Wormtown Brewery Tap Room – Not on the tour because these mashagunahs don’t have gin

Bar: Wormtown Brewery Tap Room

Address: 72 Shrewsbury Street

Day and Time: Sunday at 2:30 on a beautiful day

The Rant: Damn you Wormtown Brewery Tap Room. Damn you. How dare you only sell the beer you make in the back of the room. Your friendly employee told me the big vats that can be seen are where the beer are coming from. That’s not true, most beer is created in large labortories in Central China, aren’t they? Damn you Wormtown Brewery Tap Room. What makes you so damned high and mighty that I can’t get a lousy well based gin and tonic and only get a very nice Wit beer for $5.35? That’s crazy. I expect to go to run down joints and get gin and tonics and I come in here and its roomy and everyone is nice and there is no liquor, only the beer you make. Well aren’t you special. Damn you Wormtown Brewery Tap Room for offering a good product and having a nice patio where people can drink, and sample the wares and chat. Sure it was pleasant, but that’s not what this tour is about. Its not about having a fine drink in a nice location, but the persistent and heedless quest to go and get sub par high ball cocktails at every bar in town. I know I know I know. You are not a bar. You are a tap room. Yes, it was nice that during the long hall of gin and tonics to come here and have something well made and different, but damn you all the same. When you come to your senses and start serving Gilbert’s gin with some flat tonic water, give me a call, then we’ll be in business.

Yours

Dante

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Victory Bar and Cigar – #107 on the Tour

The Bar: Victory Bar and Cigar

The Address 56 Shrewsbury Street

The Day and the Time Sunday at 2pm. This was in the middle of a long weekend and the sun was out and people were gamboling along Shrewsbury Street. A lovely day to sneak into a dark cigar bar where sunlight is not allowed.

The price 7.25 (I believe, I was given a bunch of change and I think that’s what it came to)

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She just put it in.

What was the type of gin It was well

What was the gin and tonic like It was fine. I enjoyed it. It was a little weak, but that’s alright. You don’t need a hammer of a drink on such a nice day.

The Joint When I came in there were a few people at the bar. A few were watching the NHL Playoffs on TV, a couple was at the corner of the bar playing cards. I don’t know why, but I have a definite thing for people playing cards in bars. Or reading a book. Or both. I like that sense of calm, or relaxation that allows you to crack open a volume or shuffle a deck. It was in the middle of the day and the place was dark. Dark in the daytime, as David Byrne would say.  Two guys who worked there were cleaning the walls and the ceilings with rags, one proudly said they were getting ready for their big 11th anniversary party. He was jubilant, which is surprising to see in a cigar bar at Sunday at two, blame it on the beautiful day. It is small, but has a back room and big leather seats and dark wood that is well kept. It feels like a mens club from the fifties, which is pretty much what they were aiming for.

General Impressions The place reeks of cigarette and cigar. There aint no amount of cleaning or filtering will hide the fact that this is a joint for smoking. Drinking, sure, but I got such a strong ingrained tobacco odor. This can’t be a complaint, because its a cigar bar. The two guys were cleaning and cleaning, but I would think that it will be slightly in vein.

It looks like an old club and it feels like an old club. It does the part well. If I was a smoker, I could see myself hanging out, watching sports, talking with man friends about all the man things I might want to discuss in a manly tone of voice (is ballet an acceptable topic of conversation? Just checking. How about the intricacies of macrame?). The bartender and the employees were happy and helpful.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back I don’t think so. The non-smoker part of me precludes that. But out of the three cigar bars I have hit on the tour, this is the one I would like to go back to.

Sidecar Discussion – This Tour Was Mentioned in the Media

Hi everyone, those who read this on regular basis and for those who are finding it for the first time. I am happy that you all checked it out. Today. Lindsay Corcoran from MassLive wrote up this blog. She interviewed me via email and I think she was fair. Thank you so much Lindsay. The one bone of contention was in the headline when I was identified as a Man. My wife, on thinking of this tour I am on, would not consider this a man’s task, but more something for a stunted adolescent. Anyway, thank you for reading, and thank you Worcester for letting me into your bars.

http://www.masslive.com/news/worcester/index.ssf/2015/04/worcester_blogger_visits_100_bars.html

We are nearing the end, I can see it. I can smell it. I know where the last gin and tonic will be, I just don’t know when.

Dante

Evo -#106 on the Tour

The Bar: Evo

The Address 234 Chandler Street

The Day and the Time  Saturday at 9:30 in the evening

The price 7.23 (aghhhhh! Just give me a real price)

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She did

What was the type of gin From what I saw of the bottle, I believe it was Gordon’s. A fair though not outstanding libation.

