Boston Tee Party
The guys in the members grillroom at Granite Links Golf Club will argue - check that, "debate" - just about any subject. On this day, the topics include the best course you've never heard of in Ireland (Woodbrook was the winner). Whether Granite Links should install a big spotlight on the clubhouse to illuminate a green, and the latest time the guys ever left the bar. Tomorrow the subjects could easily be the best left-handed pitchers in Boston Red Sox history and who invented the Internet. It's as entertaining to listen to as any reality TV show, and if you're within earshot, be prepared to be dragged into the conversation.
It's guys like Jack Gardner and Patrick Cross and the throng of people in the adjacent Tavern restaurant and bar (which is open to the public) who make the 19th hole at Granite Links in Quincy, Mass., one of Golf Digest's 50 Best (see the complete list at golfdigest.com/rankings). But as good as the atmosphere is, it's not the first reason you'll want to visit again.
Outside the windows of the Tavern and the members grillroom (see accompanying story) is perhaps the best view of the Boston metroplitan area you can get without leaving the ground. Looking north through a wall of window, you can see the entire downtown skyline. Boston Harbor, Logan Internatinoal Airport, Bunker Hill, Fenway Park - just about everything that makes the area famous. There's also a porch just beyond the windows where you can enjoy a vodka martini, smoke a cigar and stare at the city.
The course owes its existence to "the Big Dig," Boston's infamous downtown tunnell project. More than 90,000 trucks deposited roughly 13 million tons of dirt on the landfill site in five years, creating the terrain needed for Granite's rolling fairways and elevated greens. The ground rises as high as 298 feet above sea level, and when the three-story clubhouse was put on top, you can see why the place draws a crowd.
"People hear about this place because of the view we have, and we're pretty busy day and night because of it," says Brian Leonard, the food and beverage director. "But once they get here, the realize it's a fun place to hang."
In fact, on a cold and cloudy Tuesday in May, the Tavern was packed at 2 p.m. and Leonard said he was expecting an equally large crowd at happy hour. Just don't call it happy hour; Massachusetts state law prohibits bars from offering drink specials in the evening. The place has gotten so popular, it did more business from last November to March than if did in the summer.
"I'm up here about five days a week," Cross says. "I'll be here tomorrow. How about you?"
There are two bars at Granite Links-one for the club's members and one for the public (in the Tavern Restaurant). The only thing that separates them is a wall. "We wanted to give the regulars here a special place to hang out," Brian Leonard says. "But both bars are pretty lively." Actually, the horseshoe bar in the Tavern might be the better spot, especially on the side facing the windows.
THE HOUSE COCKTAIL
Some might consider the "Granitini" a foo-foo drink. But on a steamy day, the combination of pomegranate-flavored Pearl vodka (two parts) pomegranate liqueur (one part), a splash of Cointreau liqueur and a splash of sour mix is refreshing. To see the drink made, go to golfdigest.com/rankings.
SHOT GLASS RATINGS:
1-Quick Pop; 2-Make it a Double; 3-Can I Run a Tab?;
4-Drinks for the Bar!; 5-When is Last Call?
GRANITE LINKS' TAB:
Atmosphere - 5 Shot Glasses
Convivality - 5 Shot Glasses
Service - 3 Shot Glasses