The Automatic Opens This Weekend in Kendall Square
For those unenthused with the trends dominating modern bars, plan a trip to the Automatic in the near future. The new spot is mixing up classic cocktails, serving ice-cold beers, and rethinking bar food when it opens in Cambridge on Saturday, November 19.
The bar, located on the edge of Kendall Square near Mamaleh’s and the Smoke Shop, comes courtesy of veteran bartender Dave Cagle (B-Side Lounge) and partner Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill, the Blue Room). The duo wanted to escape any snobbiness or pretension, in favor of the simpler drinking and dining experiences they seek out themselves.
“I want this to be more of a neighborhood hangout,” Cagle previously told Boston. “My ultimate goal is to make it the bar people want to go to when they get out of work.”
Cagle’s cocktail menu keeps it simple with the Automatic martini, with a lemon-thyme brine; a banana daiquiri, and classic Manhattans and Sazeracs. Teetotalers aren’t forgotten, with the likes of Mexican Coke and virgin piña coladas. Mixed drinks are alongside a straightforward draft list with Notch, Citizen Cider, Narragansett and Guinness, and there will be a wine menu curated by Schlesinger’s nephew, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, Eater Boston reported.
In the kitchen, executive chef Ian Andreotta (Deep Ellum, Little Donkey) offers a menu of grilled skewers, loaded fries, sandwiches, and more easy, fun fare. Start small with bar snacks like bread and butter pickles, fried plantain chips, and the Frito Pie From Hell, featuring Schlesinger’s own hot sauce. Larger entrées include ’Gansett-steamed peel-and-eat shrimp, pork schnitzel with apple pine nut relish, and New England frankfurters.
“The idea is to get people wanting to try a little bit of everything,”Andreotta previously told Boston. “It’s bright, fresh flavors, a little funky.”
Inside, the 76-seat space (which formerly housed Atasca) takes a more abstract approach to its decor with mid-’90s flair, inspired by skateboarding and muscle car culture, with mid-century modern furniture and details. The interior is accented with an all-vinyl soundtrack, which Cagle plans to contribute to by spinning his own punk and rap records.
The Automatic will be open Monday through Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dinner will be served until 10:30 p.m., when the restaurant transitions to a stripped-down late-night menu. Those late-night snacks run until 11:30 p.m. during the week, and until 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
In time, the bar will open earlier in the day for lunch service, but there’s plenty to sip and chow until then.
The Automatic, 50 Hampshire St., Cambridge, theautomaticbar.com.