What was the gin and tonic like. It was light and fine. Nothing spectacular, but certainly not an insult to the good name of Gin and Tonic.

The Joint This is a hoity restaurant that I have never cared for. They do high end health food derived dishes and I have never enjoyed it too much. My wife used to really like it, but the last few times she went, the food was not as good as she had had in the past. She had me bring home their version of a Hawaiian style pizza and it was pretty lousy.

It is a snazzy looking place that is clean and tres presentable. If only the food was the same. Anyway, I came near closing so it was not super busy. The bar is small and is some kind of metal. I am not versed in bar design to tell you more. The bartender was helpful and polite. There was a couple finishing a huge glass of wine debating whether they want to go to the movie after all or just go home. This went one for almost the entire time I was there.  I was tempted to take out a quarter from my pocket and have them flip for it. For those who want to know, I believe they skipped the flick, but that could have changed when they got to the parking lot.

General Impressions Feh. It was a bar in the back of a restaurant. Not a lot of personality. It is just there. Nothing bad about it as a bar, but its just an appendage to a restaurant, not an intetity on to itself.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back No

Smitty’s Tavern – #105 on the Tour

The Bar: Smitty’s Tavern

The Address 611 West Boylston Street

The Day and the Time Saturday at 2:30 in the afternoon

The price 5 bucks

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She did and I got it

What was the type of gin It was their well, which was Boodles.

What was the gin and tonic like It was good, a little too much gin, making me taste the alcohol more than the other flavors.

The Joint Its two room separated by a couple steps. There is free over-salted popcorn (which I partook and adored) , there is a horseshoe bar, there is a sense of wear and age and there is the worst parking for a bar in Worcester. Hands down, I would rather park right in front of the Hotel Vernon and risk my car and my life on waking around Kelly Square then trying to vertical park right off of West Boylston Street. Getting out of there gave me a heart attack. There has got to be a better way to arrange parking then what they have.

The bar was barish. It had its Keno regulars and its residents talking about all the fun they had there the night before and what they were doing for the rest of the day. One of them wasn’t drinking, though his wife tried to get him to, because as he said, once he starts drinking, he can’t stop and he has things to do that day. (Buddy, there are church basements for that issue) Everyone was nice and friendly. The bartender was attentive. There was a good local vibe going on that was not exclusionary.

The bartender swiped her hand on the bar and mumbled to herself, the two regulars closest looked at her and she said, “We got little ants everywhere recently. They’re all over the place. They’ll be gone in a few days, but right now they’re annoying.” The guys she was talking to smiled and nodded, but I found myself staring at my high ball glass intently, seeing if I could spot any foreign movement. My issue with this is not that they had spring ants, but that she was talking about it to the patrons. Let it be unspoken. Just your little secret.

General Impressions Its a bar. A while back, someone in the comments of this blog, mentioned this place as one of the great bars of Worcester. I am happy for anyone to read this, and happy for those who love a bar to state it loudly and proud. But I will respectfully disagree. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular. A neighborhood bar. Nothing wrong with that. Actually, a lot to be said for such a distinction.

The bartender had a baseball cap that was in camo colors. A regular came in and complimented her on it and she said, “Yeah, it says Keno on it. I got two of them. The Keno rep came in earlier and gave them to us. You want the other?” She gave the guy the other Keno camouflage cap and he put it on his head quickly like he had won something. This brings up a lot of questions. Does Keno need to push their wares so much? Don’t they already have a set and addicted clientele to begin with? And why camouflage? Does Keno need to go stealth on us? Keno will blend into the surroundings and sneak up on you like a state sanctioned gambling commando and shoot you in the face.  Or something like that.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back No. Neighborhood bar not my own. Also, horrible parking.

Mezcal Cafe – #104 on the Tour

The Bar: Mezcal Cafe

The Address 30 Major Taylor Turnpike

The Day and the Time  Friday at 4:30

The price Six dollars

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He just put it in..

What was the type of gin He asked me what I wanted I told him that I would have the basic and he went through a few thoughts and poured me one with Boodles which he then went on saying that to his mind, it is better than Bombay or Tanqueray, so there.

What was the gin and tonic like It was a nice drink, nothing bad to say about it. It was well proportioned and had taste, can’t be anything but pleased here.

The Joint This is a big industrial sprawl of a restaurant. It doesn’t have the warmest feel, due to the cold design, but it s a hell of a place none the less. I mean, they have a wall with paintings of luchadores, how can you not like a wall of luchadore paintings? The bar is big rectangle and the bartenders have to work hard to navigate it. It was not busy when I was there, but still people were at the bar for a drink and an appetizer and folks were coming in for dinner and what nots. The bartender said that this was the slowest it had been all day and he was sure that that was not going to last.

