Checked out opening night at Meadhall in Kendall Square in Cambridge last night. The place was absolutely mobbed at 8 p.m. In fact, the bar manager posted on his Twitter account this morning that it was completely packed within five minutes of opening the doors -- not bad for a restaurant and bar with room for upwards of 300 people on two floors.
It's a classy place and a nice room, with clean lines, modern decor, and lots of windows looking out onto Kendall Square. There are kinks to work out, of course, and it would be unfair to judge a new place by its first night (especially when they were clearly unprepared for such an onslaught on day one). But there's one major glitch that is not a first-night problem: There is only one beer menu -- the giant chalkboard in the bar area -- and it includes neither prices nor pour sizes. That might not be an issue in a run-of-the-mill pub with only six or eight beers on draft where everything costs $5, but when you have 110 beers on tap, and they're all high-quality craft brews, you should tell people (1) how much beer they're going to get and (2) how much it will cost. Not everyone knows that 10 ounces of Allagash Curieux could cost you more than twice as much as a pint of Sam Adams Latitude 48.
One thing I love about the place: no TVs on the main floor. There are wide-screen televisions upstairs in the lounge area -- which feels like a giant living room with its big armchairs, a nice touch -- so you could watch Game 7 of the Bruins-Canadiens series if you really want to. But I applaud the decision to eschew TVs in the main area.
Time will tell if Kendall Square can support another craft beer place. Cambridge Brewing Company is only a block away, and Lord Hobo is just down the road. After spending about an hour and a half at Meadhall, I wandered down to Cambridge Brewing, and it was fairly empty, despite the fact that Game 7 was in the third period. No doubt Meadhall drew some of the crowd away on opening night.