Behold Beantown: a portion of the view from the windows at Granite Links.
Video: See how the signature drink at Granite Links is made.
The guys in the members grillroom at Granite Links Golf Club will argue -- check that, "debate" -- just about any subject. On this day, the topics include the best course you've never heard of in Ireland (Woodbrook was the winner), whether Granite Links should install a big spotlight on the clubhouse to illuminate a green, and the latest time the guys ever left the bar. Tomorrow the subjects could easily be the best left-handed pitchers in Boston Red Sox history and who invented the Internet. It's as entertaining to listen to as any reality TV show, and if you're within earshot, be prepared to be dragged into the conversation.
It's guys like Jack Gardner and Patrick Cross, and the throng of people in the adjacent Tavern restaurant and bar (which is open to the public) who make the 19th hole at Granite Links in Quincy, Mass., one of Golf Digest's 50 Best (See the complete list). But as good as the atmosphere is, it's not the first reason you'll want to visit again.
Outside the windows of the Tavern and the members grillroom (see accompanying story) is perhaps the best view of the Boston metropolitan area you can get without leaving the ground. Looking north through a wall of windows, you can see the entire downtown skyline, Boston Harbor, Logan International Airport, Bunker Hill, Fenway Park -- just about everything that makes the area famous. There's also a porch just beyond the windows where you can enjoy a vodka martini, smoke a cigar and stare at the city.
The course owes its existence to "the Big Dig," Boston's infamous downtown tunnel project. More than 90,000 trucks deposited roughly 13 million tons of dirt on the landfill site in five years, creating the terrain needed for Granite's rolling fairways and elevated greens. The ground rises as high as 298 feet above sea level, and when the three-story clubhouse was put on top, you can see why the place draws a crowd.
"People hear about this place because of the view we have, and we're pretty busy day and night because of it," says Brian Leonard, the food-and-beverage director. "But once they get here, they realize it's a fun place to hang."
In fact, on a cold and cloudy Tuesday in May, the Tavern was packed at 2 p.m., and Leonard said he was expecting an equally large crowd at happy hour. Just don't call it happy hour; Massachusetts state law prohibits bars from offering drink specials in the evening. The place has gotten so popular, it did more business from last November to March than it did in the summer.
"I'm up here about five days a week," Cross says. "I'll be here tomorrow. How about you?"
THE HOUSE COCKTAIL
Some might consider the "Granitini" a foo-foo drink. But on a steamy day, the combination of pomegranate-flavored Pearl vodka (two parts), pomegranate liqueur (one part), a splash of Cointreau liqueur and a splash of sour mix is refreshing. Click here to see how the drink is made.