The Joshua Tree in Somerville's Davis Square to Be Replaced by Elm Street Tap Room

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by AlcahueteJ, Jul 12, 2018.

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  1. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (129) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts
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    I stopped by last night for a beer. The decor is fantastic with great lighting and a tin ceiling, a huge upgrade from Joshua Tree. The service was attentive and knowledgeable. I will also say the space is LOUD. It was busy last night, but not at capacity. My wife and I could barely hold a conversation at our table.

    I think they have a similar number of taps to Five Horses Davis (36ish). They have a couple of Trillium taps, but the rest of the options seemed to put an emphasis on less expensive pours (e.g., few imports, stouts from Harpoon and CBC rather than BCBS). Also, Elm St doesn't have the deep bottle list that Five Horses offers.

    I'll stop by again to try the food, but based on my first impression I don't see any reason I wouldn't just choose Five Horses Davis unless Elm St taps something I really want to try.
     
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  2. redbill

    redbill Initiate (24) Nov 29, 2018 Massachusetts

    my neighbor used to swear by the Italians at Cristos. they would toast them. they were a fine enough quick alternative to McD's I suppose. quicker than Mike's for sure...
     
  3. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    It's kind of irritating that their site doesn't have their draft list like Five Horses/Worden Hall do. Maybe they'll do it eventually.

    One reason to go there over Five Horses could be the overall vibe. It looks like a nicer place than Five Horses.

    McDonald's and the Dollar Store, both gone. I'm surprised Dunks went back in, that doesn't really fit with the theme of Davis Square either.
     
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  4. bring

    bring Initiate (86) Aug 17, 2005 Greenland
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    Try Untappd.
     
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  5. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    I believe Dunks is trying to rebrand (or at least expand the brand) a bit as a more upscale option (dropping the "donuts" and pushing espresso). Maybe their ability to succeed (or not) in Davis will be a measure of whether that's at all working?
     
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  6. Skwalk47

    Skwalk47 Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2010 Massachusetts

    Two very solid new additions to the pizza landscape of Somerville.
     
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  7. gclaw4444

    gclaw4444 Initiate (84) Jul 30, 2015 Massachusetts
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    So I’m here now and I already like it a lot less than JT. Smaller bar area, and while the beer selection is a bit better, I found that at JT I could always find something interesting, while this seems like more of the same stuff they have at 5 horses. Another thing someone noted was that it’s loud, it could just be opening week crowd, but I always went to Joshua tree because I k ew I could grab a seat at the bar and have a few drinks.
    After asking a few clarifying questions about the mug club, I think it’s the worst mug club I’ve ever heard of. All you get is a mug which gives you the opportunity to pay 1$ for a 22oz pour. Which honestly I dont want of most beers/ciders I drink.
     
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  8. Glider

    Glider Aspirant (267) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts
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    $1 for a 22 oz mug of beer? I better get working on that mug.

    Seriously, though the food menu looked pretty good. I would like to see the tap list as well. It is unfortunate that sandwiches cost around $15 these days, but at least they have a (small) $11 burger with fries, which I give them credit for. Overall, looks good to me. Sometimes you just want a local pint and a sandwich in a nice looking spot.
     
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  9. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Did you ever go to the J Tree when it was popular? Like >5 years ago? The place was routinely packed and was arguably the loudest bar in Davis Square. They actually permanently had a DJ in a box on the second floor every weekend night.

    I do agree though, towards the tale end of the J Tree the tap list was pretty good. Better than Red Bones, and oftentimes Foundry too.

    But if it's even just similar to Five Horses tap list, then it's an upgrade. And while Five Horses South End/Worden Hall have similar tap lists as Davis' location, I find each of them to be slightly different enough to be interesting.

    You also have to give places time. I remember I HATED Five Horses when it first opened, and after a few times, wrote it completely off for a few years. Now it's one of my favorite bars in Davis.

    Oh, and in my opinion the food at J Tree was terrible.

    And all this is from someone who frequented that place every Friday/Saturday night for years in his 20s and loved it. But Davis has simply outgrown a place like that.

    I don't want 22 oz. of most beers too, especially since many are a higher ABV, but does that mean I can get ANY draft for $1? That would be insane given they have Trillium on tap.
     
