Beer Bar Review: The Local, Newton, MA

The Local in West Newton aims to be a neighborhood favorite, a place where people living in the area can get together with friends and grab a drink, a snack or a meal with a focus on quality and affordability. Word has clearly gotten out, every time I’ve gone the place has been packed and there is typically a wait for a table. The room is centered on a large rectangular bar, with some seating off to the left and more to the right, including an additional small dining room. The low lighting and solid soundtrack of classic rock in the background creates a nice atmosphere, even when crowded the bar has good energy without being overwhelmingly loud, you can carry on a conversation at normal volume. On a recent Friday evening there was a diverse mix of twenty-something’s meeting up with friends of on dates, along with slightly older couples out with their families or out for a date night away from the kids.

The bar has specialty drinks and a rotating selection of affordable wines, but this is a beer blog so my focus is on their beer selection. Don’t be deceived by their online beer menu (which isn’t fully updated, they have a number of rotating taps as well), the beer selection is great here. There are around 15 taps and the focus is local and seasonal brews. Old standbys like Harpoon IPA and Sam Adams Seasonal selection are ubiquitous in the Boston area, but it was nice to see rotating kegs of Pretty Things and Slumbrew are also on the permanent menu. Other local beers dominate the specials menu, including selections by Baxter Brewing, Tuckerman’s, and High and Mighty. While there were a number of Marzens and Brown ales (appropriate for the fall), there was also a good selection of styles. The waitress was knowledgeable, knew general facts about the beers without having to ask for help, and was attentive without being overbearing. In general I would prefer a well thought out menu of limited taps over a bar that has everything, and the Local delivers with a great selection.

One other reason to go to the Local is the food, the menu features bar favorites from burgers and steak tips to flatbreads and seafood dishes, all done with a focus on fresh and seasonal products. Check out the menu at: http://www.liveeatlocal.com/newton/food. There are also meal specials that change daily. It is obvious that thought and care are put into the dishes and that nothing was pulled out of a freezer pre-prepared. One favorite snack is their fried pickles, high-quality pickles, lightly breaded then perfectly fried and served with a slightly spicy aioli. Check out the Local the next time you’re in West Newton for some quality local beer and good food, they have also opened a location in Wayland and are in the process of opening in Wellesley.

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