Where can you find strong cocktails, pool tables, rock ‘n’ roll, and gargoyles? Church. Yes, really. Not exactly the most religious of places, Church is a combination restaurant and music club in the Fenway area, tucked just far enough away to avoid being part of the cluster of loud, packed sports bars.
The gargoyles are part of the slightly medieval ambiance. Heavy red velvet curtains and candles help round out the theme. Large windows let in the sun during the day, and at night Church becomes moody and romantic.
Church’s cocktails are truly a religious experience. Try one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ – my favorite is Death. The descriptions are riddles to be unraveled. Death, for example: With this cocktail we have dressed Death in velvet, walked her down the cobbled streets of Toledo, where she to this day dances with “la fee verte,” locked in a perpetually effervescent prison. The key is yours now. If you deduced absinthe and champagne from ‘la fee verte’ and ‘effervescent,’ you are correct.
The small menu is strong all around, a solid selection of seasonal comfort foods with little innovative twists here and there. (Fried bowtie pasta showed up as a side to sliders once, for example.) Many ingredients are locally sourced. You can always find different types of sliders and flatbreads, along with larger entrees. The mac and cheese is the best I’ve ever had at a restaurant. The secret? Truffle oil and Ritz crackers. Classic.
You can choose from a variety of dining experiences: on the restaurant side, there’s the bar, high tables near the bar, low leather couches, and regular tables. You can also order from the full menu at the bar on the music club side. (The club, by the way, brings in an excellent selection of both local and non-local talent. It’s one of the best venues on this side of town. There are pool tables, too.)
A word of warning: parking is a nightmare if you go during a home Sox game. If you really feel the need to visit this part of town on the day of a home game, take public transportation or walk. And as for the Church thing? Recently, a real church actually began renting space on the club side every Sunday morning. Whether you find salvation in food, drinks, music, or religion, all of these await you at Church.
69 Kilmarnock St.
Boston, MA 02215
Hours: Mon – Fri 5 pm – midnight; Sat – Sun 11 am – midnight
Rachel Leah Blumenthal is a Somerville-based writer, photographer, and musician. She writes about food on her blog, Fork it over, Boston!, and runs Boston Food Bloggers, a networking community. For more information, visit RachelBlumenthal.net.