Bites Nearby: Watch City Brewing Company
This Waltham pub and restaurant has become a mainstay on Moody Street since it opened in 1996.
The Watch City Brewing Company played a key role in the revival of Moody Street in the 1990s, along with the Embassy Cinema down the street. It's still going strong as a place to have a beer and appetizers with a Red Sox game or sit down for a full dinner. The chef makes new specials each day and there are about a half dozen seasonal beers brewed on the premises, such as "Steam Punk Ale," "Chocolate Thunder Porter" and "Fenway Fungo Scottish Wee Light." A bit of trivia: it's one of the only local breweries in the U.S. owned by a woman.
Suggested dish: A popular appetizer is the buffalo wings, with both chicken wings and drumsticks. They're spicy and smoky, and have a salty tang. The celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side complement them well and are a cooling agent. A few more celery sticks would have been even better. The whole dish is plentiful and meaty, though. Like all appetizers, it's also half-price on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., which is a real bargain.
The vibe: Lively and pub-like. It can get a bit loud on weekends.
Cool factor no. 1: You can ask for a taste of beers before ordering one. It's a good idea, too, unless you're an expert, since they're quite different from each other -- and usually not at all like a Sam Adams or Harpoon.
Cool factor no. 2: The list of "craft" beers at each table gives the IBU (international bitterness unit) for each brew, as well as its alcohol content and some other ingredients.
Cool factor no. 3: A tip: The big, central bar is fun and lively. It's perfect if you're dropping in for an appetizer, drink and Red Sox game. If you want to have a quiet conversation, though, ask for a table along one of the far walls.