Every now and then, we at Boston's Hidden Restaurants find a place outside of the Boston area that we love so much, we are torn between wishing it were closer (so we could go more often) and being happy that it is far from the city (which makes it that much more special on road trips). The People's Pint, a truly unforgettable watering hole in the Pioneer Valley city of Greenfield, is one such place, as it has everything from organic (and tasty) food made from local ingredients to beers made at their own brewery to sodas made from scratch to a delightfully cozy pub atmosphere to a diverse and rather offbeat clientele.
The People's Pint, which is located on the northern edge of downtown Greenfield, has a charming and historic-feeling interior that one might not expect, judging from the somewhat plain exterior of the place. Wooden tables, antique-looking hanging lights, a pressed tin ceiling, and well-worn booths along the wall make this place not unlike such wonderful old spots as Doyle's in Jamaica Plain or Jacob Wirth in the Theatre District of Boston. The restaurant has some odd touches as well, including a lighted bike that sits above the bar, and music playing from the speakers that switches from alt-country and jam-band rock to soft jazz to international music and more. Another unusual aspect of The People's Pint is the fact that there is no TV at the bar, which actually does seem to go with the laid-back, progressive feel of the place.
The food served at The People's Pint is much more than your run-of-the-mill pub grub that so many neighborhood watering holes offer. The fact that the restaurant lists the local farms, stores, and businesses that many of their ingredients come from should indeed be a hint that this is not really a place to go for toasted ravioli or mozzarella sticks. Such varied items as a goat cheese, apple, and almond salad, pickled eggs, pulled pork, burgers (including a crusty turkey burger and a salmon burger), house-made hot dogs, bean and rice burritos, a creamy macaroni and cheese, breakfast quesadillas (which are on special), peanut noodles, and red beans and rice dot the menu, and some truly interesting items can also be found here. Take the squealer, for instance; this burger is made with a mix of grass-fed beef and freshly-made bacon, both of which are ground together and served with a smokey chipotle mayonnaise. The burger's taste is outstanding, and its texture is unique, with the crispy bacon contrasting nicely with the juicy beef. Speaking of bacon, one of the occasional specials at the People's Pint is a breakfast plate that includes bacon, pancakes, and eggs, and is so filling (in a good way) that it is difficult to finish. Another dish that you don't always find at a pub is the sausage plate, which includes a house-made sausage that changes from day to day (both the bratwurst and the kielbasa have a pleasant mix of smoke and spice, while the Thai curry sausage is mild and has a slight creaminess thanks to the coconut milk). the ploughman classic is a great appetizer, but could also be ordered as a light lunch; it includes zesty dill pickles, sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, a small loaf of French bread, and a delicious whole grain mustard. Soups also vary from day to day and include a parsnip and split pea soup that is creamy, thick, and loaded with flavor, a slightly spicy parsnip and squash bisque that is a perfect soup for a chilly day, and a rich-tasting tomato sage soup. A not-too-thin and not-too thick clam chowder is on the menu all the time, and it has house-made bacon mixed in with the abundant clams. Desserts at The People's Pint change daily, with a rich hazelnut chocolate cake and a crunchy apple crisp being just two of the options offered. The house-made sodas are excellent, including a ginger ale which can be quite strong, depending on the day it is made. Beers run the gamut from a smooth-tasting and full-bodied ESB to a chocolaty oatmeal stout to a hoppy IPA to a crisp blonde ale (patrons can do beer flights if they want to sample several of the brews here).
Driving nearly two hours just for a bite to eat and a drink probably doesn't sound appealing to very many people, but we would almost consider doing it just to hang out at The People's Pint. The restaurant has what we consider to be a nearly perfect combination of good eats, excellent beers, a warm and inviting atmosphere, and a funky overall vibe. If you find yourself looking for a place to take a break while traveling to the Pioneer Valley, the Northern Berkshires, or Southern Vermont, The People's Pint should certainly be considered as an option.
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