What began 24 years ago as a sports bar with five TVs and a massive satellite dish has blossomed into a mecca for fans of Boston sports teams and lovers of hearty pub fare. Visitors to Coolidge Corner Clubhouse watch year-round hockey, baseball, pro and college football, and basketball on 25 LCD screens while feasting on 16-ounce burgers, savory pastas, and tender morsels of barbecue pork, chicken, and shrimp. Patrons also sip frosty craft beers on draft or potent cocktails and martinis as they share plates of chicken wings and nachos, or piled-high deli sandwiches and wraps.
A light-hearted celebration of Boston sportsdom permeates the restaurant, with its burgers and wraps named for famous athletes and the multiple screens showing area college and professional games. On the walls, framed photos commemorate Boston's proudest sports moments, such as a floor-to-ceiling print of Adam Vinatieri's famous 45-yard kick during the “Snow Bowl” and an iconic photograph of Ted Williams defending his graduate thesis, “On Hitting the Baseball Really, Really Hard to Make It Go Pretty Far.”
Like Mr. Rogers dressed in a banana-yellow zoot suit, American Craft's menu gives comfy American fare a tasty artisanal twist. Each of its appetizers ($8–$11) conceals a variety of inspired tastes, from the butternut-squash risotto to the pulled-duck hash with root veggies. Fresh salads and a trifecta of soups (du jour, oven-roasted tomato, and onion) will appease dainty diners, though they also go really well with a build-your-own burger of beef, turkey, or veggie served on a hi-rise challah roll with hand-cut fries or mixed greens. Once all the palate's previews have played, it's time for the main movie: American Craft's heartier plates include a grilled flat-iron steak au poivre with grilled asparagus and gorgonzola mashed potatoes, a veggie-friendly grilled tofu steak with broccoli rabe, and stout-braised short ribs with whipped potatoes. Entrees range between $14 and $24, and sandwiches are $9 to $12.
The Shanghai Social Club fashioned to conjure a classic 1920s speakeasy, but with a twist—in addition to bootleg whiskey and old-fashioneds, you can order fishbowl-sized drinks, which come filled with rum, honey, and exotic fruit juices. It's just one of the ways this stylish Asian restaurant melds old-fashioned sophistication with a carefree, tiki-bar vibe, an atmosphere that helped Zagat named it one of the hottest restaurants in Boston.
The restaurant's menu draws inspiration from traditional dinner entrees and streetside vendors in Shanghai. Bite into a steamed bun filled with gingery pork belly or crispy chicken skin, or dig into steaming noodles topped with Peking duck. Specialty dishes range from savory Mongolian beef to sweet honey shrimp. Meanwhile, the low-key decor—low lights, Buddhist statues, and colorful cushions—does little to distract from the cuisine.
For Chef Alex Zarifan, freestyle is not a type of swimming stroke or genre of music. It's a culinary method, one that encourages experimentation and multiple flavorful influences on the menu at 404 Tapas Bar and Lounge. Alex looks to New American and French traditions when crafting 404's signature tapas, but they often end up in an entirely new category.
Diners might not know how to classify spicy buffalo meatballs or tomato-infused lamb sausage, but they'll definitely know how to eat them. A selection of larger plates are available, too—slices of swordfish, seafood paella, and roasted Cornish hen are a few available entrees. Desserts include deep-fried Oreos, which are a far more professional version of microwaved Oreos.
Matt Murphy’s Pub has authenticity down, from the Irish bartenders, to the live folk music to the soda bread, shepherd’s pie, and oxtail soup. “It’s food you would find in Irish farmhouse kitchens,” said the Boston Globe in a 2005 review that also named the pub Boston’s most authentic Irish restaurant. Of course, the real test of an Irish pub's authenticity is its drink menu. Along with on-tap brews directly from the Emerald Isle—Magner’s Cider, Guinness—the staff has created cocktails like the Immigrant, a spicy glass of mango-infused whiskey, and the Wee Donkey, which gets its kick from tequila, amaretto, and orange juice.