Snuggled among the nail shops and Brazilian markets of East Cambridge, the Overdraught is a warm and welcoming pub on a scruffy strip of Cambridge Street. Open since November, the place is owned by the same people who run the Thirsty Scholar in Somerville. It aims for a similar dark-hued, wood-and-bookshelves vibe, though the shiny newness of the place makes it feel a bit like it was constructed from an " Irish Pub Kit " from Home Depot. But thereís a real gas fireplace in the front, as well as appealing French windows thatíll be nice once the thermometer rises. The long room is dominated by a massive television flashing soccer and other sports from across the Atlantic, so we elected to sit on stools at an elevated table in the front.
Named after its " revolutionary draught system " imported from Ireland, the pub boasts an impressive selection of microbrews and imports; a pint of locally brewed Tremont Ale ($3.75) was perfectly cold, crisp, and bitter, as promised. Thereís also a full lunch and dinner menu, straying from basic bar fare to pasta fra diavolo and pan-seared salmon, though we werenít in the mood to stretch. Deep-fried pickle spears ($4.95) were actually breaded dill-pickle slices ó but they were delicious nonetheless. The generous basket of tart, salty rounds was served with a horseradish sauce that upped the zing factor. Authentic skin-on fries and a solid bun made the Angus burger ($6.95) an excellent choice, and that trad pub favorite, bangers and mash ($8.95), was glorious and rib-sticking. Three stout, peppery links resting on top of smoky-sweet beans and served with a generous mound of garlicky mashed potatoes, the dish was enough for dinner and that post-party midnight snack. Along with the exceedingly friendly service, it was a perfect pub meal for a cold winter night.
The Overdraught, located at 877 Cambridge Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Saturday, from 11:30 to 1 a.m., and Sunday, from 11 to 1 a.m. Call (617) 868-3221.