity, which can make it busy at times, and I could not get used to going behind the end of bar to get to the Gents upstairs Toilet – weird.

Overall, a great selection of Beer in a ‘down to earth’ environment, that has the added bonus of selling some wholesome Barbeque food, which all makes for a superb establishment.

Last Visit: 9/13 & 9/14

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Photo of morebeergood
4/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I've been here about 6 times for dinner, so this past Sunday was the first time I had eaten here for lunch. It was the first stop our Red Sox / Yankees afternoon pub crawl. It was still pretty crowded even on a Sunday, and I was surprised to learn they don't open the downstairs in afternoon. Luckily, we snagged two seats at the bar. I will have to admit, I come here more for the food than the beer. This place is bbq heaven. I had a nice sausage dinner plate and my wife had the pulled chicken plate. Both were, as usual, outstanding. The service and atmosphere here are pretty good, for a fast paced crowded restaurant. I tried the Left Hand Milk Stout and the Houblon Chouffe, while she had the Stone Smoked Porter and the Smuttynose Impy Stout. All were excellent choices. I wish I lived closer to Redbones, as this is my ideal spot for a great dinner and some good brews in a fun environment.

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Photo of seanchai
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Dicers
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of Bierman9
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Redbones is a very interesting bier-bar, indeed!! Quite the odd decor, especially downstairs at Underbones... Bones has a most decent selection (usually 22 or so) of micros; mostly from the local area but also from the west coast and Europe. Decent bottle offerings, too (Schlenkerla Rauchbier! Aventinus!! Mmmm!!) They even do a cask-conditioned bier from time to time. I do wish they'd serve 'em less cold, though. BBQ is verry good, with great lunch specials. A must if you're in the area! Zum Wohl!!!

overall: 4.5
atmosphere: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$


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Photo of yemenmocha
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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 costanzo_mike
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Jason
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25

Photo of francisweizen
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Redbones is quite an awesome little restaurant and beer bar near Davis Square in Somerville (Boston). The atmosphere is quite cool with a nice big bar upstairs and a nice seated area as well. However after this years BBF Darren, Erica, and I made our way downstairs to "Underbones" the downstairs part of Redbones (to meet up with rokotgirl, djgonzalez, and royal t). The service down there was excellent. Our party was served quickly and everyone seemed to enjoy their BBQ very much. I, myself, got a very good veggie burger that was big and nicely priced. The draught selection here is good, and focuses on local favorites. I had a Berkshire coffee porter with my meal. A great combo, if you ask me. A great place that I will be sure to get to again the next time I am in Boston

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Photo of rjp217
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of mltobin
3.88/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I walked here from Harvard Square, further than I thought it would be, so I got here with an appetite. The top floor showed no signs of my friends who I had just spoke with on the phone, so I was relieved when the hostess informed me of the downstairs section. Several tables as well as a bar in this dark downstairs dining area. It was very crowded, but the staff did a pretty good job of keeping up with the orders. Mikkeller, Pretty Things, Opa Opa, Mayflower and several others were available on draft in addition to some bottles. BBQ was on point and was filling. We walked away with a pretty good sized check, but had a fun time.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Redbones is a great place to go for some beers or for some great barbeque. There is usually a very good to excellent selection of micros on tap to choose from, and they often have special theme periods (e.g., beers of the Pacific northwest, or English ales, etc.). They have about 20+ taps, and a good selection of bottles, including several great Belgian beers. You can even sometimes find Belgian lambics on tap here. They also have special events (sign up for their mailing list online). The bar upstairs is comfortable but gets crowded and loud on busy days. The restaurant is not fancy, but the food is very good. Of course, their specialty is barbeque. I particularly like the fried catfish and the fried okra. The service is usually good to excellent. Overall this is a great place.

After many more visits this year, I decided to update my ratings. This place is still great, and one of my favorite places to have a beer!

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Photo of mklisz
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of rousee
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Originally reviewed August ' 04--this is an August ' 05 update---

I've been to Redbone's about 5 times since last Summer and each time I had gone in, it was lunchtime and I was stuck upstairs. I went last night and I hung in the Underbones. I am not especially a fan of sub-terranean restaurants but I will make an exception here. So much better mood and vibe downstairs.

I have upped my scores for atmosphere and service. I am downgrading the selection to 4.5 from 5. There were still some good beers though. I had Avery IPA, a Kulmbacher Pils and a Paulaner hefe. They were all good. The service was much better than in my original review. We sat right in front of the bartender and he and I seemed to have fairly similar tastes in beer. He let me sample a few and was always right there when you needed him. Food--good as always and pretty damn cheap. Fried okra for $3 and the BBQ hash for $4 ?? We had this as apps and it was almost enough food to satisfy 2 hungry people as a meal. I gotta make a point to get out here more often.


The average scores here are based on the upstairs versus downstairs. The downstairs room and bar in this place blow away the upstairs. There is no comparison for mood and overall vibe as well as the lighting. Downstairs is excellent for both and upstairs is below average -same with service. Of course, I am giving away a little bit of a secret here.

Yesterday (8/28/04), I went in for lunch and the downstairs was not open yet. It had been almost 2 years since I last visited Redbones and the beer selection, while always very good, has really improved.

They had some great unusual ones on tap: La Chouffe, Tripel Karmeliet, Cantillion just to name a few. These 3 were all excellent.
Had these: ribs --good as usual, fried okra- also good but not enough dipping sauce and by the time the server was around again I had eaten too many to bother asking for extra sauce, and collard greens --don't go to Redbone's and not order the collards.

