Where to Row 34, the new Fort Point seafood spot from the team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar.
What for Raw bar and beer. Row 34 specializes in both, with about nine varieties of oyster and 24 draft lines.
The scene Row 34 styles itself as a "workingman's oyster bar." It is indeed casual and filled with good cheer, although the workingmen here tend to say things like "Give me some equity in the company and I'll think about it!" At the bar, strangers strike up conversations, and partner Garrett Harker makes the rounds, talking with everyone, clapping to the music. There are men with rock star beards and scarves of varying striped patterns thrown over their shoulders, others in suits, still others in plaid shirts with zip-up fleece vests. A woman in low-backed green velvet eats oysters and sips Chablis at the bar. The crowd sports a rainbow of caps: knit, scally, baseball, newsboy. The space is pleasantly industrial, with brick and steel and weathered wood beams, all black and gray and white. Oysters are showcased in beds of ice, and varieties of beer are spelled out in white letters over the bar. People are eating late on a school night; a cab idles hopefully outside.
What you're eating Oysters, crudo, and smoked fish boards are clear choices. But don't forget about the cooked dishes, from crab cakes to lobster rolls, available creamy or buttered.
Care for a drink? Look far with Freigeist's Biere de Vie, a wild ale from Germany. Or look near with Fort Point Pale Ale from Trillium Brewing Company, located
practically next door.
Overheard Conversation about online dating, skiing, politics, and oysters. "Connolly seems like a Republican, if he were in a place where Republicans were legitimate," one man says to his friend. Another fellow asks his neighbor at the bar about the deviled crab toast she is eating. "It's rich and crabby," she says. "You don't want to have a relationship with it, but you want to eat it." "I know that," he replies. "Sweet, sweet love." "I'll be at Killington," someone says about his holiday vacation. "Santa is Jewish," declares another. A man at the bar begins coughing, and people turn to him in alarm: "You breathing?" "I just swallowed the wrong way!" "Good. I didn't want to have to use the Heimlich. I think I could do it, but I'd rather not find out." Someone is explaining the dating app Tinder: "It connects you. There's thousands and thousands of chicks. Chicks in the bar will meet up with you in the bar! Isn't that unbelievable?" A server and a customer discuss the beer list, and another staffer swoops in. "I want to talk beer!" she exclaims. The man who wasn't choking has put on his coat and paid his bill. "Thank you for almost saving my life," he says as he leaves.
383 Congress St., Boston. 617-553-5900. www.row34.com.
Devra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.