Boston Flashback – Kings and Bukowski's

Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

We went for a walk this evening and ended up in English Bay. With our bellies running on empty and not wanting to wait in line for a spot on the Milestone’s patio to enjoy some unimpressive spinach dip, we hopped into the Denman Street Free House. Aside from them not having the wine that was listed in the menu and the bill which was a bottle of wine over our total, it was pretty enjoyable. The establishment itself is in a narrow space, which sent me spinning into a Boston Flashback. It’s surprising that I haven’t blogged more about my East Coast experience but I suppose now’s as good a time as any to start.

When I moved to Boston I was living at an extended stay executive hotel, which was basically fancy talk for a motel room with a mini kitchenette with broken burners about 30 minutes out of town in Waltham. Since I was given a living allowance for the first few months, finding a place to rent was a top priority since all costs would be footed by the company.


So there I was, the fall of 2002, hitting Craigslist Boston to find someone to live with. The person I ended up meeting and becoming great friends with was Jason – an Omaha boy who had just finished up at Boston University and was working downtown with all the other “blue shirt + khaki” Boston grads. There in that 2 family home in Watertown, MA on Aberdeen Avenue I had a spacious room, hardwood floors, and instant friendship with my new roommate. One of the best things about Jason was Ia, his adorably sweet girlfriend who was originally from Arkansas. It was thanks to them that I got to explore most of the city, take trips to the beach, and eat at interesting places that I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

It soon became “our thing” to meet up for bowling nights. Now this isn’t something that’s caught on in Vancouver, and I’m not sure it will – but the idea of a pool hall/pub/music lounge/bowling alley is amazingly fun, and soon Jason, Ia and I would spend entire afternoons (and evenings) at Kings.

If it wasn’t a Sunday night roommate bowling challenge, then I would meet Ia after work at Bukowski’s in Back Bay – the bar that originally got me on this tangent in relation to the Denman Street Free House. It was located near King’s and was a slender building with wicked beer (over 120 int’l brews), hot dog combos and dollar burgers on the menu – not to mention the veritable shrine to the man himself on the wall. Unlike the Free House this evening, it was definitely a dive bar, but a fantastic one at that. We’d meet make the trip into the downtown core to have said hotdogs, meetup, and get our bowling faces on.

Photo credit: vasu42 on Flickr

At King’s we’d watch Red Sox games on big screens that were hanging in between the lanes, and drink Sam Adams’ seasonal brew. Ia and I would kick Jason’s butt (contrary to any rumours he’s spread) and oggle the hipster boy in the pompadour that worked behind the counter.

For a post-bowl meal within the same vicinity, we once headed to the Summer Shack. I believe I still have a book of matches from the place because I wanted something to remember it by as when I asked the waiter what the difference was between the Atlantic salmon and the PEI salmon on the menu, he proceeded to tell me that Prince Edward Island was on the West Coast of Canada, hence the difference. I giggled and ordered something completely different.

To this day I still covet a girl’s pink and black King’s bowling shirt, they were always ridiculously overpriced but now that I think about it, it would totally be worth it since it’s taken me 4 years to conjure up these memories and put them in a post.

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7 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. ChrisWednesday, May 16th, 2007 — 6:07am PDT

    Kelly and I were at Bukowski’s the other night! We had gone out to some schmancy bar on Boylston Street for a friends birthday and got sick of the crowd, so we hit Buk’s for beers and burgers. Kelly doesn’t eat red meat, and it’s probably the closest place to our house that serves a good turkey burger.

  2. JohnWednesday, May 16th, 2007 — 8:24am PDT

    I’m not sure if it’s still as fun (or even open for that matter), but I spent many a bowling night at the Commodore Lanes ‘back in the day’ (aka before marriage).

    It was one of the few places that I found to hang out with friends, drink, bowl, and then go see a great show upstairs at the Ballroom.

  3. Miss604Wednesday, May 16th, 2007 — 9:03am PDT

    Oh yeah it’s still there, I think it even got a shiney new neon sign. We went there for my birthday last year but it’s 5 pin – and I think there’s a time limit… maybe just on Saturday nights or something. King’s was all 10-pin, since 5 is a Canadian thing, although I did run into “candlepin” bowling in Boston as well. Jason took me to a bowling alley that’s located RIGHT under Fenway Park and we played some candlepin [wiki]

  4. JennyWednesday, May 16th, 2007 — 12:36pm PDT

    Jason and Ia are like the snuffalupagus ..somehow everytime I was in town they were in some other state or something.

    Remember when we drove to cape cod and Salem and

  5. JennyWednesday, May 16th, 2007 — 1:43pm PDT

    and the funniest thing is one of the kids found an old photo album last night and that exact pic was in it !

  6. fotoeinsWednesday, May 16th, 2007 — 4:26pm PDT

    1. I’m beginning to accumulate friends who are living in the Boston area. Will have to check it out.

    2. Milestone’s with the patio at Denman/Davie: familiar with it, and familiar with the busy-as-hell. But, hey now, the Denman Free House … that’s relatively new to me; so, I’m gonna have to try the place out when next in town am I.

  7. Alice LimThursday, August 16th, 2007 — 11:16am PDT

    Hello! (Nice-looking blog!) We are 2 Bostonians traveling to Vancouver this weekend and we would love to find any “Red Sox-friendly” bars, or any bars that would carry the Sox games, but not necessarily a sports bar (we are not really into that kind of meathead scene…for some context, we also love Bukowski’s). Cheers! Alice

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