This will be my regular watering hole for Central.
I dropped in here with a good friend who lived for many years in Dublin. His response to our Saturday brunch was 'I hadn't had a meal like that since Ireland.'
If that's not enough said for you, here's my two cents: not all the time, but I love a place where you can get a beer without service that gives a damn. There's a sense of calm in inattentive service, and I mean that.
This place balances great beer on tap with a healthy amount of whiskey and a fun, southern-twang of a menu, including some mean catfish.
If you're at a similar place that I am, where you love the social scene in Central but you're not in the single scene of Brick & Mortar or Green Street, Plough & Star is a good spot to be.
All in all, go forth un-needy people. Your home awaits.
I'm giving this place one star due to a recent change in management. Keep reading and I'll explain.
Local bands have been playing at this venue for years, bringing in a huge crowd of beer drinkers and diners. Music is the #1 draw for bars like this one, who depend on music lovers and groupies for a high percentage of their business. Some bands have played here for years and have a well-known following.
That said, it is extremely important we treat our local musicians and artist with love and respect. After all, for all the happiness and good cheer they bring, they aren't padding their pockets with a whole lot of money.
In addition to a small stipend for their efforts, band members who play at the Plough have in the past always gotten $2 drinks and free sandwiches off the menu at the end of the evening. It has been a tradition for years, and a nice way of saying thank you for having played so hard and sung your butts off all evening.
Yet, suddenly new management comes in and where do they cut costs? Sandwiches. No more for the bands. Sorry, if you want a Cuban sandwich and fries after bringing in all those patrons who buy our food and drinks, you'll have to pay full price ($14) along with tax and tip like everyone else. That probably comes to a total of $20, half of what one band member makes for an entire evening.
Seriously, how much does it cost this place to serve a sandwich at cost to the people who literally bring them all of their business?
On top of the "no sandwich" kick in the pants, the "new management" has also told all the bands that, hey, we are watching you and if you don't bring in enough patrons and money for us, we are going to stop asking you to come back.
Basically, the bands and musicians in this establishment are now treated like dirt just because that's the way some new person thinks a business should be run.
Well, I got news for you Plough and Stars, your new management is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of old time regulars. The local bands have deep, deep roots in this town. We care about our local artists a lot. And if you can't be nice to them, we are happy to take our beer dollars to Sally's, Toad, Bull McCabes or one of the other fantastic dive bars throughout Cambridge and Somerville.
I think I hear the music calling, and it is calling me elsewhere.
Lovelovelove with the Cuban here. It's a heart-clogging work of staggering genius, although it's been too, too long and I miss its crusty grandeur. The live music is bumping and the snug interior fits just the right amount of showered-a-few-days-ago folk fanz (myself included, Judgey Wudgey).
So what's a down and dirty, Ã¼berearthy pub doing slinging bougie brunch fare that struggles to keep up with its price tag? Couldn't tell you. It's like a switch gets flipped and the powers-that-be want to capitalize on America's largest margin meal with Cantabrigians who sleep on infinity thread count sheets. Does not compute.
My pork confit hash tasted fine as a whole, but the smokey protein was penned by a metric pigload of undercooked, grease-soaked potato shreds. The eggs were small and overdone; the roasted garlic hollandaise had broken. Maybe an off day? The purveyors of such a fine Cuban, I'd like to hope so.
One bite of her plain French toast and we agreed: it's French toast. So how did this pairing, with soft drinks, creep up to $40 when all is said and done? Sticker shocked for a meal that could have been worth it, but wasn't even close.
I've never been more divided on two faces of the same business. Two stars for the brunch, 5 for the nightlife/Cuban combo netting a 3.5 total.