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RESTAURANT REVIEW

The Daddy of Beantown’s Bars

Dad’s Beantown: Cold Drinks, Warm Food, Hot Bartenders and Waitresses

By Margaret H. Shyr

Dad’s Beantown

911 Boylston St., (617) 296-3237

Open for lunch and dinner until 2 a.m.

We discovered Dad’s by accident one weekend earlier this summer. We’d already worn-out Whiskey’s, Cactus Club, Daisy’s, and of course, Crossroads during the school year. For those of you unaware, these are the favorite Boston-side hangouts of many of-age MIT students.

It was time to find someplace new, preferably close enough to Massachusetts Avenue so we could find our way home at 2 a.m. Maybe we were drawn to the retro-silver exterior of Dad’s, or maybe it was the sign outside that said “$3 margaritas and daiquiris.” Most likely it was the hot waitresses in Britney Spears-inspired schoolgirl outfits and dead-sexy bouncers in white shirts and ties.

That first night we sat on white upholstered couches, sang along to ’80s rock, and spent probably under $20 apiece to get reasonably ... comfortable.

Sometime later that week, a friend and I went back to have an after-work drink. The bar takes on a different character during lunch and dinner hours: the tables are covered with white cloths, illuminated with candles, and set with silverware and napkins. A waitress (yes, boys, she was dressed like Britney) handed us a menu and suggested that we order the $7 pizza. Just so we didn’t look like major drunks too early in the day, we ordered an artichoke-topped pizza to go with our margaritas.

When our order arrived, it was definitely not the ketchup-covered cardboard from Crossroads -- the pizza was fresh, hot, and loaded with cheese and artichokes. It was actually too big for us to finish that night. In addition to the pizza, Dad’s also offers a $2 taco plate on some days which, according to my sister, the taco connoisseur, is “GOOOOOD.” I’ll say that the tacos come loaded, the meat is well-seasoned, and you get two vats of rice and beans. The wings ($3 for a dozen) were hot (temperature-wise and seasoning-wise) and crispy.

Whether you’re at the bar in the front, the one in the back, or the one in the basement --that’s three bars, kids, which means there’s never a long wait for drinks -- the bartenders are very fun.

As far as the drinks go, definitely get your margarita frozen and flavored (strawberry and mango). And by the way, Dad’s is generous with the tequila. If you want the real drink bargain, it’s definitely the $5 pint glass (16 oz.) full of blue margarita (frozen or on the rocks). As someone put it, “It’s like tequila dyed blue!” The shots are chilled and on the large side, unless of course you’re drinking out of the bottle and spinning around in the chair in the basement. You’ll have to go there to find out what I’m talking about.

The basement is in the process of becoming a new section of the restaurant called “Lil’ Mexico.” It will be open by now and you should definitely check it out. The menu features nachos, tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, and more -- all for under $8 (most of the items are under $5). And of course there are the drinks. Judging from the current standard at Dad’s, both the new food and drinks will be consistently excellent.

As some of the guys I took there said, “This place is the find of the summer.” I suppose it was. Overall, the food and drinks are cheap and enjoyable, which is probably why you’ll end up going. But the real appeal of Dad’s is the atmosphere. A lot of places around Boston can be intimidating -- go try to get carded by the 9 large bouncers dressed in black outside Pravda. Instead, the staff at Dad’s is friendly and good-humored.

For example, last weekend, there was a bachelorette party where one girl was dancing on the white chairs with a whip. She took a couple of swipes at some of the very cute guys on staff. They just laughed. Like the waitstaff, the crowd hanging out at Dad’s is young, attractive, and energetic -- there is eye candy for all. The dÉcor is black-and-white photographs of old movie stars, neon signs, and silver tables. The white “pimp-ass” booths are big enough to fit at least 16 people. The music ranges from ’80s rock to today’s pop and there’s some room for movin’.

Dad’s is part restaurant, part bar, and all fun. I spent my last night in Boston at Dad’s and have probably brought everyone I know there at some point. This summer, it was definitely the place to have a $5 dollar glass of blue margarita, sit around with all of my friends, make some new friends, watch new friends pick up old friends, and genuinely have a good time.