Drinking with family

By LIZA WEISSTUCH  |  May 9, 2011

main_williams-tavern_480

WILLIAMS TAVERN

92 A STREET, SOUTH BOSTON | 617.269.9646

Edna and Midge are sisters. They have seven other siblings. Their mother, Lillian, is 97, and she has gorgeous skin and pitch-black hair with a silver crown. She has 27 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren. ("Everyone gets a birthday card," Edna declares. "She should own Hallmark.") Midge is a stockbroker. Edna is a project coordinator at a design firm. They're both loyal Williams Tavern patrons.

I met the sisters on a Saturday, in the wood-paneled barroom, where a pencil sharpener hangs on the wall next to the Keno machine, and there's a 1973 edition of the Mr. Boston cocktail book behind the bar. Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen, and Patsy Cline songs floated from the jukebox, which is not connected to the Internet.

There's a porthole at about knee level built into the wall beneath the back bar. It opens onto the vintage diner next door; daytime drinkers can order food through the porthole. But the diner closes at 2 pm, so Bob DeSimone, who owns the building and manages Williams, plans to start serving food to the bar's evening crowd. Manchego fritters, bruschetta, sliders, and more will soon be appearing in the window (or rather, "The WINDOW!! All capitals, exclamation point, exclamation point," Bob says).

It's a mark of esteem for a patron to have a menu item christened in their honor. You'll find Midge's Favorite Cheese & Crackers on the soon-to-launch bar-snacks menu.

Bob's father, Joe, bought Williams from the Archdiocese in 1945, since the past owner had willed the property to St. Peter and Paul's Church. Bob learned to count in the bar, he jokes. He ran it with his brother and sister after their father passed away. Then in 2003, Bob retired as a contractor for the phone company and took over. But those who knew his father sense that he keeps a watchful eye.

"All of a sudden sometimes, the door blows open," says Edna. "That's Joe letting you know he's in here."

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |   next >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Cambridge, Dorchester, Anthony Bourdain,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY LIZA WEISSTUCH
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   HAYMARKET, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL  |  November 28, 2012
    The cab driver looked puzzled as he dropped me off on North Street, which runs the periphery of Haymarket Square. At 5:20 am, it was still dark, but the bustle on Haymarket's Blackstone Street had begun about two hours earlier.
  •   WHISKEY A GO GO  |  September 18, 2012
    Whiskey has inspired — and inebriated — musicians across eras and genres.
  •   BOSTON’S UNSUNG HEROES MAKE SURE YOU NEVER HAVE TO LEAVE HOME TO GET FED  |  April 30, 2012
    At any given hour, on any given day, legions of foot soldiers are negotiating traffic on Boston's gnarly maze of streets.
  •   BOSTON BARTENDERS BUST UP THE BIG EASY  |  August 24, 2011
    There was a wedding, a funeral (for the Long Island Iced Tea), fried alligator, mechanical bulls, and Ron Jeremy on harmonica. Boston bartenders, who were there in full force, can attest to all of it.
  •   BAR ROOM BLITZ  |  July 27, 2011
    "TOTC" stands for Tales of the Cocktail, an annual drinks conference held each July in New Orleans.

 See all articles by: LIZA WEISSTUCH