Some cities and towns in the Greater Boston area don't get the credit that they should when it comes to food and drink. For instance, Peabody has a number of restaurants and bars, some are which are excellent, but you rarely hear about any of them, and same goes with Needham which is really starting to have a burgeoning dining scene. But what about the South Shore? Quincy is an obvious destination, but the word is starting to get out about its countless places to go, especially with its downtown area being completely redone. One of its southern neighbors, however, almost never gets mentioned, which is too bad because Weymouth actually has a lot of good options ranging from wild and woolly dive bars to outstanding Asian eateries to upscale steakhouses and cocktail lounges. And included among all of these eating and drinking establishments are some great old neighborhood joints that never seem to get noticed at all, including a roadside spot called The Mooring Bar and Grill which isn't exactly a household name but is a terrific little spot for pub grub, comfort food, and relatively cheap drinks.
The Mooring is located on a rather busy thoroughfare (Route 3A) just south of the Fore River Bridge, but perhaps because this stretch of road between Quincy and Hingham is a jumble of commercial, industrial, retail, and residential space, places such as this tend to get lost in the mix. From the outside, the spot looks a little like an old roadside seafood shack or perhaps a drive-in for burgers, dogs, and the like, but it's really more of a simple drinking establishment that isn't quite a dive (it's a pretty friendly place, really), being more of a local hangout for food and drink. Even though it looks small driving by it, the interior is relatively spacious, with three rooms that include a bar area to the left, a dining room in the middle, and a takeout area to the right which is particularly popular for pizza (more on that in a bit). Both high-tops and regular tables are set up in the dining room, and there is also plenty of seating in the bar section including at the bar itself.
As mentioned earlier, The Mooring is not exactly a dive bar, especially among purists who say that dives don't have decent food--or any food at all, in the strictest sense of the definition. In that respect, the place tends to be a little like the Newbridge Cafe in Chelsea, the Dudley Chateau in Wayland, or the Corner Pub in downtown Boston, all of which have a dive-y feel to them but which focus at least in part on a decent amount of good eats to go with the beer, wine, and spirits. Don't expect anything gourmet at The Mooring, but some of the food is really quite good, and in keeping with the somewhat odd tradition of neighborhood bars in the Boston area tending to have outstanding seafood, the fish and chips here--especially the Cajun fish and chips, when available--rival the best that you'll find in the entire region, with a fairly light batter and firm but tender whitefish that have very little waste to them. Another solid option at The Mooring is the steak tip plate, as the tips are tender--but not too tender--and come with a zesty marinade that doesn't overwhelm the taste of the beef. Much like such places as the Newbridge, turkey tips are also available here, and they are a worthwhile alternative to the steak tips with just the right amount of marinade and a good amount of char coming from the grill. The pizza, as noted above, is a popular item--especially for takeout--and you would think that it might be bar pizza since this is indeed bar pizza country, but it tends to waver between bar pie and thin-crust Italian, and is a very good choice overall. Some of the specials at The Mooring include seafood dishes in addition to the fish and chips, and the fried seafood plate with such items as shrimp, scallops, and whitefish is a must-get if available (again, these types of places tend to do fried seafood really well). A simple but delicious take on chicken parm is included on the menu, and it comes with a couple of pieces of perfectly-seasoned garlic bread. One other special that is worth noting is the loaded fries which can be ordered as a starter or side and which comes with gooey cheese and pieces of bacon, and will fill you up pretty quickly if you aren't careful. There aren't too many surprises when it comes to drinks at The Mooring, with your typical mix of mass-market beers and local craft brews, while a few wine choices are available and a full bar gives the options of shots or mixed drinks. Remember, though, don't expect fancy cocktails here because it's really more of a roadside watering hole where cheap drinks are the name of the game.
If you've never heard of The Mooring Bar and Grill, you're definitely not alone; even people who live nearby drive by it countless times without even knowing what the place is about. And that's what makes it an intriguing spot in a way, as it is one of those classic hidden gems that you'll never read about in any guide or newspaper, but the locals seem to feel fine with it being just that way.
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