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  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Yeah, I have done that. But Untappd is not always that accurate I've found.

    Maybe? I doubt it though. Many of the people even frown upon Starbucks (although it's always fairly busy), because it's a chain. Diesel Cafe is always more packed than Starbucks in Davis.

    I've been to that Dunks a fair amount (not to buy coffee, I'd swing through B Fresh and my brother would get coffee there). Granted it's not really a big spot, but it's usually not that busy.

    Yeah you can't swing a dead cat in Davis without getting a slice of pizza now. Mike's, Flatbread, Oath, Mortadella Head, Dragon Pizza, Posto, Pepe Bocca, and that's not even counting the flat breads at Rosebud, Foundry and Five Horses. Heck, even the Dominos is still there.

    I can't recall if I've had the pizza at Foundry (I think I have), but I really dig the flat breads at Five Horses and Rosebud.
     
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  11. Glider

    Glider Aspirant (267) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Just guessing, but presumably he meant $1 over the normal price of a glass of a given beer.
     
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  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Wait, so I have to pay $1 more for a volume of beer I may not want?
     
  13. Resuin

    Resuin Meyvn (1,339) Jun 18, 2012 Massachusetts
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    More = better, don’t you know that??
     
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  14. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Ok so I read the fine print:

    1). You have to drink all 40 drafts and 24 cans/bottles

    2). You then get a one year free membership to the mug club. Each year after that is $40.

    3). You get a free t-shirt every year.

    4). You can get food discounts occasionally through the app.

    5). You get a free pour the week of your birthday.

    6). You get invited to an annual private mug club party.

    7). You can get your 22 oz. mug filled at the regular draft price of any eligible draft (only drafts, no bottles/cans), plus $1 more.

    8). They may not allow this for some drafts that are rare and/or a high ABV.
     
  15. gclaw4444

    gclaw4444 Initiate (84) Jul 30, 2015 Massachusetts
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    Yea sorry, i was typing up my comment on my phone and didnt proofread, i meant 1$ more than the usual tap price for 22oz. I'd edit the comment but it's too late for that.
     
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  16. rdecker679

    rdecker679 Initiate (31) Oct 8, 2015 Massachusetts

    This. This is why I was surprised they closed to begin with - JT was the last "college bar" (or at least "party-like-you're-still-in-college bar") in Davis while everyone else upscaled. It's hard to imagine the area can continue to support more copies of the Foundry/Five Horse. Where are the kids going to meet their tinder dates now?!
     
  17. wilky1

    wilky1 Disciple (397) Jun 11, 2007 Massachusetts
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    Sligo:stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    I went to J Tree a couple times the last few years. It was always dead, it used to be absolutely packed. It got to the point they were flat out closing on Mondays and Tuesdays I believe. People around Davis have money, college kids aren’t drinking in Davis for the most part.

    But yes, they still have Sligo, Mike’s, and of course Pub in Ball Square is a huge college bar, and there’s also Dark Horse (formerly Tavern on the Hill) up in Magoun Square.
     
  19. buking21

    buking21 Aspirant (265) Jan 21, 2009 Massachusetts
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    I've stopped in the last few nights. My thoughts:
    • They did a good job with the space, bar along the left side now instead of in the center. Low lighting, which I like--among the other bars in this group, more Worden Hall than Five Horses (DSQ).
    • Service has been terrific--multiple friendly servers coming by to refill glasses, ask if you're good etc.
    • Bummed my buddy the owner/manager at Joshua Tree is not involved as he had been a-hankerin' to turn it into a craft beer bar for awhile but good to see some faces from 5HT steering the boat.
    • Beer selection has been decent, would like to see more dark beers in this 5 degree weather. (Recent punching bag Trillium has an excellent IPA, Minot's Ledge Lighthouse, currently on.)
    • Mug club is interesting: drink all 64 lines/bottles to get your mug. Then $1 more than regular price to drink 22oz instead of smaller size. It's done by lines not beers for the taps so once you check in "line 24" or whatever you can't check that line in again. I think 40 taps and 24 bottles. You'll have to wade thru Bud Lite, High Life etc bottles to get your mug. (EDIT: Also, you download their app and when you get your tab, manager comes by to check in the beers/lines you've had. So no filling out paperwork, keeping track etc.)
    • Turkey pressed sangwich = solid and carne nachos = terrific (homemade chips have nice crunch and steak is seasoned well). Menu looks good (I'm coming for you, short rib stew) and makes it a bigger draw for me than 5HT.
    • I think only three TVs in the whole place? Two behind bar and one amongst tables? Not great sightlines either as hightops run perpendicular to two bar TVs so one person can watch while other cannot. If you're looking to watch sports and it's crowded here, best head somewhere else (perhaps to new Shine Square Pub!).
    • Too many hightops crammed together along right wall across from bar makes it super tough for this somewhat fat guy to get in and out of without disturbing the party/hitting the table next to you.
    All in all a solid debut and I'll likely be there often.
     
