The Lower Depths Tap Room: Plenty of beer, dollar dogs and questionable decor

Photo of the Lower Depths sign.

Kenmore Square is by and far known for its sports bars — some with unbeatable natural views, others built up as HD wonderlands. These bars will always have a place in Boston, a sanctuary for men and sports-minded women in an area that breeds Larry Legends.

The Lower Depths Tap Room sign, white text on bluebackground in an upper-case sans-serif font.

But every once in awhile, it's nice to break down the wall of aluminum Bud Light bottles we live behind on Lansdowne Street and Brookline Ave and try something new.

What Cornwall's starts on the opposite side of Beacon Street, the Lower Depths continues further down Comm Ave. A little over five minutes walking from Fenway, this tap room is just far enough away from baseball mania to pull off its grown-up hipster vibe.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the bar, complete with its own outdoor patio, sits discreetly below street level. Assuming you visit after dark, a set of bright fluorescent lights is the only thing calling attention to the establishment and its vintage signage.

The Lower Depths menu entry for the 1 dollar Fenway Frank.

Descend into the Depths, and you're greeted with one of the most original menus on the block. The chefs got most imaginative with their tater tots and a separate foot-long hot dog menu—to the delight of the children living inside us all. As a teaser, the bar tops its Boston Strangler foot-long with sautéed onions and Mackin' Cheese. Appreciate this humor. Most restaurants don't take any time to be punny.

Speaking of dogs, this place offers a Fenway Frank for only $1! A menu item that excites and then saddens the game attendee who just spent $10 on a cold Kayem and fries. The Lower Depths' twist is, of course, the toppings. Ask the staff to pile anything from sauerkraut to guacamole on your dog for an extra buck or two.

Close up photo of The Lower Depths Tap Room coaster

But enough about food, let's talk beer. Choose from a rotating draft list or a menu of imported and domestic bottles. The choices aren't overwhelming for a tap room, but they're certainly a step above other bars in the hood. In short, the selection of brews at the Lower Depths is solid.

It may take you awhile to actually walk inside the Lower Depths, with the patio preceding the bar. That's when you'll notice the murals. Interesting to some, creepy to most. You'll also notice neon-blue lights emanating from behind the bar—making the indoor atmosphere a little more club—like than the party on the patio.

It's as if the Lower Depths was plucked from a corner in nearby Allston and Brighton, which could be a pro or a con, depending on the bar scene you're used to. If this feeling evades you at first, hearing that the bar is cash only seals it for most.

Mural in The Lower Depths

Aside from the cash only inconvenience and some questionable d&ecute;cor, the Lower Depth is definitely worth a visit. On a weekday night following a home game, the bar was full enough not to feel empty, which is miraculous in an area so famous for its crowds. Enjoy the uncommon breathing room with an attentive wait and bar staff serving you delicacies all night long.

All in all, a quirky tap room with tater tots and a patio is a welcome addition to the Square. Venture into the Lower Depths, and your worldview as it pertains to the CITGO sign may change just a bit.

Sam