Whether you prefer brews, bubbles, wines, or whiskeys, there’s a bar for everyone in Boston—this is the home of Cheers, after all. From Downtown Crossing to Dorchester, Brookline, Back Bay, and beyond, there’s something here to quench everyone’s thirst.
The Bowery Bar (Dorchester)
There are almost as many seats at the bar as there are rotating draft beers here, making a visit to The Bowery Bar both intimate and immersive. This local favorite in Dorchester’s Lower Mill neighborhood is perhaps most famous for its outdoor dining space, with tables, lounge couches, and seating at an open-air bar. But the vast whisky program here is also particularly noteworthy. The wine list showcases varieties meant to pair nicely with chef Dan Davis’s seasonally rotating menu, while the bar team whips up its own syrups and handmade juices for the cocktail menu.
Wusong Road (Cambridge)
Leave it to a restaurant in Harvard Square to put an educational spin on Tiki culture. Wusong Road owner-chef Jason Doo pulls from his travels throughout Asia and experiences growing up in an American-Chinese restaurant family at this historic hideaway, tucked in the century-old Conductor’s Building. Raffia lighting sets a warm glow over the long bar upstairs. Heat also comes in the form of spicy-sweet rum cocktails that bring the best of the Caribbean to Cambridge. Expect honey, fruits, and earthy interpretations of tropical drinks that island-hop from Puerto Rico, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada.
Krasi (Back Bay)
Despite its intimate environs, Krasi boasts one of the largest Greek wine lists in America, thanks to sommelier and wine director Evan Turner, who lived in Thessaloniki as a teen. Diners will find varieties from Liatiko to Savatiano, with a selection that showcases bottles from protected destination of origin areas, along with rare grapes. Cocktail lovers will want to devote extra time to visit Hecate, the new 24-seat European-style cocktail bar just below Krasi that features wines, beers, and signature drinks.
Village Social Club at Garrison House (Brookline)
With its pub grub and mug club, The Garrison House was a welcome new addition to Brookline’s Harvard Square neighborhood in 2021. But there’s more than meets the eye and the Village Social Club basement bar here beckons those who love pairing their tipples with tunes. Start the weekend early with live music on Thursday evenings, or stretch into the wee hours with entertainment that also includes stand-up comedy on Saturday nights. One thing’s for sure: The menu here packs a punch, and cocktails such as Dancing Days, featuring gin, grapefruit, lillet blanc, lemon and mint, are sure to get even the most staunch wallflower to move.
jm Curley (Downtown Crossing)
If you’re craving a beer and burger, look no further than jm Curley, one of the city’s few late-night bastions of brews and bites; the kitchen is open until 1:30 am daily. While the pub vibe—exposed brick, a concrete bar top, and original wooden floors—is all classic Boston, what’s on draft is always fresh and funky. The selection of local draft beers flowing from ten taps varies by season, as do fun cocktails courtesy of new bar manager Oscar Simoza. He’s shaking things up after several years at another Downtown Crossing mainstay with selections such as an apple cider-tinged mai tai, a habanero honey-kissed tequila cocktail, and an espresso martini that will have night owls up until the sun rises.
Fool’s Errand (The Fenway)
Anyone who’s spent time at a Barcelona tapas bar will find themselves at home at Fool’s Errand in The Fenway, a 400-square-foot feast for the palate—and the eyes. Patterned wallpaper pops thanks to funky blue lighting; the glow also illuminates a wooden bar with a view into the kitchen. From here, a rotating selection of small bites and snacks—the ham and cheese croquettes are a must—pair perfectly with cocktails such as The Painted Ladies: Rum with egg white, rhubarb shrub, grapefruit, and lime juices, gilded with an edible flower. In warmer months, grab a spot at the small countertop that faces Boylston Street in front of a retractable window for some of the city’s best people-watching.
Roxanne’s (Beacon Hill)
Beacon Hill is notoriously staid, but you wouldn’t know it stepping into Roxanne’s. Despite being just a stone’s throw from the State House, the lounge has an Oz-like vibe with vibrantly patterned wallpaper, textured banquettes, and a back-lit bar that makes the liquor bottles glitter. The focus is on craft cocktails with a menu that’s a passport stamper—think rum from the Caribbean, tequilas evoking Mexico, and the aptly named In Tokyo, featuring vodka, matcha, vanilla, and fresh cream. Wines and rotating local draft and bottled beers round out the drinks menu; while Roxanne’s is more of a drink-first-eat-second spot, there’s an excellent selection of sharable bar snacks, including a standout house burger.
Parlor Sports (Somerville)
Sports lovers searching for more than a tallboy, rejoice — this is the place for an extensive wine collection or craft cocktail, plus flat-screen TVs. The staff here is as laid-back as the food—reliable pub fare includes corn dogs and nachos—and those in the neighborhood will often belly up to the bar for a friendly chat and post-work burger. Parlor Sports is also the perfect haunt to rub elbows with a local and sip a craft beer from regional brewers from Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville.
Citrus & Salt (Back Bay)
Citrus & Salt is an explosion of colors and flavors, which will surprise no one familiar with chef-owner Jason Santos. The blue-haired toque and Bar Rescue regular knows a thing or two about successful hospitality ventures and this Back Bay favorite brings a bit of the Baja Peninsula to blustery Boston on both the food and cocktail menus. Citrus & Salt is synonymous with tequila cocktails, with fruity and frozen libations such as the Yuzu Cute, which features yuzu-lime bubbles, guava, and mint. Those in the mood for a party can order one of the larger drinks, which serve up to six.
Troquet on South (Leather District)
The dining room and menu at Troquet on South evoke a Parisian bistro, so it’s no surprise that the drinks follow suit. Bubbly lovers can rejoice, thanks to a hearty selection of Champagnes by the glass. Owner Chris Campbell is also the lead sommelier, and oversees the Grain and Grape experience here, which encourages guests to pull up a barstool and stay awhile. The extensive wine list includes varietals from Burgundy, where Campbell lived for almost three years.
Carrie Nation (Beacon Hill)
Although Carrie Nation is one of the few places in Boston that offers wine by the carafe, a happy medium between a glass and bottle, there’s nothing mediocre about this sexy speakeasy. A visit here is like stepping back in time, which makes a signature old fashioned a logical choice. Beyond that, there’s an indulgence for every taste, including a refreshing southern mint tea with bourbon, lemon, honey, and iced tea. Don’t miss the pool tables, nestled in the back.
Award-winning chef and restaurateur Michael Scelfo gives Boston foodies serious bragging rights, thanks in no small part to this bar. Nestled on top of Alden and Harlow, his Harvard Square dining institution, the Longfellow Bar features elegant bar bites meant for sharing and pairing. The cocktail list is as stunning as the cathedral ceilings and Carrera marble bartop, with inventive sweet and savory libations. Think gin-based tipples such as My Name is Jamie, tinged with fennel and saline and Tropic Scotch, with whiskey, smoked pineapple gomme syrup, and banana.
Carley Thornell-Wade is a Boston-based food, travel, and technology writer who’s been to more than 70 countries and delighted in tasting the regional delicacies of each.
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