Grendel's Den

Bar / Restaurant
Grendel's Den Named after the brutish monster from the medieval classic Beowulf, Grendel's Den is a fun and atmospheric underground tavern that stays charmingly true to its theme. Boston United States 42.372344 -71.120872
3.88 10
Grendel's Den - Bar | Restaurant in Boston.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Named after the brutish monster from the medieval classic Beowulf, Grendel’s Den is a fun and atmospheric underground tavern that stays charmingly true to its theme. Laid-back Cambridge locals and quirky young professionals... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    Daily 11:30am–1am; Patio April 1–November 30 only

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Grendel's Den Review

The Scene

Named after the brutish monster from the medieval classic Beowulf, Grendel's Den is a fun and atmospheric underground tavern that stays charmingly true to its theme.

Named after the brutish monster from the medieval classic Beowulf, Grendel’s Den is a fun and atmospheric underground tavern that stays charmingly true to its theme.

Laid-back Cambridge locals and quirky young professionals trundle downstairs into an exposed brick hideaway sporting a huge U-shaped bar, wood accents, and a roaring, if artificial, fire in the hearth.

Red brick archways lead to various smaller nooks decorated with large mirrors reflecting the action at the bar.

An elevated dining area in back is aggressively first-come first-serve, as a diverse mix of business lunchers, artsy hipsters, and Harvard students elbow their way in to take advantage of the spectacularly cheap Happy Hour meal deals, with many patrons staying on well into their fifth Newcastle to enjoy the warmth of the laid-back vibe.

When the weather is nice, guests can take their pints out to the patio to chat or watch the street performers and musicians in Winthrop Park.

Packed with an outgoing clientele and with atmosphere to spare, Grendel’s Den is a fun and welcoming hangout that will pluck up even the weariest of warriors.

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Tip from Emma:

You really can’t beat the half-price food from 5 to 7:30pm. Drink specials are illegal in Boston, so if you’re craving a good Happy Hour, this is probably as close as you can get.

  • Crowd

    Harvard students, alternative types, and preppy young professionals, early 20s to late 30s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Bartenders’ playlists including everything from the White Stripes to Lady Gaga.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Full menu featuring portobello reubens, gorgonzola mac and cheese, and veggie chili. Half-price menu daily 5–7:30pm and Su–Th 9–11:30pm. Weekday express lunch deals. Brunch Su 11:30am–3pm.

  • Prices

    Brunch $4.50–$10, appetizers $3.50– $8, soups and salads, $2.75–$8, entrées $5.75–$14, weekday express lunch $4.95. Beer $4–$9, wine $7–$13, cocktails $5.75–$7.75.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: jeans, t-shirts, informal dresses, shorts, polos.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any time for the half-price menu specials, especially Friday nights when a large after-work crowd shows up to kick off the weekend.

  • Close By

    The small and cozy Shay’s Pub and Wine Bar (58 JFK Street) is an unpretentious alternative if Grendel’s is packed.