I was fortunate enough to meet a fellow BA who will remain nameless. This guy really knew his beer and we had some good laughs talking about a wide variety of subjects --mostly beer.

My biggest gripe about Redbones is the cash only policy. Other than that, I love this place--even the upstairs. I wish I got out to Davis square more often cuz there is an excellent beer store right down the street too.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I visited RedBones on a Saturday afternoon. This was my second visit here, but my first time being upstairs.

A very unpretentious, laid back atmosphere provides a comfortable vibe at this place. There is a beer listing board in clear view that shows 24 or so different draft beers. Next to the beer board is a gameshow esqe "Dial A Pint" that will help you decide what beer to pick. Beer menus are also offered at different seats throughout the bar.

Great draft selection that highlighted some interesting Northwest breweries. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale were on tap as well . Also included in the draft selection were local favorites such at Berkshire Brewing Company Coffeehouse Porter, Harpoon IPA, and Sam Adams Chocolate Bock.

All prices are reasonable ranging from $4.25/$4.50 or so and up. Most pints are served in regular, tumbler bar pint glasses. Some beers are served in 10.5 oz tulips. Solid bottle selection as well.

While there I had a Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Rogue Santa's Private Reserve and Weihenstephaner Korbinian. All beers tasted fresh. It's evident that Redbones is good about rotating their draft selections consistently.

Food was really good. Down home style BBQ. "comfort food". Authentic home-style southern cooking. Service was responsive and attentive. Music selection is usually very good too.

Overall, a great BBQ restaurant that serves an excellent range of beers. Check this place out if you are in the area.

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Photo of Deuane
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
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 Todd
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The Beers: There's around 20 beers on tap, that are constantly rotating out -- quality and selection can be hit or miss at times, prices are reasonable. Chances are you'll always find something on tap. There's also a nice handful of bottled beer, that also rotates now and then.

The Food: is probably some of the best BBQ available in the Boston area - down and dirty style. Portions are large, prices are cheap in comparison -- go for the catfish fingers and buffalo shrimp. Some of the meat is served too dry though.

Underbones: is the name of the downstairs, and it's a totally different environment than the upstairs dining area -- dark, arty, peaceful. If you're going to go to RedBones, you have to hit Underbones. Upstairs is fine, but always busy and not comfortable for an evening session of imbibing, eating and discussion.

RedBones is also known of their beer dinners where a theme is picked, speakers are brought in (usually brewers) and you get to feast on some kick-ass BBQ and quite a few special brews brought in for the event and/or month. These events are highly recommended and you get a lot of value for your buck. Check out their website for dates and details.

Worthy for anyone visiting Boston who enjoys good beer and/or good BBQ, just don't expect to be wow'd all the time by the beer quality and selection. This is a restaurant first.

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Photo of Goldorak
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Finally got to check this place out with YouBrewIDrink on our way to the NotF 2010. Thank goodness I had a GPS because I probably would never have found the place. Being on a little street did have one advantage, we scored a parking spot right in front on a Friday at lunchtime.

The place is split in three, with the bar section to the left, a more family-style eatery on the right and another downstairs which I didn't visit. There was a lineup for the restaurant side, but we got a few spots at the bar.

Seems like a nice locals' hangout, obviously with full Red Sox nation regalia everywhere. The vibe was really laid back, not divey enough to scare off someone like my wife, but worked in enough to make me feel at home.

Very interesting tap list that would have kept me occuppied for a nice long session, but it wasn't in the cards this time so I went with a pint of cask-conditionned Larry which tasted fine.

Service was exactly what you'd expect from this type of bar. Our waitress was a little swamped for Beer service, but a little friendly banter fixed that up nicely. Food service was lightning quick though. We got litterally a ton of food at very reasonable prices, and I love BBQ served with good Beer so this place had win all over it. Even though I built this place up in my mind for years, it didn't dissapoint in the least.

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Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
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 Loki
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Holy overrated Batman.

Atmosphere: Dive joint with a good beer selection. I guess I could see how some could think this was good bar-b-que.

Quality: Good quality of beer. For some reason I expected more. Good, solid line of beers that appeared to be served correctly.

Service: Decent, nothing to write home about or complain about

Selection: Good, for a bar-b-que joint amazing, but for all the hype, disappointing. However, had I just stumbled in with no expectations I probably would rate the selection higher.

Food: 3.5 in my mind was generous, but I'm picky when it comes to bar-b-que. Chopped pork was a little tough and the spice on one was just overwhelming. You tasted nothing but heat. I expected much better.

Value: The prices were fairly reasonable.

I'm not sure I would go back. I would definitely give it a second chance, but it would have to work hard for anything past that.

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Photo of tigg924
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
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 TheBungyo
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I went here for the first time this past Saturday after the ACBF, its really not what I had imagined it would be. It's tightly packed with chairs, loud, eclectic and crowded. We've got a bar on the left with seating against the wall and seating at the bar as well. On the right side of the wall is the main dining area. We grabbed a beer and snagged a couple of seats in the bar area while we waited for our table. The service was great despite the number of patrons filling the place like they know how to handle busy. We waited 30 min or so for out table and ordered some hush puppies as an appetizer. We both got brisket, I got a plate and my company had a sandwich. The food is great, the brisket was tender, ample and flavorful, the dirty rice side was also great. Its barbeque and its done well and priced as such. If in the area I would definitely come back.

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Redbones Barbeque in Somerville, MA
Place rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 155 ratings