Tag Archives: beer

Somerville’s Oldest Pub

The oldest liquor license in town belongs to the Sligo Pub on Elm Street.  In operation for more than 75 years — long before the red line came through town — it’s everything a dive bar should be: small, dingy, cheap and regularly sprinkled with old timers grumbling at the bar about the latest Bruins game.

The local watering hole takes its name from Sligo, Ireland – the town from where the original owners hailed. Once frequented exclusively by locals in mostly blue collar trades, the crowd is now comprised of town folk, college kids from nearby Tufts University and everyone in between.

I’ve always been a fan of dive bars, and this is definitely one of my favorites. I love the high tables and friendly staff; the place just has a comfortable vibe that makes it my preferred meeting spot for grabbing a casual drink in Davis.  There’s a jukebox with a decent selection of tunes in the back, across from the graffiti-strewn tables and next to the lottery ticket machine where I once won $500 with a couple of friends… good times…

An interesting side note: many years ago, a friend and I were smoking cigarettes outside when we were approached by a black gentleman who looked to be in his 50s. He told us that his dad used to kneel exactly where we were standing and shine shoes for pennies as a boy; “Negroes” weren’t allowed inside at that time, the man said, so he had to work outside.  He also told us that for decades right above our heads there was a sign warning that ladies were not allowed inside the bar unless accompanied by a gentleman. It’s fascinating to contemplate the history this place has seen over the years.

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DAILY TRIVIA: Somerville’s “Sister City” is Gaeta, Italy.

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Bickfords No More

If you haven’t checked out Brunello Bistro in Winter Hill, it’s worth a visit.  It may be housed in the old Bickfords location, but it’s definitely no Bickfords. There’s even an outdoor seating area (and nope – it doesn’t overlook Broadway Street, if that’s what you’re envisioning.)

Baked gouda

I stopped there tonight with a friend, and we enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine and shared the baked gouda appetizer.  Wrapped in philo dough with greens, fresh berries and toasted walnuts, it’s an original concoction by Chef Manuel and is indeed quite delicious. As you can see, the presentation is also pretty impressive.

Brunello has an exceptional wine list, full bar and original menu, not to mention plenty of parking. The staff is always friendly and accommodating, and the chef is always coming out from the kitchen to mingle with the diners, ever interested in their opinions of the food.  There’s even a fireplace in the corner, adding to the cozy atmosphere.

I have been to Brunello a few times and though selfishly it’s kinda nice to have a dining option in Somerville without mad crowds, I’m always a tad nervous that they might have to close if more people don’t hurry up and discover this place. Come on, Somervillians… Davis and Union may be the more obvious draws when contemplating dinner out, but don’t forget to support your local Winter Hill establishments too.

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DAILY TRIVIA: The Winter Hill Gang, named for the Somerville neighborhood and once headed by the notorious Whitey Bulger, still  operates today out of South Boston.

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