Beer Drinking Report: C-Town's Tavern at the End of the World

There’s a moment that comes when the one step you take pushes you into the completely unexpected.

Example: Tavern at the End of the World in Charlestown.

Step up out of Sullivan station and there it is — a quick block-and-a-half walk under the highway. Pass by the chain link fence, black smog and street litter. Then there’s the step in; from the forlorn, busy street into the brown, low light, the small cluster of people at tables and Fredo sitting at the bar.

There’s warmth here. It’s that brown light. Like a kitchen in “Maggie Cassidy”. There was an old guy in a red checkered newsboy cap sitting at the bar next to us jawing with the bartender, saying things that made him sound like an ex-cop. He knew how things worked. Maybe he just read the newspaper a lot, but I was digging his lingo.

My eyes went to the taps: Rapscallion, Long Trail Ale, Raderberger, Dogfish 60 Minute IPA — a dozen drafts total. Another 30 or so bottled beers on their menu.

I queued up the taste buds with Rogue Dead Guy ale. Fredo was envious. He started with a Long Trail Ale.

My draft was smooth. The taps were clean and set up right. There is no I-am-an-aloof-bartender routine here. I have dealt with my share of it in Boston. These guys actually keep an eye on you and make sure you’re happy.

A waitress who was sailing between the bar and the room behind it stopped cold: “Would you like to see our beer menu?” A follow-up: “What kind of beers do you like?”

I got out a lame half-answer and she hit the floor running. More tables to serve. Fredo laughed.

I worked the beer menu: Steelhead Double IPA, an 8.6 percenter made by Mad River Brewery in Blue Lake, CA. It’s got a nice hoppy snap comparable with more expensive Double IPAs. My bottle cost me around $5.

Here’s me: dodging the astronomical $9 price list found regularly in the city. No one trying to short shrift me with a Bud Light special. Finally. More California dreaming: a bottle of Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA for $5 – unapologetic hops flavor from the Golden State. I love it.

I spot another beer in the fridge in front of me, a Victory Hop Devil Ale. This one airs on the citric side, but gives me a fond memory of My Special Lady and I drinking these and wolfing some Chinese over at Golden Temple in Brookline last winter.

Fredo recognized this dude who looked like he works for Jackie Treehorn. He told me the Treehorn muscle was actually a comedian. We peeked around the corner and saw some people working the microphone. It’s a nice room — inlaid bookshelves, a large fireplace – my kind of space.

Wednesday is comedy night in the room behind the bar. I like that room sans comedians. Ha, ha.

What’s the best thing about Tavern at the End of the World? You’re not there. Ha, ha.

Here’s another funny thing: Tavern at The End of the World may be on the fringes of Beantown, they may even have a name that jokes about their locale, but they have a superior beer selection (and lower prices) than many a place in the city.

Maybe the real punch line is: You need to get on the train for C-town.

Tavern at the End of the World, 108 Cambridge St., Charlestown, 617-241-4999,

The Beer Drinker is a contributor to the Beer Drinking Report.