Boston Marathon Bites + Brews: The Best Post-Run Spots in The Hub

Lace up and then tie one on. Boston is a sneaker town, thanks, of course, to the celebrated Boston Marathon, which happening today — for the 120th time. Running is a way of life in Boston — year-round; even a blizzard won’t stop runners in their tracks here. They are truly Boston Strong, after all. There are many running routes, in this storied city, the most popular include the Esplanade/Charles River loop, the Emerald Necklace which begins at Boston Common and dangles to Franklin Park, Castle Island in Southie, and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. You can always run the Freedom Trail, too. There are also many post-run spots along the way at which to to grab a craft beer — a perfectly carbalicious recovery drink — and a bite, perfect for Boston Marathon finishers or the more casual runner looking to burn calories before they get their grub on. On your mark, get set, let’s dine!

ArtBar, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The patio at this palette-and-palate-pleasing restaurant is a springtime spot for sprinters and joggers alike — especially those scurrying along the Charles River, thanks to ArtBar’s location on the running path that hugs the Charles. Throw in those patio fire pits for convo and cocktails after you’ve hit your stride(s). On Marathon Monday, it’s executive chef Brian Dandro is offering his Marathon 26.2 menu—for runners, friends, families, and fans. A buffet will feature pasta specials like gemelli, whole grain penne and gluten-free pasta (on request) served with classic marina, lamb bolognese, traditional pesto, and grilled chicken. Plus more carbs: breadsticks, ciabatta rolls, and kalamata rolls. On race day, throw back a commemorative Samuel Adams 26.2 brew or order a bottle of wine (Kenwood Yulupa Cuvee Special; $26.20 bottle, and refuel with a multi-course special menu for $26.20 — Chicken Wings (garlic, ginger, lime, sriracha, glazed peanuts), the ArtBar Burger (Niman Ranch chuck, cheddar, bacon, aioli, shoestring onions, brioche bun), a Lamb Burger (feta, chimichurri, pretzel bun), or a Porcini Mushroom Ravioli (wild mushrooms, English peas, Grana Padano broth, mascarpone, pea shoots and toasted panko); and, for dessert, the ginger crème brûlée tart hits the spot. But don’t expect ArtBar to throw in the towel after the marathon. It will be the place-to-see-and-be-seen all spring and summer, a perfect spot for runners to rewind and refuel. Make a reservation at ArtBar.

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Mooo, Boston, Massachusetts
Luxury boutique hotel XV Beacon is home to this whimsically-named steakhouse, which is ideal for a beer and, you guessed it, a steak. Located in Beacon Hill about a mile from the Boston Marathon finish line, Moo is particularly well-suited for a post-nosh run along the Charles or through the cobblestoned streets of downtown Boston. A hoppy Harpoon IPA can help you replenish (with 14.5 to 16.5 grams of carbs per beer and 165 calories you’ll reload those carbs in no time.) Or, hoist a heartier German Radeberger Pilsner. The Whales Tale Pale Ale, a citrusy local pale ale brewed on Nantucket, is refreshing on a hot day. Light snacks include Japanese Wagyu Beef Dumplings (a mix of Kobe beef, sautéed onions, seasonings, and a Japanese dumping wrap with a ginger soy dressing). Or, go with the Shrimp Scampi (served with housemade linguini noodles —there’s a gluten-free option, too — and sautéed Gulf shrimp), for primo carb and protein reloading. Make a reservation at Mooo.

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Post 390, Boston, Massachusetts
This tavern gets high fives for a lively spot for drinks (there’s a dining room here, but honestly, for a post-run meal, the tavern is perfect.) Think local craft beers and charcuterie, cheese plates, and tavern faves like Grilled Flatbreads (the Margherita with snipped basil is a favorite), a grilled Greek Steak Salad (with tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta, red wine vinaigrette), and the signature Post 390 Burger or Lobster Roll. Wash it back with a local draft, such as a Jack’s Abby, House Lager Landbier, brewed in nearby Framingham. Make a reservation at Post 390.

