I’ve lived in a few different neighborhoods in Somerville and while I don’t like to play favorites, I have to say that my current location near Union Square might be the best yet. One reason I love it so much? The Independent, a bar and restaurant, that my husband and I joke is our kitchen away from home.
The Independent has two different rooms to dine in, one with a casual pub feel and the other with a more upscale, white tablecloth atmosphere. You can order off of the same menu in both and it’s nice to have the option of choosing what type of atmosphere you prefer on any given night. I usually pick the pub side (which is also a good spot to watch sports on TV), but both get pretty lively on a weekend night, making them equally great choices.
The Independent has an extensive, rotating beer list of some of the tastiest brews I’ve ever sampled. They mix in lots of local favorites, like Pretty Things, with beers from all over the world. In addition to a killer beer list, the wine selection, while not as extensive, is of the same high quality. The wine special is often incredibly delicious, as was a crisp, summery rose that I recently enjoyed.
Beyond beers and wines, The Independent has an amazing, also rotating, cocktail list. Plus, the bartenders at The Independent are real pros and will pretty much whip up anything you like. Don’t be fooled that this place is only a beer bar, as the cocktails are some of the best in town.
For food, you really can’t go wrong. I’ve eaten at The Independent enough times to have sampled nearly everything and have yet to have a dish that was less than stellar. On a recent night, there was a trout special served alongside a chunky salsa/deconstructed guacamole of avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and more. It was really flavorful, fresh and perfect for a warm summer night.
The fried almonds, deviled eggs and P.E.I. mussels are my favorite regular menu appetizers. The mussels have a real kick and go well with the mesclun greens (which come in an incredible lemony salad dressing) for a light, yet satisfying meal. The steak salad is also very popular and has a lot going on, with avocados, blue cheese and tomatoes rounding out the dish.
As for entrees, you can choose from the main list or have one of The Independent’s great sandwiches. The house veggie burger is probably the best in town and could satisfy even the most discerning meat eater. The pressed veggie sandwich and the regular beef burger (one of which is grass-fed) are hearty and filling. On the entree list, the pasta primavera and the pan-roasted trout are flavorful, fresh options that are sure to delight your tastebuds. But don’t overlook the specials, as The Independent creates some really wonderful limited-time dishes.
The Independent also does brunch, serving up some truly inspired offerings. I’m partial to the quinoa patty, which is topped with a poached egg and surrounded by mixed greens in that delicious lemony dressing. I know several people who swoon over the Irish breakfast, which comes with several different puddings (sausages) that you won’t find elsewhere. The Independent also offers more traditional fare like pancakes, oatmeal and omelets, as well as more savory lunch options, during its brunch service.
So if you’re looking for a great all-around restaurant, The Independent is your place. With an excellent bar scene, inspired food and friendly service, you won’t be disappointed!
The Independent (check out the spiffy new website, designed by Atedrake)
75 Union Square
Monday through Thursday: 3 p.m.-1 a.m.; Friday: 3 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.