Monday, May 11, 2009

Red Sox Nation has to eat too...

As any good Bostonian, I love the Sox. I spent my college years living right outside of Fenway Park and loving the smell of the Sausage Guy emanating from Lansdowne St.

But before you head to Fenway Park to catch a game, it makes sense to stock up on food and drink in your belly, rather than shelling out $20 to get a snack and a drink at the park. Here's a rundown of some Fenway Park restaurants and bars:

Cask 'n Flagon. Man, I can't stand this place. Overpriced, crappy food, always filled with too many people. Great place to hang out if you're a "ya dude."

Game On. The yuppie's answer to the Cask 'n Flagon. While the big screen TVs are pretty close to unbeatable, the food and drink are most certainly beatable. Adding blue light to a bar does not make it any nicer, and you'll meet plenty of "ya dude" guys here, but with chips on their shoulders.

Eastern Standard. I've said it before -- I LOVE this place. When I worked next door, I closed out every night with a cocktail and a burger at ES. (I gained 15 pounds over those years.) The employees are absolutely fantastic and the drink list is the best in the city. I've spent many a penny here, and each one of them completely worth it. However, it gets VERY crowded before a game and after a game.

Lower Depths. This place is really great. Great beer (they sell 40s, which, by the way, I take credit for. When it first opened, I was sitting at the bar, and drunkenly told the bar manager that if he really wanted to get the college kids in here, he should sell 40s. Lo and behold, they now stock Colt 45), and $1 Fenway Franks with all sorts of awesome toppings. It's not the best hot dog I've ever had, but for $1, you can't really go wrong. I personally am a sucker for bacon and baked beans on my dog, or bacon and cheese, or baked beans and cheese, or guacamole. The sweet potato fries are also awesome -- thick, steak cut fries with a maple sour cream. Definitely a fantastic pre-game location. If you get here early enough, you'll beat the crowd.

Great Bay. I hate to talk too much about it, as I have often said that I worked here and this place actually launched my love and knowledge of food so I'm quite a bit biased, but I can't mention Fenway without mentioning the only really nice restaurant in the area. Delicious drinks (nothing like a Fenway Streaker before a game), friendly people, amazing service, and what I firmly believe is the best damn seafood in the city. And not everything is pricey -- the Sand dollar bites menu includes $1, $5, and $10 snacks, and the Island menu includes sashimis, tartares, and the best fish tacos you have ever had for under $20. Of course, the dinner menu does come with a somewhat hefty price, but you also have to keep in mind the quality of the seafood and what you're getting. It's also not suffocatingly packed in the bar area at night, an extra plus.

Cornwall's. This was my college hangout to start with, but it's also great for before and after a Sox game. Excellent beers on tap, pool tables, a juke box and darts... how can you go wrong? It also has decent food, such as the burger or any of the sandwiches. All for a reasonable price. I think you can actually see Cornwall's from the picture I uploaded. It's not a nice bar, but it's a nice place to hang out.

And my personal favorite... drum roll please...
Audubon. It's one of my favorite restaurants in Boston to begin with, and will get its own review up here one of these days. For now, I'll touch upon the highlights: Good beer selection (they carry the giant bottles of Saison Dupont -- who doesn't want beer served in a wine bottle size?!), awesome food, low prices, and it doesn't get very crowded before or after a game. Do yourself a favor and get the white bean puree. I have dreams about it. I'll write a full review in the next coming weeks.

There really are SO many more that I could've listed on here, but I'd like to hear what you have to say. What are some of your favorite and most hated pre-Sox game hangouts?

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