Quahog Republic: A Dive Away from Home
By: Elise Hugus, January 18, 2012
Don Parkinson - Erik Bevans and Tom Hughes, co-owners of the Quahog Republic Dive Bar, enjoy a lunch of their signature dishes: the Crunchy Cod, truffle fries and five-spice chicken wings with "K5" sauce.
If Erik Bevans and Tom Hughes could have their way, we’d all be citizens of the Quahog Republic, leading chilled-out lives and perpetually recycling good karma.
In a previous life, running the wildly popular beachfront Mashnee Island Grill and Bar in Bourne, they learned the hard way that success doesn't necessarily equal happiness—and money can't buy you love. After battling neighborhood noise complaints in and out of court, the establishment finally shut its doors in February 2010 when a group of outraged Mashnee Island neighbors bought the land out from underneath them.
But rather than give up—or try to set up the same model elsewhere—Bevans, Hughes, and their former partner Jason Wallin re-thought their strategy.
Official citizens unite!
97 Spring Bars Road, Falmouth
Special night owl perk: the kitchen stays open until 12:30 AM (on weekends only from October to Memorial Day; on weeknights, it's open until 11 PM)
Take-out is available by calling (508) 540-4111.
They decided what they were selling was more than beers and burgers. It wasn’t even about their line of quahog-embossed T-shirts and hoodies. It’s about a lifestyle, embodied in their mantra: Live. Give. Relax.
“Living the positive lifestyle is easy in the summer. The cornerstone to having success on Cape Cod is staying positive year-round,” says Bevans, a Mashpee native who got into the restaurant business at the tender age of 23.
So in May 2010, they moved to some new digs in a far less illustrious zip code. Tucked into a hole in the wall (formerly occupied by Winston’s) at the Falmouth Trade Center (home of coke dealers and a sketchy bowling ally), the Quahog Republic Dive Bar quietly fulfills its mission.
A dive away from home
While they’ve got some incredible beers on tap and more cocktails than you can shake a swizzle stick at, the Quahog Republic is not your typical dive bar.
Decorated with dive equipment (hence the pun), this casual, intimate watering hole is embraced by young and old, rich and poor, locals and visitors alike.
In return, Hughes and Bevans give back to the community, sponsoring toy drives and fundraising for “Life Scholarships” for graduating seniors who don’t necessarily plan on college.
They also have plenty of fun, organizing bus trips, quahog-eating contests, Wiffle ball tournaments, and even dive cruises with the Buzzards Bay Dive Center.
While the place is a little too intimate to be a venue, Quahog Republic has occasional live music—and an ongoing Buzz Trivia game that you can play with friends in the bar or around the world.
Bar fare… with a twist
Unlike most dives, Quahog Republic turns out surprisingly awesome eats under the careful supervision of chef Rob Carroll, a former grade school teacher who quit his day eight years ago to join the QR ranks.
While you’ll find relatively standard bar fare on the menu, everything’s got a special twist.
Just take the fish n’ chips: deep fried fresh cod, battered in cornflakes and almonds and served with golden fries and creamy slaw or on a buttered toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, tartar sauce & golden fries.
Or the Aussie burger, one of Quahog Republic’s signature sandwiches made with a ½ pound of black angus beef (yeah sorry, no kangaroo meat!), applewood smoked bacon, cheese, sliced beets, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and a fried egg.
The only item on the menu over $16, including the steaks and pork chops, is the Monsta Lobsta Roll, a heaping pile of tail and claw that could easily feed two people for $22.
Get with the beer program!
As for drinks, try Dr. Flynn’s Mai Tai, straight out of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, so famous that Monday nights are officially dedicated to this bombastic punch. Cure your hangover (or have a liquid lunch!) with Johnny’s Bloody Mary, made with sun dried tomato-, poblano pepper-, and garlic-infused vodka and applewood smoked bacon—and even shrimp for $3.50 extra!
Chances are, you’re going to need to take the edge off those drinks with some innovative apps: truffle oil fries with Parmesan cheese, stuffed quahogs, quahog chowder, or—my favorite—grilled corn with spicy lime aioli and melted cheese.
Craft beer lovers take note: Quahog Republic has a special beer program to round out its already extensive (and growing) microbrew selection on tap. Each week, choose from a rotation of 22 oz. specials in a bottle from breweries near and far. A recent selection included Lagunitas’ WTF Ale, Racer 5 IPA, and Arrogant Bastard Ale, all for around $10.