It had been awhile since I had ventured out to Davis Square so I made the trek across the river. It was a fun day of new, innovative places, and well as old favorite haunts—and in once case, an interesting melding of the two.
I started at a brunch favorite, The Painted Burro. This is a Mexican restaurant, with delicious food, fun drinks, and cool art to look at while you enjoy them. One of the standout brunch drinks is the Hair of the Dog. It’s based off horchata, which is a Mexican rice drink. This version is an iced coffee horchata with shots of RumChata and espresso liquor. It’s sweet and refreshing and does the job implied by the name. We also got a brunch special, El Montanero “Superbeasto”. It’s a hefty plate with 2 fried eggs, fried plantains, rice, beans, chorizo and chicharron, topped with Baja cream and chipotle mayo. This is not for the faint at heart (and probably not good for your heart), but it’s filling, tasty, and provides a good base for a day of mixological adventuring.
My next stop is a Davis mainstay, Sligo. This is a quintessential dive bar in all the best ways. Dark, kind of dingy, with graffiti on the walls, this is a great place to get a cheap beer and hang out. Their food offering involve a selection of chips, so you’re welcome to bring in your own food (note- we don’t know if this is an official policy, but people were bringing in their own food with abandon and no one said anything, so it seems legit). One note, this place is cash only so hit up the ATM before you head in (they do have one inside in case you forget).
Our next stop was Meju, a new Korean spot on Elm St. It’s a clean, bright space with a bar and a fairly big dining room. The menu features Korean favorites such as bibimbap and bulgolgi, along with dumplings and steamed buns. Here we had a bottle of soju, which is a Korean distilled liquor we had been newly acquainted with. It comes either plain for flavored, and we had grapefruit. You drink it neat from small cups, reminiscent of sake.
We ventured to Orleans, which a little outside the square on Holland St. This is a casual spot with lots of happenings, like Taco Tuesday, forty cent wing night on Thursdays, and live music through out he weekend. It’s a good, casual standby.
Next we went to Sacco’s candlepin bowling alley, or, as it’s now known, Flatbread Company. Flatbread Company took it over several years ago and added a wood fired pizza oven and an expansive bar (made out of the bowling lanes that used to be there. They have an extensive beer and drink list. In addition to beers, we tried the chocolate raspberry martini (which was sort of thick, like a milkshake consistency), and an absolutely delicious warm apple cider with whiskey, served in a koozie-wrapped Mason jar. This place was hopping, and would be a great night out with good food, good drinks, and candle pin bowling.
We continued to Saloon, a speakeasy located under Foundry on Elm. This is a dim, sleek space, with a well though out layout. The bar is small, but the corners are rounded out so small groups can sit comfortably. The drinks here are well crafted and thoughtful, without sacrificing deliciousness. One of the standout drinks we tried was the Cask of Amontillado (we can never pass up a Poe reference), which made with rye, Amontillado sherry, cacao, and pimento. We also had some surprisingly fun bar snacks for such an upscale place, including the tasty fried pickles and the chef’s popcorn of the day, which on this particular day was Cinnamon Toast Crunch. We would highly checking this place out if you’re looking for a great atmosphere and really well made drinks.
Our penultimate stop was Rosebud Café, a well known staple of Davis. Here we had the most whimsical drink of the day, the PB&J, made with Rittenhouse Rye, Peanut Butter Orgeat, Lejay Cassis and lemon, and topped off with a mini PB&J sandwich. Drinks with a snack area always a plus, but this was a very adult take on the childhood staple.
Our final stop was another classic Davis establishment, The Burren. This is a classic pub with live music. It’s a spirited, fun atmosphere. It’s a staple for a reason, and it’s hard not to enjoy yourself when you’re there. On this stop, we enjoyed some good beers and some fun Irish music up front, while the line built up in anticipation of the opening of the back room.
Our day in Davis was lively and full of great drinks with good friends, and we hardly scratched the surface. There are scores of other great places in the area that are worth checking out. If you don’t get to Davis very much, make the effort to get there, it has a lot of fun to offer!