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Beat of a different restaurant

After you get a glass of wine, roam along the walls...
After you get a glass of wine, roam along the walls...
Sandi Miller

...with apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s "Howl"

This hidden gem is below the Gap in Harvard Square
Sandi Miller

I saw the hungriest diners of my generation, starving but stylishly clothed, dragging themselves down the stairs in Harvard Square at dusk looking for a tasty fix at the Beat Hotel, light-headed hipsters burning for the heavenly connection to the flowery dynamo in the art-exploded restaurant with glowing peace symbols on the night walls,

who despite recession and job tatters sat up not smoking in the supernatural darkness of a brick-walled dining hall in the city of Cambridge contemplating jazz, who bared their brains to Heaven under the T and saw server angels dancing their orders along the floor, who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes, whose woodwork, such as the tables, service stations and the bar, all handcrafted by local craftspersons,

made for those who lounged hungry and lonesome through Cambridge seeking jazz or wine or soup, to follow the brilliant owners of the Beehive, ( when they opened the Beat Hotel, which is not a hotel, but is named after an old French hotel once popular with members of the Beat Poetry movement,

to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task,

whose customers used their money to receive firewater, wine on tap and comfort food, in this newly opened furiously painted Beat Hotel or insatiate with a bottle of beer, or one of six draft beers (including Grateful Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Pretty Things’ Fluffy White Rabbit, and Fisherman’s Brew, and cans of Sixpoint, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon American Hops and Cisco Sankaty Light) in this Paradise Alley,

with tattooed torsos night after night with dreams, with alcohol, with waking dreams of Earth Bowls ($20) filled with a “super natural selection” of grilled vegetables like squash, carrots, edamame, beets, and tofu and tempeh, on a bed of 5-grain pilaf, a bowlful of flavors I chose to top with the skirt steak, which was cooked perfectly medium rare, but also can be vegan, or with wild salmon, shrimp, or chicken,

of American spirits and champagne cocktails such as the Bitter Truth, a slightly tart mix of aperol and elderflower, while a Macintosh champagne cocktail sips like a grownup apple cider (each $12.50) and the Purple Door cocktail tastes like blueberry pie with Tito’s vodka, blueberry puree and real maple syrup ($11), whose endless highballs of Electric Sidecar is Clear Creek apple brandy, Fruit Lab orange organic liqueur and sour mix ($12),

incomparable blind from Brattle Street save for a sign on the sidewalk, and only if you look down a stairway do you see the restaurant sign in the mind illuminating all the savory world of time passing between friends, wine drunkenness over the tabletops, flowers and birds and ladybugs and clouds and moons and tree vibrations painted on the walls and pillars of the Beat Hotel,

who sank in seats all night in submarine light of Beat Hotel’s moody lighting, floated out and sat through the draft beer afternoon, listening to the Grammy-winning jazz singers and Senegalese drummers on the hydrogen stage at one end of the room,

whose waiters waxed rhapsodically about the 24 sublime varieties of biodynamic American wine on tap, some organic, including Austin Hope Winery’s Troublemaker “Blend Six” 2001, a “vegan friendly” soft, full-bodied red with dark berries; Dancing Coyote Petit Sirah Clarksburg 2011, a rich full-bodied vegan powerful red with dark berries; the softer Dupe Vineyard Syrah 2012 Central Coast, of medium body, rich red fruits; and the Liberty School’s deep cabernet,

which are crafted by small batch winemakers with heart and soul, says the Beat Hotel, who distributed the wine in sample sizes that inspired weeping for gratitude in 2.5 ounce half glasses for $4.50-$7.25, while the thirstier choose 5 ounce glasses from $8.50 to $13.50, and carafes of 12.5 ounces for $20-$35 along one of two elongated bars,

whose wines were chosen, said one of the owners, for their purity, “for the best way to limit the bullshit, to try to work with your soul, to get back to the root, to get wine back to the field, to be biodynamic ... like local carrots, full of fiber, full of sugar. If you get carrots from chile, it’s sitting in a warehouse for months. same as the wine, if you don’t have the interest, you have a dead wine … so the technology of today permits us to do things we were unable to do years ago,”

which is how a battalion of platonic poets and blogger conversationalists jumping from table to bar to art-spattered restroom under macabre macrame archways were able to try several wines in a night yacketayakking sighing consuming drinking whispering facts and memories and anecdotes,

who ate the pulled lamb nachos of the imagination or digested the spicy Hamachi sashimi with avocado, sambal and black olives among the plates by the Beehive's executive chef Rebecca Newell, (whose Beehive spot is being filled by the majestic Marc Orfaly, formerly of Pigalle),

whose cuisine is “American brasserie,” with an eclectic array of menu items for carnivores and for those dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom, whose plates were filled with mini roast porchetta and rapini sliders ($10.50),

a duck salad with celery, fennel, pear, walnuts, and pecorino ($12) or the larger entree of seared duck breast that could have used more of the delicious cherry sauce, and that was accompanied by a slab of creamy corn pudding ($26),

a butcher’s platter an awesome variety of ham, prosciutto, fried chicken, peppers, chicken livers, blue cheese, and terrines of mustard and fruit compote,

the smoky chipotle BBQ spare ribs that melted in our mouths, ($14)

the Ethiopian Salad with arugula, cottage cheese, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and teff cake ($11),

crispy tuna spring rolls ($11),

and swordfish taco with black beans & Spanish rice ($24),

who wept at the romance of the whole scene with their platefuls of onions and in a room of great blues and world music, who sat in comfortable booths in the darkness by the stage, and rose up to order desserts of chocolate peanut butter cake with a side of salted caramel ice cream or apple cheesecake, which can be accompanied with a glass of the Domaine Chandon Brut Reserve split ($12).

Highs! Epiphanies! Minds! New loves! They bade farewell! They jumped off their chairs waving! carrying flowers! into the street!

(....and more apologies to Beat Poets everywhere.)

Beat Hotel is open seven days a week from 5PM to 2AM Thursdays-Saturdays and 1AM Sundays-Wednesdays. Breakfast, lunch and brunch hours are planned in the coming weeks. Entertainment is included.

13 Brattle Street

Harvard Square


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