SOMERVILLE — Look hard enough, and you could probably find a one-bedroom the size of Parlor Sports.
Located on the corner of Beacon and Dickinson Streets in Somerville, Parlor can pack a little north of 40 patrons inside before the fire marshal starts losing sleep.
But what it lacks in square footage, it easily makes up for in charm with a quaint clubhouse vibe and an energetic staff, complemented by hearty plates and cold beers.
“I feel like there are a lot of things that all rank equally in importance, and having all of them all together is what keeps me coming back here,” said Julia Walters, a local lawyer who has frequented Parlor since it opened. “They have really good food, and a really great staff.
“People who actually love sports come here and just watch whatever game is on and have some decent food and chill. It’s easy. It’s nice.”
Voted Boston Magazine’s Best Sports Bar for two years running, Parlor Sports is the brainchild of co-owners Beau Sturm, J. Bellao, and Josh Childs, who also own Audubon and the adjacent Trina’s Starlight Lounge.
Sturm and Co. had frequently discussed opening a sports bar, so they walled off extra space at Trina’s and opened Parlor in the fall of 2011. “We opened it up and we figured that we would be mildly successful,” said Sturm, “but we’ve completely exceeded every expectation that we had.”
Parlor is a microcosm of the diverse community that is Somerville. On a recent Sunday, two Broncos fans shared a tabletop with a pair of Bengals fans. A man in a Panthers jersey struck up a conversation with a man in a Lions jersey. Two Steelers fans and a Giants fan worked behind the bar.
There likely is no bar in the area with a TV-per-patron ratio like that of Parlor Sports. There are10 flat screens all around the bar (not including the TV by the dart board and the two in the bathroom). During a busy afternoon of football, the staff makes sure to ask if you have a programming preference for the screen closest to you.
While the menu carries mixed drinks, Parlor prides itself on its diverse beer selection. The bar promotes local brews (Rising Tide, Notch, Mayflower, Bantam) but offers a wide selection of both foreign and domestic.
And in good fun, some beers fall under amusing categories, such as “Things That Taste Like Beer, Kinda” (Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra).
The food selection is a spin on popular stadium food. Staples of tailgates in the south — such as pepperoni rolls and fried pickles — have found favor with many Parlor guests.
Napkins were made for meals such as Parlor’s nachos, a mountain of chips layered with cheese, hearty chili, and fresh jalapenos. Soon, two napkins will be the norm as Parlor plans to add to the menu Texas Roadhouse Nachos — a similar spread topped with brisket.
Want to make sure you’re one of the lucky few who make it inside on game day? Brunch is served from noon to 3 p.m. with literal interpretations of a meal that is both breakfast and lunch. The “Big 3” gives you the best of both worlds — a cheeseburger topped with a sausage patty and a fried egg.
Parlor Sports is the Cheers of Somerville, minus the influx of tourists. It’s small and personable enough where, sooner than you’d expect, everybody will know your name.
“[Parlor] is something where a camaraderie exists and you can sit next to another fan, you can have beers, and by the end you might be friends walking out,” said manager James Peters. “At the very least, the bartender is going to be shaking your hand on the way out.
“We want to know you. People want to know you when you come in. Parlor Sports is a community, and we want people to join that community.”