Want to have a drink after class, before class, or instead of class? There are four bars around Dorchester Avenue that are worth checking out: The Banshee, The Harp & Bard, Tom English’s, and Savin Bar and Kitchen.
When choosing a watering hole there are three basic things that must be taken into consideration: location, price, and quality. Location and price are pretty self-explanatory, but quality can mean a couple different things. In this instance it will refer to service and products. There are dozens of other categories on which a place can be judged--like crowd type, aesthetics, and music selection, to name a few--but the three basic ones are the most important when picking a bar you where want to become a regular.
The Banshee is located at 934 Dorchester Ave., a ten-minute walk from the JFK train station. The façade is probably the most aesthetically pleasing, but when you’re just looking for a drink, who cares what the building looks like? The bar could use more seating, but if you’re fine with having to stand for a bit you’ll be ok. The Banshee doubles as a sports bar and a semi-club, and offers refuge for any soccer fan, with games on every television. If you go to their website you’ll see a full listing of the events that will be on the tube. Also, there is a small, walled-in patio that can give some much-needed fresh air to anyone feeling flustered.
The Banshee’s staff is friendly and courteous, the prices are decent, and the location is excellent. My one squabble with this place is the food portions seem a little small. If you like to eat while drinking, this bar might not be the one for you.
Harp and Bard
The Harp & Bard is located at 1099 Dorchester Ave., a 15-minute walk from JFK, or you can take the train one stop to Savin Hill and significantly cut down on walking time. The Harp is much more of a sit, drink, and eat bar. You can choose to be seated in the dining area or just walk up to the bar. The Harp & Bard is a little more expensive than The Banshee but the portions are more than enough. This is most definitely a sports bar, multiple sports on multiple televisions. The Harp is an acceptable place to take a casual date, especially if your date loves sports and beer.
The staff is nice but can sometimes be a little sparse due to how busy it can get. The food is good and the prices are moderate. The location is ok. The crowd can get rowdy during a big game so be aware of them if you want to avoid that type of atmosphere.
Tom English’s is located at 957 Dorchester Ave., a ten-minute walk from JFK. Tom English’s was recently renovated but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not a dive bar. If you’re looking for fancy drinks with assorted fruits look elsewhere. When you want beer, beer, and more beer this is definitely a bar you should visit. It’s very spacious with lots of seating and lots of regulars. The best thing about this bar is the prices. You can’t go wrong when you can get three beers for around ten bucks. The cheapness of the beer does introduce a problem for those who like to drink and eat. I’ve never seen a menu at Tom English’s but even if they do have food I’d suggest you stay away from it.
Tom English’s has a mix of great and standoffish staff. I’ve never seen food served at Tom English and there’s probably a reason. Both the location and prices are excellent. Keep in mind that you might get some strange looks if you order a cosmo.
Savin Bar & Kitchen
Savin Bar and Kitchen is located at 112 Savin Hill Ave., about a 15-minute walk from JFK. You might be better off taking the Red Line to the Savin Hill stop because it’s right across the street. Of these four bars, Savin Bar is probably the best choice to take a date. The atmosphere is classier than the others. That being said, higher price doesn’t make for a better experience. Out of all the options, this is by far my least favorite. The price of beer is on par with anywhere else, but the food prices seem a bit high, especially for the lackluster quality of the food. The best thing I’ve tasted at Savin Bar is a bread roll and they aren’t worth going through the entire experience.
The service is good but other than that it seems like you’re paying for the atmosphere. Yes the art is nice, yes they have some cool light fixtures, but does that really matter at a bar? It’s overpriced and not convenient enough to make it worth your while. I’d suggest avoiding it all together.