United Nations of Beer: Harvard Square

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How do you create the Epcot of beer in Cambridge?

This past weekend I celebrated a friend’s birthday in the only acceptable way- a themed bar crawl. We went a little overboard on the international theme and made personal passports for participants, regulating ‘stamps’ for drinks finished. The night was a hit and I wanted to share the idea so that you can replicate it next time you’re in the mood for a silly time.

Where better to commence an international bar crawl than the Great United States of America, Charlie’s Kitchen? We gathered to distribute passports and memorize our new identities. I kicked off the crawl with a refreshing Brooklyn Lager which I enjoyed not outside in the inviting beer garden, but indoors with six of us squeezed into a 4 person booth. (Welcome to being friends with a prego who gets to call all the shots).

Ireland was the first foreign country we paid visit to, and the Tommy Doyle’s bouncer was less than impressed by my attempt to use my ‘passport’ as an ID. We headed upstairs to watch a game and were greeted with a fairly extensive beer menu, from which I chose a High & Mighty Beer of the Gods. To answer your question, yes, the Tommy D’s bartenders will put on Riverdance if you insist on Irish step dancing. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for my friend Leah, I now possess a blackmail video.

Via Mexico! We took a break from beer and slurped down house margaritas at Border Café. We made the mistake of eating full meals here, rice and beans included, which put us all in a bit of a food coma. I suggest you skip the sit-down dinner, fill up on Chips n Salsa at the bar, and get on your merry way, as this is a marathon, not a sprint.

You may argue that Norway isn’t exactly on the way, but we stopped at Grendal’s Den for Dark n Stormy’s and let’s be real- to earn another stamp for our passport. Grendal’s was a quick layover on the way to China (Hong Kong), which we never made it to, but had we made it to the classy establishment we would have sipped (okay, you’re right,  no one has the discipline to sip, downed) a scorpion bowl, and had a field day with the long colorful straws. I’m embarrassed to admit that had we made it there, you may have found us on the second floor, or even worse, the third.

Just when things would be getting sloppy, somebody would be start talking about food. Instead of settling for a slice of buffalo chicken pizza, we’d have crossed the river to Boston and headed straight for Japan (Uni) for late night ramen. Haven’t been, you say? You’re missing out. So much so that I didn’t want to publicize the place in an article so that I could keep it under wraps. The ritzy and piggy-bank-breaking restaurant by day turns into a chill spot on Friday and Saturday nights. I would have ordered a Porkslap Pale Ale and the traditional pork ramen with scallions, nori and a slow cooked egg off a hand-scrawled cardboard menu all for around 15 bucks.

With a passport full of stamps as evidence of my worldwide tour, and videos and pictures to re-count the day, I called it a night and crawled home.