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
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.