July 20, 2001
On your first visit there, you'll really never believe that it could possibly exist -- where it is, for sure, but also the eclecticism of the atmosphere and clientele.
During the spring and summer you'll see a big after-work-in-the-Financial-District crowds, suits and like, later in the evening when the band strikes up on the deck they'll be 20-30-40-50 somethings at the bar mingling and families at the picnic tables devouring lobster and corn on the cob. On occasion some seafaring individuals will pull up to the dock landing and come in for a beer and chat about being out on the water with the bar staff. Despite the range of ages and characters no one seems to mind each other. The atmosphere is chaotic but enjoyable. Visual clutter, but interesting clutter is hanging from walls and the ceiling --crab traps festooned with lights, oars, water level markers in a haphazard way -- nothing formulaic-ly "sea themed" or overdone touristic -- like Legal Seafood tends to be.
The menu at the Barking Crab honors its name (sans bark) with a crab menu -"Lone Crab" selections include New Englandy Jonah crabs, which will arrive by their lonesome in a bucket, some dipping butter, and you'll use your teeth and/or the convenient rock placed on each table as your tool. Standard fish shack fare is also on the menu -- popular picks are steamed whole lobsters, peel & eat shrimp, grilled swordfish sandwiches, fried fish & clams, the ubiquitous basket of steamers, etc. Specials are more innovative takes on seafood, which might be something like Mahi Mahi with mango salsa. These are usually expensive -- tasty but not worth it in this kind of place. Better to spend your money on the real mccoy.
Winter at the Barking Crab transforms the place from extroversion to introversion -- inside there is a cozy wood stove to huddle around, a bar surrounding the lobster pools, and several dining tables and benches by large windows that still afford the view.
Maybe its just cause I used to live in the neighborhood, but the Barking Crab has a way of making one feel like a local. Go for first for this feeling, a beer and the atmosphere. In my opinion, the food becomes secondary (though nothing to sneeze at).
From journal Hideouts + Hangouts in Boston