Travel back to Harvard Square of yesteryear at the Red House

GOB_ThurstyRed3_1010

Photos by Derek Kouyoumjian

Harvard Square is in the midst of another of its periodic metamorphoses, this one marked by the introduction of more late night dining (Tasty Burger), new music venues (The Sinclair), and sleek restaurants with a nightclub vibe (The Beat Hotel).

Predictably, change in the Square’s dynamic is accompanied by a fair amount of conflicted handwringing about lost identity and whatever else it is old people get mad about when young people are having fun. For those people — and any people who want to maintain a certain illusion about the neighborhood — The Red House offers a glimpse into the Harvard Square of the past. 1802 to be more precise.

The iconic cottage (it’s red, as you may have guessed)— recently restored to maintain its turn of the 19th century quaint charm — is tucked away on Winthrop Street. So, while it’s been something of a staple on the dining scene for years, and has a good reputation for its pan-European cuisine, it’s often overlooked as a spot to grab a drink — or at least it’s often overlooked by me.

All of the restaurant’s historical notes — its small, low-ceilinged dining rooms and bar area, period-evocative design, an open fire pit and an alfresco patio with an oyster bar and taps — make it the yin to the nearby Charlie’s Kitchen yang (both are owned by the same people). In short, it’s a reserved, thoughtful alternative to the often over-crowded, high-energy bars in the area.

“It’s a very calm, relaxed atmosphere,” says bar manager Dominic Conteras. “It’s not too crazy. We’re busy, but it retains that mellowness that can be hard to find in bars in Cambridge and Boston.”

GOB_ThurstyRed2_1010

A recent visit found cocktails that, while not technically drawn from the building’s era, were evocative of the type of seasonal drinking you might have found at the time – particularly the abundance of apple-based concoctions.

The Big Apple takes a healthy dose of apple brandy and rye, two iconic American-style spirits (although it’s Calvados in this case), with Carpano Antica and Angostura bitters. It’s an easily sippable Manhattan variant (although it must be said that the angle-rimmed, curving martini glasses are sort of silly). Hot mulled cider takes apples sourced from the owners’ farm in Winchendon. Elsewhere the Autumn Leaves — another rye cocktail taking green Chartreuse, Aperol, Maraschino and lemon — is a spicy, aromatic sip, although it could benefit from a bit less of the sweetness from the Maraschino.

GOB_ThurstyRed_1010

Either of those three would be wise choices to sip outside on the patio, or, as the weather turns, inside by the fire.

“There’s so much foot traffic, the patio is where you want to post up with a book and a beer, and check out all the eccentric characters that walk through the square,” Conteras says. The only detail that might make the scene more quaint is if the characters you were watching were those of 200 years past. Perhaps you can conjure them up after a few more ciders.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…