by Kari Kempf
As the days get shorter and colder, I find myself in a position where I really want to go out but don’t care to face the weather while hopping between apartments, restaurants and bars. Last Saturday, I visited Beat Hôtel, a relatively new restaurant in Harvard Square, brought to you by the team behind The Beehive in the South End. A hotspot for dinner, drinks, live music, and fantastic cocktails and appetizers, Beat Hôtel is big, loud, cool and inviting all at once; come for dinner, stay for drinks, then stay even longer for music and mingling, all in the warm comfort of their sprawling premises.
Two Friedman friends and I decided to check this place out on a Saturday night. I had a case of severe cabin fever in my apartment and was feeling intrepid, so I ventured out early to establish a place for myself at the bar. Beat Hôtel is subterranean, with whimsical bohemian decorations, funky chandeliers and an elegantly chic team at the hostess stand, behind the bar, and making the table rounds. I arrived around 7 PM and the place was packed—this is definitely a place you where you want to make reservations (never fear, they are on Open Table) or be prepared to seize one of the high tables or a seat at one of the two expansive bars.
I started off by ordering a carafe of wine, poured from the impressive, real wine taps behind the bar. The cocktails all looked incredible, and one from our party got the ‘American Breed’—a warming blend of Maker’s Mark, St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur and apple cider. I was on the waitlist for a table, but we didn’t mind eating at the bar and ended up snagging three seats, and bantered with the bartender. Since we were having a late dinner, we were ravenous and ordered the Pulled Lamb Nachos with Apple Salsa appetizer, having heard its praises. Presented as a pile of crispy tortilla chips with tender lamb, several types of cheese, diced baked apples, and vegetables throughout, we tore into the nachos—and they did not disappoint.
We ordered our main dishes and more drinks, and the food came in good time. The three of us opted for three different mains: the pan-roasted sole with soba noodles, snow peas and walnut pesto; the braised beef brisket with sweet potatoes and petite Brussels sprouts; and the Earth Bowl, a “super natural selection of vegetables, 5-grain pilaf, pumpkin tahini sauce” and whatever one fancies to add to the vegan base bowl, if anything at all (shrimp was the choice in this case, but chicken, wild salmon, and skirt steak can be added). All three entrees were either very good or phenomenal, especially the Earth Bowl. I can proudly say that all of us joined the Clean Plate Club that night.
Overall, Beat Hôtel has great potential to be a hit with Friedman students and anyone who enjoys good food, libations, chatting with other patrons, and warm, buzzing, dimly-lit places that also boast live music. One of the best features of the menu is that items are labeled very clearly with gluten-free or vegan-friendly labels, plus the wine list notes vineyards that use sustainable viticulture and/or farming techniques or are certified organic or biodynamic. Prices for main dishes are on the medium-high end, but going to grab some drinks and share an appetizer is a very wallet-friendly move to get the Beat Hôtel experience. The staff is friendly, the décor is eye-catching, and the menu is simple but eclectic, so consider stopping in when you’ve got the time to have a good time. And a bonus? There’s Weekend Jazz Brunch from 10 AM-3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
Kari Kempf is a second year Nutrition Communication/DPD student whose favorite winter activities include skiing, drinking tea all day to stay warm, and sampling microbrews alongside artisan cheeses. To learn more about her, visit our Meet Our Writers page.