Keith and I had some time to kill before meeting up with a visiting friend for dinner in Central Square, so we arranged to meet up at Green Street Grill for some drinks. We had both heard that their cocktails were not to be missed, so we thought it would be the perfect spot to cool down on a hot and sticky Cambridge night.
Don’t be put off by Green Street Grill’s divey and unremarkable façade. As the saying goes, a book (or a bar) is not to be judged by its cover. If you don’t follow this axiom, I suggest this as being the perfect time to start, as the drinks here are superb.
The cocktail menu is full of old-fashioned drinks, some of which are only recently being brought back to bars. Not only that, but some of the liquors and spirits used in these drinks have only recently been allowed in the States, such as the Batavia Arrack, originally from Sri Lanka. I chose the enticing-sounding Blinker, with its fresh grapefruit juice and fresh raspberry syrup mixed with a generous portion of Old Overholt Rye ($7.50). It should be noted that I’m not much of a rye and whisky kinda gal, but regardless, the Blinker was fantastic. Don’t get me wrong — it was a strong drink, to be sure, but the fruit flavors were equally strong and bright.
Since the notion of me drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea for anyone involved, Keith and I decided to order something to nibble on while we sipped at our drinks. (He started with a truly delicious French 75, which is more along the lines of what I normally tend to like, and finished up with a Sazerac.) Keith and I couldn’t agree upon a snack, so we got two: candied and spiced peanuts and homemade chips and dip (each $3.00).
The peanuts, Keith’s choice, were indeed sweet and candied, but they ended with a fiery finish that set my mouth ablaze. (It should be noted that I have zero tolerance for spicy foods, and that in this case, Keith called me a wimp.) In spite of the flaming sensation I was feeling, I helped myself to several handfuls.
The chips were my selection, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with them. Perfectly salty and ridiculously crisp, they were fantastic. The dip, instead of being of the sour cream variety, reminded me more of a garlicky aioli. I might be biased, as a person madly in love with aioli, but in my mind this was a perfect barside plate. I couldn’t have asked for more in a snack.
If you decide to brave its seedy neighborhood and dicey exterior, do angle for a seat at the bar and not at one of the many tables surrounding it. Trust me, you’re going to want to see the frenzy of activity the friendly bartenders go through to mix your drinks. It’s truly hypnotizing.
280 Green Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139