Best of Boston

2009 Best Bar, Casual

River Gods

Rather than coming off as calculated quirkiness, the gothic furniture and gargoyle motif at this under-the-radar Central Square taproom are mere curiosities, something you notice briefly before they fade into the all-encompassing hospitable vibe. A roster of ace DJs rotates out of a loft space above the bar, spinning a bit of everything—hip-hop, roots rock, punk, techno—as dressed-down patrons gather over killer drinks and French fries dunked in house-made roasted garlic aioli. Aside from the South End’s smaller (and DJ-less) Delux Café, few other bars in this town have the confidence to aim for easygoing.

125 River St., Cambridge, 617-576-1881,