    #59 buking21, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  20. gclaw4444

    gclaw4444 Initiate (84) Jul 30, 2015 Massachusetts
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    I found that just minimized the central bar space.
    Honestly, so far the staff there have been great. Everyone was busy but willing to answer questions, and everyone was new, so when i was poking holes in their dumb mug club they were empathetic with how dumb it is.
    That's one of the two things i wrote on my comment card. I went there directly after 5 Horses, and found the malty beers list to be very underwhelming.
    Like i said, the worst mug club i have ever seen. Basically i dont drink IPAs which makes this mug club logistically impossible. When i asked about that, the bartenders just said that the lines would be changing. When most bars taps are like 50% IPAs i couldnt imagine ever getting a mug.
    Try sitting at the bar. As another Fat Person, you have almost no space at the bar.
     
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  21. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Thanks for the reviews guys. I’ll chime in later/tomorrow after I visit.

    I’m going to watch the Colts/Chiefs so I’ll get an idea how watching a game is there.

    I’m a thin guy, so I’ll give my perspective .
     
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  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Shit, tap list is better Five Horses.

    Scaled Up, Tesseract, BCBS ‘17/‘18 and Barleywine ‘17.
     
  23. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (129) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts
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    That's a big upgrade from Wednesday night's taplist!
     
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  24. buking21

    buking21 Aspirant (265) Jan 21, 2009 Massachusetts
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    That's the tap list at 5HT, I believe @rhino88888888. Had BCBS '17 and '18 there the other nite (both mediocre altho '17 def > '18).

    2nd edit to my post: Elm Street posted on Instagram that they're rolling out the big screens for the Pats game so they have more than three TVs.
     
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  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Yup, that was at Five Horses.

    So I swung by Elm Street. Looks really nice inside, didn't get a chance to eat anything though. Had a Minot's Ledge and a Bud Light (I wanted something low ABV, and to check it off for the mug club).

    I do agree they could have made the space a bit more efficient, but I'd have to spend more time there. At first it appears there's less room since there's only a bar with one side, as opposed to the three sided bar at the Joshua Tree.

    But in terms of decor and atmosphere, the place is top notch. Also, as everyone mentioned, the staff was super nice. I'll probably return. We only left because Five Horses had the better tap list.
     
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  26. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    I don't go to bars often enough to ever give any thought to joining a mug club, so just out of curiosity how are they usually done compared to the apparently biffed version here?
     
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  27. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,266) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
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    Hobo has 148 beers, a couple of shots. Half the list is breweries, the other side is tasks. You basically have to time when certain breweries are on to get them checked off. The tasks side can be days of the week, sporting events (e.g. Patriots game), etc. You have a year to finish it.
     
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  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    That sounds way more annoying than this one.
     
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  29. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,266) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
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    I lived down the street, went there often anyway, so it wasn't too bad for me.
     
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  30. wilky1

    wilky1 Disciple (397) Jun 11, 2007 Massachusetts
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    Been working on my mug at a slow/moderate pace. Seems like over the past week they upped the number of beers from 64 to 80 without any notice. :angry:
     
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  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,944) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Damnit! I haven't been in a few weeks, mostly because the tap list at Five Horses is better. Also, I've checked off one of the taps that tends to rotate their best offerings. So if I go there, the beer I want is under a tap number that I've already had.

    Luckily I've already ticked a couple of "less desirable" beers like Bud Light bottles.
     
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