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Union Square streetscape at Brass Union pub

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

Where to Somerville’s Brass Union, a pleasant pub outfitted with throwback video games like Frogger and a serene patio that overlooks the Union Square shuffle.

What for Satisfying bar food, none of it more than $15, plus board games and cocktails.

The scene A 1950s streetscape.
Barrel-chested fellows in newsboy caps greet one another at the front door. Young women in wide-heeled pumps and bunched nylons commiserate over goblets of golden liquid. Sweaty men, just off a shift somewhere, throw back beers with their ladies. Children play ball on the sidewalk. A red-haired waitress on break leans against a wall, wisps of hair blowing in the humid wind, a study in melancholy. The youth of Somerville has washed up on this patio; everyone looks ready to go home for a futon tryst.


What you’re eating Filling snacks, priced nice. A heaping plate of wild mushroom toast comes with a gooey poached egg and smoked tomato aioli and costs just $10; spicy shrimp with pea-and-mint puree is $12; grilled mahi mahi is $14. For dessert, there’s a blueberry sundae with Christina’s ice cream or taleggio on toast.

Care for a drink? Cocktails are a uniform $10. (A waitress recommends the Green Line Extension with Bulleit bourbon, brandy, green chartreuse, and bitters.) There’s a big selection of local draft and bottled beers, plus an assortment of red, white, and sparkling wines by the glass.

Overheard Fashion advice, work advice, calorie counting. “I told her over and over on Gchat not to talk about your students, but she didn’t listen,” a young woman tells her paisley-clad paramour. A menu goes flying in the breeze, and he dives for it, revealing a black pair of — are they Keds? A guy flaunting a messy braid, sleeveless T-shirt, and a cowboy hat stumbles up the stairs with his date. “Hey-o, Larry!” he calls across the patio. “Hey, Dave!” a dude in flannel calls back. An animated woman cradling a large mauve purse discusses Neiman Marcus’s catalog with a disheveled disciple. “If you want to dress for work, you need to flip to the Neiman pocketbook section!” she slurs. “Eight hundred calories per day! I can only eat 800 calories per day!” someone cries. “I have anxiety. Should I be working?” a woman in neon-blue jeans wonders. “When you work, you’re a piece of meat,” a friend replies. On the sidewalk, a dog whines.


70 Union Square, Somerville, 617-623-9211,

Kara Baskin can be reached at