An Overhauled Bukowski Tavern Set to Open This January

Chef Brian Poe introduces a slick new look and a menu heavy on hops and wild game burgers.

bukowski tavern

Chef Brian Poe’s new avocado burger at Bukowski Tavern Cambridge. Photo provided

Fans of Bukowski Tavern’s famously grungy aesthetic might be in for a rude awakening when visiting the newly revamped Cambridge location. After closing for major renovations in July, Bukowski Tavern in Inman Square is set to reopen next week with a sleek new look and a refreshed menu under new chef-owner Brian Poe (Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake; The Tip Tap Room; Estelle’s). While Poe will maintain its roots by offering things like Bukowski’s popular mug club, The Dead Authors Club, and its Wheel of Indecision, the menu has gotten an injection of wild game, hops-infused food, and new bar snacks.

Seating 84 in the dining room and 15 at the bar, Bukowski Tavern now boasts a modern, industrial look with a stainless steel bar, wooden tables, rustic flooring, and banquette seating. Above the 36 draft lines, Bukowski Tavern’s original mural from 1997 has been restored and high-definition flat screen TVs are displayed on either side. The façade features glass retractable garage doors that will open seasonally.

When we interviewed Poe back in July, the chef promised to keep Bukowski favorites like the signature White Trash Dip (green chile cheese sauce, jalapeño, tortillas), but that’s about all that remains from the overhaul. From Poe’s kitchen comes new beer snacks like IPA-marinated fried olives and a chicken drumstick slathered in jalapeño sausage gravy. Gourmet salads are laced with either a whit beer or Cascade hop vinaigrette, and the chef has introduced vegan-friendly chips and dip with charred cauliflower and celery root chips. The most dramatic change though comes with Poe’s expansive new list of burgers, including classic, wild game, and vegetarian variations. Standout patties include Bukowski’s bison, duck, and avocado burgers, all served with beer ketchup and a trio of house-made hot sauces.

Bukowski Tavern will be open for dinner and drinks Sunday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and for lunch, dinner and drinks Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, the kitchen is open until 12:30 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday until 1:30 a.m. After opening the Cambridge location in early January, Poe says he will turn his attention to renovating Bukowski’s original location in Back Bay. See below for the full Bukowski Tavern Cambridge menu.

Bukowski Tavern – Cambridge

1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge; 617-497-7077 or