Breen’s Cafe – #24 on the Tour

The Bar: Breen’s Cafe

The Address 16 Cambridge Street

The price 5.50

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He did

What was the type of gin: It was Tanqueray. I wasn’t given a choice, he just walked over to the bottles, picked it up and poured. I guess this is their standard gin, which is okay by me. He filled up a pint glass with ice and then began to fill it with gin, and fill and fill. This was a heady drink.

What was the gin and tonic like For one filled with liquor, it was surprisingly flavorful. I liked it, but of course, I liked being in this bar, so what is the ratio between taste of drink and comfort level in environment? Which makes the drink better – the ingredients or the place you are sitting?

The Joint: A good sized bar with a grill attached to the back bar area. There were tables and a long shelf in the middle to lean on and to drink at. It has age, but it looked presentable, clean enough. The bartender was attentive and friendly enough. He noticed that I looked at the chalk board that had the menu written on it and he asked “You want some food?”

I thought the bar food looked good, and it was being made right in front of us, which is always a bonus to me.  I liked the fact they had a burger called the Friendly Burger. Friends, is there any kind of burger that isn’t friendly? I don’t know of a mean spirited burger.

General Impressions: By the time I left at two pm on a Tuesday, there was over 25 people at Breens. This was not expected. Folks were eating burgers, talking in groups, looking at the World Cup coverage. One woman was at the bar reading a book, That is something I want to see more of, where someone can just plant themselves at a bar with a book and feel happy and welcome. With 25 people, the place did not feel crowded at all, the bartender and the cook were working quickly and effeciently. There was a nice neighborhood feel to the joint, but not in an exclusionary way. I think the idea that so many different people were here in the middle of the day says something about Breen’s. I lingered, I was happy to just sit and drink.

The parking is lousy, by the way. They have parking to the side and in the back, but its not great, I can see myself wanting to avoid going there on busy times.

Will I come back Yes. This is one of those I was wrong about. People mentioned Breen’s to me, but it always looked like a dive. It did not bode well to me. Man was I wrong. I really liked it. You can meet friends, have a burger, read a book, drink in solitude. This place multi-tasks.

On looking at my notes, it seems that this neighborhood has the most bars I would come back to. In this little area on and off Cambridge Street, there are three places I liked: Breen’s, McGuires, and Marty’s. There a few other bars in the area the tour has not hit, but this is pleasant to see. A cluster of nice local bars.


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