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Atmospheres & Appetites: Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar

Buck's Whiskey & Burger Bar on Green Street in Worcester, MA

That line in John Denver’s famous song… “Country roads…take me home…” we all know how to sing it; but do we all know what it’s like to feel it? This was my first thought upon taking a deeper look into the Atmosphere that is Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar, one of the newest additions to Worcester’s dining scene.

Besides the burgers, which are already building a name for themselves, the atmosphere that has been created by Nick Pinerelli pays tribute to the ease that comes with burgers and whiskey. It’s simple, inviting, but has a few surprise elements. A narrow restaurant where you can seat yourself, there are only a few tables for parties of 5+ but then there is the long bar on the left that forces an intimacy with both your bartender and your fellow diners.

My favorite, and perhaps the most standout element of the atmosphere is the custom painted piece on the left-hand chalk wall. I’ll be honest with you, Worcester, this is a trend that I wish more restaurants would start adopting. No.. I don’t mean the chalkboard – that trend has been around for ages! I mean the custom painted piece done by Tony Freitas over a couple days just before the opening. The drafts and cans change frequently, so there is a large enough space where the Bartender, Tory, can change out what is written, along with the live music that is coming up. The painted chalk piece dawns cacti, beer clinking glasses, a big juicy burger, and of coursed a boned head. It’s all done in an abstract form, but the shading is still realistic adding volume and dimension to the chalkboard, which often looks flat. Having this pop of color as one of the first things you see sparks a curiosity and an overall engaging vibe. There’s something about it that makes you feel like you’re just going to be treated really well when dining here… art does that to us. Luckily, the feeling reigns true.

Other “country feeling” decorations don the walls such as a watercolor painting of a cow, various metal pieces, a deer head, and a wooden farmhouse. After visiting a few times now, it has begun to remind me of a true southern bar sans line dancing nights, placed right in the heart of the commonwealth. And, while I’m at it; maybe my lady readers will appreciate this more but I have to mention the bathrooms. The bathrooms are covered in wood, floor to ceiling, with just a light stain on them. It is so natural feeling, but also really thoughtfully chosen. It may sound odd to have to mention the bathroom in this column, but when I tell you I love the atmospheres of restaurants, I mean every square foot.

If you’re looking for a rustic, warm, and welcoming place to dine… 62 Green Street is the spot.

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Buck’s First Rodeo

Stonecow’s Farmhouse Saison pairs with Buck's Spicy Cougar from Buck's on Green Street in Worcester, MA.

There is now a place for everyone on Green Street: folksy cafe goers, beer nerds, club kids… Meet the cowboys; they’re headed to Buck’s.

I never mind a deer head on the wall, just as long as there’s a sporting tale to follow. The same can be said of country music; behind every hit lies a gripping story of love, loss, debauchery – or if you’re lucky, all three. I find the smell of pine and bourbon intoxicating when the sun shines late in the day, although that can be an elusive combination to pin down in the city of Worcester. Until now. Next time you’re in a small town mood with a big city zip code, rest assured that you’ll get along just fine at Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar.

A sign on the exposed brick wall reads, “Whiskey Wednesday is like Taco Tuesday for Badasses.” They’re not joking. There are some no-nonsense spirits pouring at Buck’s, particularly from Japan. Yamazaki 12 was the first Japanese single malt whiskey to take Americans by storm with pointed notes of honey and citrus. This tropical, medium-bodied whiskey cuts through complicated flavor profiles with a touch of bright acidity. Pair Yamazaki 12 with something outrageous like the Stuffed Buck, a beef burger infused with bacon and blue cheese, then topped with arugula and whiskey caramelized onions.

Since you’re playing cowboy (cowperson?) for the night, it’s only fitting to order Stonecow’s Farmhouse Saison. Aromas of lemon zest and peppercorns will suit an order like the Spicy Cougar, a burger (I opted for turkey) topped with aged cheddar cheese, black pepper crusted bacon, arugula, guacamole, and some seriously spicy Buck’s sauce. Sessionable beers are key for me when it comes to a lot of heat. At just 4.5% abv, this beer is superbly crushable.

Buck’s is open at 62 Green Street until midnight every day of the week. Giddy up.