Just to be honest, i know the bartender, he’s a casual friend, though unaware of this tour. We spoke of friends and things that were happening. Another acquaintance of mine who works here, ran over and gave me a drive by hug. This is a Gin and Tonic Across Worcester first. The first surprise hug of the tour. Neither of them, I think, knew of my nefarious intentions, so bwa-ha-ha, to you all. I was a booze tourist wolf in sheep clothing.

General Impressions I have eaten here and like it. The bar is good as well. Its a loud boisterous after work place. The place focuses on tequila drink but the high ballI had was good. There is something to be said about the large loud, after work joint. Nothing wrong about a good one, and this was good.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back Absolutely. Maybe not for the bar, but for the food, no doubt. I like the place and I was happy that the gin and tonic that was not eight bucks and it was good. (I mean that’s why you all read this blog, right? To find out about gin and tonics? Correct?)

Armsby Abbey – #103 on the Tour

The Bar: Armsby Abbey

The Address 144 Main Street

The Day and the Time Friday at 4

The price 8

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She did and I got one

What was the type of gin I didn’t see, something above the bottom rung I believe.

What was the gin and tonic like It was decent. A little harsh on the back of the mouth, but alright. I know this gets tedious, but when we get to the right dollar or more range of Gin and Tonics, I really want a damned fine drink. And I might have enjoyed this one at 4 bucks, or 5, but at 8, I think my taste buds gets snootier and more unnecessarily discerning.

The Joint A very popular place. It was getting packed at four, that’s saying something. People were having a lot of designer beers and food on strange plate like surfaces. The Place has an old pub feel with chalk board explaining the intricate details of the beers on tap and folks were cool and hip and staring at their smart phones. There were a lot of large beards and black jeans.  The wait staff was efficient and moved at a pace. One could only imagine when the true rush occurred. The bar was decent and I was comfortable there.

Full Disclosure Section of our Proceedings: I don’t like the Armsby Abbey. I have been there a few times half a decade ago and did not enjoy myself any of the three or four times my friends and I went.  The food the service or the general demeanor of the place. I saw rude bartenders, annoyed waitresses who you had to rustle up to get your food or check, and food that was so extreme in seasoning it was almost uneatable. People love the place, and that’s fine, I just am not one of them. That’s how businesses and tastes work. But what really set it for me is that I was having a conversation a couple years back with a bearded tatooed individual at another bar and the topic of the Armsby came up and I said I didn’t care for the place. He got upset with me, and started to interrogate me (truly interrogate me) on why I would think such factious ideas.He wouldn’t let me be done. He kept on asking details, he needed details. So I gave him my reasons for not caring for a bar and he kept on explaining to me why I was wrong in my thinking (which is always a great way to make a friend). He explained I didn’t understand what I was saying. I was wrong, The Armsby was great. The bartenders weren’t rude, they were just professional. The waitress wasn’t unhelpful, just busy, don’t I understand the difference? The young man, by saying that was implying that I was a philistine with no sense of taste and that I must change my ways in this Microbrew Inquisition or be labeled a heretic and only be allowed to get boneless buffalo wings and Budweisers at the Chili’s location of his choosing. Alright. This guy wasn’t an owner of Armsby, though he shamelessly namedropped the owners’s, in explaining why their decisions were sacred word brought down from Restaurant Heaven. But it was the fervency that annoyed me. This proselytizing was unpleasant and if this is the way the lovers of the place act, then I wanted nothing to do with the Armsby.

But here I am on my silly little project of going to every bar in Worcester to have a gin and tonic. I am nearing the end and still I have been putting off going here. But I figured, get it over with, and it might be a great time and…..

General Impressions …it wasn’t bad. I thought it was a decent, busy joint. The oncoming crush would get rid of the ability to have a relaxed and leisurely visit but it wasn’t bad. The one weird thing I noticed was with the wait staff and bartenders was the lack of smiles. One was half heartedly smiling, but you could almost tell that she was trying to remember not to. The others I saw had it down, not exactly frowning in their work, but at no time would their mouths twitch up. Is this a mandate, to be serious and stoic at all time, because that’s why we go to bars, for the abject stoicism of the activity. Bartender Brian was not surprised about this when i told him, he said this place and Legal Seafood, you will never see smiling, they are just too busy. Well, where’s the joy in that?

Amount of Time in the Joint 20 minutes

Will I come back No. I was relieved it was an okay time (good though unsmiling service and a serviceable drink), but there are so many wonderful places in town, why bother with a place where you have had bad service or poor food? Its great to try every place and to give a joint a second chance, but with this one popular location, I will probably beg out of invitations.