Drinking with family

By LIZA WEISSTUCH  |  May 9, 2011

main_quencher_tavern_480

QUENCHER TAVERN

170 I STREET, SOUTH BOSTON | 617.765.0470

Michael Barrett is a regular. He makes kiwi-sized sailboats out of sea glass he finds during low tide along Southie and Dorchester beaches. He uses curved pieces for the hull so the figure rocks. He gave me one of lavender glass. It looks like crystal. A few of the Pleasure Babes have one. The Babes, a bowling league that dates back 80 years, is composed mostly of women who know one another from childhood. Some of their mothers were Babes. A few of them gather at the Quencher Tavern after league on Thursday nights for rounds of Michelob Ultra, Kahlua drinks, and animated conversation — gossip, even. You can't say it's "just like old times," because that would imply a reunion. You can't reunite if you've never been apart.

Despite being featured on the recent Boston episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, you'd never find the place amid the nondescript row of brick apartment buildings, if not for the weathered Budweiser sign suspended outside over the front entrance. The space was once an apartment itself, but was converted into a tavern in the 1940s, says co-owner Bob "Nino" Sances (whence the bar's old soubriquet, "Nino's Casino"). Sances and the other co-owner, Joe "Dodo" Nee, have known each other since they were classmates at South Boston High. They were both Marines in Vietnam, and when they came home, they both worked for the Boston Fire Department.

Frames of fire badges from stations around the planet cover the walls. Photos of past regulars who went off to serve and didn't make it home are affixed to the wall behind the cash register with tape. A life-size Spuds MacKenzie figure looks on from atop a cooler, a kitschy sentinel. And, if the bartender knows you, baskets of warm popcorn are delivered to your table.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Cambridge, Dorchester, Anthony Bourdain,  More more >
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