Oh, God, Deli Haus, I miss thee so. See, back in the day, Kenmore Square used to be a cool place to hang out instead of a smoking, yuppified pit. After kicking heads in the Rat, clubbing on Lansdowne Street, or popping out to Harvard Square for a bite of Rocky, you'd go to the Deli Haus for a beer and a bite or six.

Like most of the restaurants in Kenmore Square, Deli Haus was accessible via a short stairway down from the sidewalk. It combined an Irish-greenish sort of decor, diner booths, and a beautiful synthesis of the archetypal bar and diner counter, complete with taps and spinny stools. It was cramped and warm and cozy like a bar or a diner should be. They had Guinness Floats, breakfast anytime, marvelously greasy potato skins, burgers to die for, and anything else you could imagine, and they were open until 3 AM, after which you could stagger next door to IHOP. They had jukeboxes with actual variety, actual Good Music, like recently released records from local punk bands. Full of friendly punks and all kinds of people, just heaven on Earth.

Deli Haus passed away in December 2001 after 40 years under its original name and a brief reincarnation as the Underground Cafe, which nobody went to. Given its clientele, it was a miracle that it held on so long after the Rat closed down in 1997. The IHOP had closed the year before, and that was it for Kenmore Square: now it's just a little shopping district and a T stop. sniff