Remixing a classic can be a dicey endeavor, but Chef Michael Scelfo pulls it off with panache at The Longfellow Bar, where he sets Alden & Harlow, his Harvard Square garden-level mainstay, to music and turns up the volume. Step in out of the Square to find a pair of beautiful bars in the historic Cafe Algiers space, with warm woods and modern design lit by the glow of an open kitchen pumping out snacks from the stove and hits from the record player. Come for the cocktails, gather over the grub, and stay for the vibe.
The food at Longfellow is best described as high-concept bar snacks. Prepare to order something familiar and not be quite sure how to tackle what shows up (pro tip: when in doubt, use your hands). You’ll recognize a few favorites from downstairs that have made their way north by popular demand alongside lots of craveable comfort-food newness, and most everything is meant to be shared.
There are two floors of fun at Longfellow, and the bars steal the show on both. Downstairs is cozy and intimate, with a low beamed ceiling and a rough wooden bar surrounded by a few banquettes and a nook by the window. Flames and aromas from the kitchen warm the room, and there’s a bit of a bustle with patrons entering and exiting and squeezing in where they can. Things feel a bit more refined and airy upstairs, where a gabled ceiling soars over the white marble bar, making it feel like you’re drinking in a very swanky cathedral. There’s a teeny tiny patio overlooking Brattle Street, and even the bathrooms are stylish—thoughtfully stocked with everything from breath mints to toothpicks.
When it comes to what to drink, the world is your oyster at Longfellow. The cocktail list is musically-inspired, constantly updated, and makes like the menu in its mashup of experimental flavors and remixes. If you’re not feeling like a cocktail, the wine list is just as funky fresh as the rest of the menu, with wines listed by musical influence and song puns rather than their varietal. You’re just as likely to find a macro lager on the beer list as a small-batch foreign sour. Part of the fun at this bar is how tough it is to pin down.
40 Brattle Street #3
Cambridge, MA 02138