Bukowskis Tavern. Boston, Massachusetts. Behind the Prudential Center looking over the interstate highway off of a street that is perpendicular to Boylston Street, and by far one of the best bars in the entire metro Boston area that I have ever had the occasion to experience. Bukowskis Tavern named after popular beat author, Charles, looks like a total dive on the outside, which tends to weed out the frat boys that are out to get shitfaced wasted and see how many girls numbers they can get. Either that, or it’s the name that scares them away, for it clearly implies a library style, study friendly bar that is more appropriate for artists and writers than self proclaimed Singles who are out looking to score. In actuality I don’t really know why those types of people, who make up such a large portion of the young Boston population do not seem to venture into Bukowskis Tavern too often, but it is nice to know there is a place I can go out and relax with a couple good beers and some good conversation with someone that I truly believe is really interested in what I have to say and not talking to me for the sole purpose of trying to get in my pants. That seems harsh and stereotypical, I know, but try hitting up the popular, trendy bars in downtown Boston and you will see what I mean.
Bukowskis Tavern is fairly small but if you show up at a fairly early time you can usually score a table. My friends and I prefer a table and try to stalk one out as soon as we walk in the door, for we are those geeky people who bring our notebooks and have a little writing session over our beers, in hopes that the alcohol buzz will manifest in us some brilliant revelation in which to create the most perfect story about. Rarely happens, but random musings from those nights are still in my notebook and fun to read. Anyway, I say we are geeky for bringing work type material into the bar but the atmosphere is one that is completely conducive to such a thing. And others do it too. Berkeley College of music is right around the corner and it is not uncommon to see those students hanging out in the pub going over sheets of music and other such music school items. What I like most about Bukowskis Tavern is that it is a very friendly environment, and friendly without any pressure or commitment. When people converse with you, they are genuinely interested, and I’ve met the most interesting, kindest people at that place. Furthermore the bar staff and wait staff are patient, laid back and so neighborly like with their customers that if someone requests, say, the TV be turned to the hot basketball game on, or a special request for a music CD for the nights soundtrack, they will happily oblige.
The Bukowskis Tavern is known to be home of the Dead Authors Club. The bar prides itself on having 99 (maybe more by now) beers on the wall, many imported and obscure, some so obscure that they are absolutely repulsive, but nevertheless they have a lot. And to be in the Dead Authors Club, you have to get a card from them and then each time you visit, check off the type of beer you had to drink. The goal is to eventually try every single beer at least once and when that happens, you get a special extra large mug of your own that is kept at the bar on a rack so whenever you come in you can retrieve it and have an extra large drink while feeling so cool being a veteran Bukowskis Tavern goer. But the coolest thing about the contest is that upon getting your glass you get to choose your favorite dead author and their name is then engraved on your glass. No one else can then have that author. It’s really a great way to learn about other people, about other authors, and definitely an easy conversational piece.
Bukowskis Tavern is a wonderful place and the only downfall I can think of is that they do not accept credit cards. Cash only. Which is kind of refreshing to see in this technologically obsessed century, but as impressed as I am by their ethics and standards, I’ve already succumbed to the lower realms of the technological world and therefore, depend on my credit or debit card for everything. So it seems that every time I’d go there in the past I’d have to leave to go to the ATM before I could pay my check. This gets kind of frustrating. But more power to them I guess because this cash only policy certainly does not do anything to scare away their regular customer base, and to me, that is the sign of a truly successful establishment. Hopefully Bukowskis Tavern will be around for a long time and never change.
There is a Bukowskis Tavern in Inman Square, Cambridge/Somerville area as well, but it was opened only a couple years ago and from what I’ve heard the aura of everything involved with it does not even compare to the original Bukowskis pub.