A pub-crawl is a great way to get out on the town with a few friends and have some fun. By having a drink and spending some time in each bar along a prescribed route, you get the chance to see a good part of town while enjoying what its nightlife has to offer.
Along the way, you may find a great spot that may one day become one of your favorite watering holes. Fortunately for HBS, there are a great number of pub-crawl routes nearby. In order to introduce you to some of the area’s best nightspots, I’m going to recommend one that follows from Massachusetts Ave. along a simple route that allows for stops in some of Cambridge’s best bars and lounges. This tour is simple and inexpensive; the only transportation fare you need to pay is one dollar to take the T to Central.
Once in Central Square, there are several spots where one can begin. For a casual yet crowded feel, stop in at The Field on Prospect Ave. just off Massachusetts Ave. This Irish pub draws a huge crowd and pours a good pint of Guinness.
It is a good early destination as it quickly fills to capacity on a typical weekend. Further north on Mass Ave., The Good Life specializes in cocktails and jazz in a comfortable setting. It’s a great stop when a beer just won’t do. From there, stop in next door at the Cantab Lounge to catch a set by local R&B legend Little Joe Cook who plays almost every night.
Once you leave Central Square, the crawl enters a more deserted area before you enter Harvard Sq. Use this walking time as a chance to regroup and recoup. There’s a 7-11 on the way if you want a snack and a soft drink to prepare yourself for the rest of the night.
A few blocks later, you’ll come across The People’s Republik and The Cellar. These bars are within shouting distance and both are worthwhile in their own distinct way. The Republik has a Soviet theme with old USSR propaganda posters and a big bomb hanging in the corner. The crowd is funky yet friendly and there are plenty of dart boards if you fancy a game or two.
The Cellar is an Irish bar serving one of the best (and cheapest) pints of Guinness in town. They often host DJ’s on weekends for your listening pleasure.
Once you’re done here, you’ll be entering Harvard Square proper. If you stay on Massachusetts Ave., one of the first stops is the Hong Kong. Be careful, this place can easily be the last stop as well. Scorpion Bowls, parlor games, and a raucous crowd have a habit of keeping people in the Hong Kong well past their intended stay. They are open later than most bars in Cambridge, which is a bonus if you’re running out of time at this point in your tour.
If you bypass ‘The Kong’ or are able to leave before closing, Harvard Square is full of options. For a good casual atmosphere and a tasty pint, check out Shay’s, Grendel’s, John Harvard’s, or Rock Bottom Brewery.
If you prefer fancy drinks and a more urban scene, visit Grafton Street, Daedalus, or The Red Line. Harvard Square, with its variety and vibrancy, is a natural end to the tour. You can have one last drink or stop for a bite to eat before heading home.
Cambridge is a great town for nightlife, and this pub-crawl is designed to provide number of different atmospheres and settings. The bars along this particular route cater to everyone from the yuppie to the bohemian. There’s something for everyone in your crowd. Most importantly, it’s important to pace yourself and make sure you have a good time.