Grendel's Den User Reviews

Average rating:
Cheap food, good beer, no tourists
Delia H. Jun 24, 2013
This place is a little hidden away treasure in Harvard Square. The first time I went I almost missed the door, which is down what looks like some back steps. Nope, it's not the emergency exit, it's the entrance to one of the best bars in Harvard Square. The waitstaff at Grendel's Den never bother you, but they're always easy to located when you need something. They also have a pretty extensive knowledge of beer and make great recommendations if you're looking to branch out or aren't usually a beer drinker and need some guidance. At night the place can get crowded and is definitely a younger scene with mostly college kids, but during the day you can find all types taking advantage of the beer selection and great lunch offerings. The lunch specials at this place are phenomenal. Super cheap, a variety of options, and I never leave hungry. Personally, I find this to be a rest haven of sanity from some other Harvard Square restaurants that tend to be expensive and overrun with tourists. Take a load off and enjoy the Den--you'll be glad you got away from the crowd.
Burgers so good, you'll rip your enemy's arm off
Dave C. May 23, 2013
Grendel's Den is basically everything you would expect from a college bar in Harvard Square, along with a few fantastic curve balls. Tucked in a basement space there are small tables scattered about that make for a relaxed atmosphere. I have only ever eaten at this restaurant on busy weekend nights, when hipster kids flag down waitresses for Portobello wraps and coeds wax philosophically over craft beers. For my own part, I had the Natural Disaster burger, a delicious mix of Swiss Cheese, creamy avocado, chutney, and Cajun sauce. As if that weren't enough, for a small fee I was able to get grass fed beef for my patty. It was delicious, and the flavor combination was unlike anything I had ever tasted. The service was excellent. I never waited long for a beer, and everyone was courteous and attentive. I would highly recommend this place. The only issue is that it is often crowded, and with so many bodies in such a small place, it can be a bit of a drag if you go in hangry. That's hungry and angry, for those of you not in the know. There is often a wait for seats, and it can get really warm down there. Apart from that, I'd say Grendel's Den is mythical in its awesomeness.
A Warm Corner
Nat M. Mar 31, 2013
The Grendel who has taken up residence in this cozy den wouldn’t frighten even the smallest child. Just look at the picture on the sign: the smug little Grendel here is offering up a feast and looks like he’s had one too many to stand up. For those interested in ending their night out in such a state, this is the place for you. Down the uneven steps is a warmly lit basement walled with wood and brick and crammed full of intimate tables. On the far side is a stage with a few tables for intimate conversation. And for the more social, there is a very long, three-sided bar in the center of the room where chatty bartenders serve up many quality beers. There you’ll find Harvard’s students and professors breaking bread with Cambridge’s punks. What brings such different groups of people to the same bar is not just the common need for refuge from the cold. The bargains are the real draw. Every day at happy hour the already cheap food is half off. It’s just bar fare, but it’s done right. A place this devoted to food and drink plays no music. That would just get in the way of your hedonistic socializing. So if you are looking to put a little protection against the cold on your belly among chatty strangers, this is your place. Just be careful up the stairs when they make you toddle home.
Grendel's Den - Cambridge Hot Spot
Dylan H. Mar 4, 2013
My Take: Grendel ’s Den is found at the end of a pedestrian-only cobblestone street in the heart of Harvard Square, making it one of the most sought-after bars in Cambridge. Sitting next to a small park, Grendel’s Den is uniquely hidden under a row of the city’s most prestigious restaurants. Locals and curious tourists, attracted by the distinct monkey on the welcome sign and warm and friendly vibe inside, frequent this authentic college spot. The Scene: Guests who enter Grendel’s Den are always warmly welcomed with an invitation to find their own table. The laid back atmosphere is certainly friendly, but can leave a new visitor feeling overwhelmed. However, everyone from students and young professionals to parents and grandparents contribute to the noisy, chaotic, and homey vibe of the bar while ordering a drink and waiting for a table. Cocktails & Cuisine: Grendel’s Den is well known for its burgers, soups, vegetarian options, and a wide variety of beer. The food selection changes slightly throughout the day, but there are always many choices for a leisurely dinner or meal on the run, such as nachos, classic deli sandwiches, or a wrap. Prices: In the middle of Harvard Square, it is difficult to find a restaurant with prices as reasonable as Grendel’s Den; however, costs are a bit higher than your local suburban equivalent. Burgers start at $6.50, while other entrees are between $6.00 and $9.00. It is quite easy to have a dinner for two with drinks for under $30.00, proving the true value of Grendel’s Den. What to Wear: Cambridge is known for trendy college students and high fashion. Local’s outfits will feature anything from jeans and a button down to casual dresses, or even young professionals stopping by for a drink after leaving the office. Insider Info/When to go: A half price menu service as an incentive for guests to come during non-peak times (5-7:30 PM daily, 9-11:30 PM Sunday-Thursday). However, Grendel’s Den is most popular for a late dinner and drinks (7-9 PM) any day of the week.
Great college bar
Christina W. Dec 12, 2012
Having gone to a university that probably rivals Harvard in nerdy-ness, Grendel's Den is my kind of spot. There is really nothing like a great college bar, and even better is a great college bar in a great college town! I went here with my friend who works on Harvard's campus. I met her after she finished and she suggested a drink. Since I knew nothing about Boston, I let her choose, and since we went to college together she knew I would love this place. We had to squeeze in at the bar because it was completely packed. (Half price food for happy hour means a LOT of patrons show up.) We ordered some snacks and knocked back a few beers and reminisced about the good old college days. It must have been rather silly to see, since we were only a year out of college and everyone in the bar probably was a current student at Harvard. At any rate, it's got that adorable college-town charm, decent food, and a great beer list. And for me, it feels like home. So if you had a favorite college bar when you were at school, check this place out next time you're in Boston. It might just bring back some memories.
Heart of Harvard Square
Priyanka Z. Nov 1, 2012
I went to this place in my recent trip to Boston on a colleague's recommendation. And I am so glad I was not disappointed. We didn't have dinner there but the drinks were outstanding. The mulled wine and rum Cider-- delish and warm!! The service is great.. I would love to come back and enjoy the outdoor seating area on w nice summer day and read a book there while I eat some nice lunch and enjoy the park next to it.. Nice place.. you shouldn't miss it when you visit Boston!
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