The best Cambridge bars for writers

With the release of Stranger Than Fiction, I’m now up to five published novels. Holy shit.

To celebrate, I wanted to give a shout out to a few places that made it all possible. When covid restrictions have allowed, a large part of my writing process has been “welp, let’s take the notebook out for a beer and see how many words I can crank out.” Something about being out and about among people, with lots to listen to and look at, gets my writerly juices flowing in a way that sitting at my desk alone just doesn’t. Or maybe I’m just a drunk. Either way, I know what process leads to the results I’m looking for, and it’s sidling up to the bar, ordering a delicious beverage, and becoming the weird guy scribbling along in perfect cursive while the world buzzes around him.

And so, in no particular order, I present to you the best Cambridge, MA bars to write in.

Cambridge Brewing Company – Way back in my early twenties, I thought having a nice beer meant grabbing a pint of Guinness or hefting a big tube of Harpoon UFO–and then some new friends introduced me to CBC. The impressive, ever-changing range of styles and easygoing ambience hooked me immediately. Their taproom is just a pleasant place to be, and it’s fun trying to pick out the staff and regulars immortalized on the mural covering one of the walls. Highly recommended for an easy night out, even if you’re not trying to kickstart your latest fantasy epic.

Lamplighter Brewing – The beer is good and strong, and the room is always boisterous. I’m not sure which of those factors helps me more. When I work here, I often find myself coming up for air, scanning the packed house, and getting a weird burst of creative energy from it all. Writers are weird, man.

Cambridge Common – The vibe here is just easy and chill. The bar is large and typically easy to find a seat at, even when it’s busy. The food is solid, the beer list rotates regularly, and the service is always friendly and attentive. Cambridge Common has been a reliable neighborhood spot for years now, and it’s exactly the kind of place I like taking my notebook to.

What’s your favorite spot to write?