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Grill 23 & Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
You’ll want to run to this Back Bay steakhouse and seafood grill for the new bar menu that includes fun shareable items and a cocktail menu created by master sommelier Brahm Callahan. Menu standouts include the Laughing Bird Shrimp Louie (with grilled avocado, fried egg, and celery root crisps) and the Foie Gras Sliders (buns are swapped out for two halves of a homemade cider doughnut sandwiching a “decadent slab” of foie gras slathered with jalapeno jelly). Or, go for the Grill 23 Six Shooter (a spicy cerveza-base brings a kick to the region’s best oysters) Craving a burger instead? A new premium burger menu (think silver-domed service) takes the bar burger to new levels here; the Beef Burger is served with truffle cheddar, black garlic, arugula, and oven-cured tomato, for instance. Make a reservation at Grill 23 & Bar.

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State Street Provisions, Boston, Massachusetts
After your run along the scenic waterfront, zip over to this newish hotspot with its parlor-like space on the waterfront, a backstroke from the New England Aquarium. You’ll want a cold one after clocking those running miles, and State Street features only beers from New England craft brewers including Baxter Tarnation Lager and Cisco Shark Tracker, two draft beers that are befitting rewards for your hard run. Pair your suds with the housemade Rigatoni (braised beef cheek, oyster mushrooms, Brussels sprout leaves and poached egg). Or, opt for the Seared Tuna Sandwich (grilled portabella, miso aioli, spiced pickled root vegetables). Make a reservation at State Street Provisions.

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OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
OAK is located near the Esplanade and Back Bay, so there are some terrific running paths nearby. Add to that Oak’s local beer selections and it’s a win-win. And, once patio season is in full swing, Oak is a perfect post-run spot. Bites include fried chicken wings (chipotle piquillo pepper barbecue with a saffron dipping sauce), Three Cheese Mac & Cheese (confit pork shoulder, béchamel, cheese blend), the Oak Burger (caramelized onions, Nueske’s bacon, Vermont cheddar, special sauce and brioche), and a New England Lobster Roll (with old bay fries and coleslaw). Wash it down with a local draft like Harpoon IPA, Oak Unfiltered White or a Mystic Saison “Table Beer.” Make a reservation at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

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SRV, Boston, Massachusetts
South End’s SRV restaurant (SRV is an acronym for Serene Republic of Venice) uses the traditional art of milling all flour in-house for its grain dishes, including pastas. “Utilizing fresh, intact grains on a daily basis allows SRV’s co-executive chefs Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell to create, in theory, a ‘healthier bowl of pasta’ that contains much more of the good fats and nutrients essential for a runner’s endurance,” says a restaurant spokesperson. “With fresh milled flour the intact grains retain the germ, which has good fat, protected by the shell of the bran while traditional white flour contains only endosperm because the germ has been removed (and pulverized in giant mills) so that the flour can be ‘shelf-stable,’ to be sold wholesale and in supermarkets.” Aha, that explains that. The chefs use an American-made Meadows Mills Stone Burr Mill and source all grains from Four Star Farms located in Northfield, Massachusetts for their grain-based dishes, including pasta. Come during the week of the marathon and you’ll get a taste of the special Arsenale all-pasta tasting menu (specially created for the runners but available to all diners).

There’s also that dedicated cicchetti station (think an Italian version of tapas) at the bar, with standing room space and drink rails, perfect for your fellow road runners to regroup at. Menu items include polpette (pork and beef meatball, tomato, Pecorino Romano), the Baccala Mantecato (black bread, herbs, garlic), and the Soft Boiled Quail Egg (white anchovy, caper, garlic pangrattato) for just $4 each. Complement them with a couple of beers on draft like the Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA or a hard cider such as a Bantam Wunderkind Cider from Massachusetts. A spacious outdoor patio out back will be another spot to let your laces loose when it opens later this year and sidewalk seating is an option, too. Make a reservation at SRV.

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Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Bostonians love their taverns – even as far back as Founding Fathers Sam Adams and Paul Revere. In fact, a commemorative Samuel Adams 26.2 brew will be served at many of the pubs and restaurants that line the running route today on Marathon Monday. Russell House Tavern is a feel-good spot to hoist a brew and have a chew. Go for one of the tavern’s four rotating taps from Cambridge Brewing Co., Backlash Beer Co., SingleCut Beersmiths, or the special Tavern Reserve selection. Pair your brew-of-choice with the Russell House Burger (8 oz. Brandt Farms Ground Beef, English muffin, sharp cheddar, bacon, and caramelized onions) or the Smoked Lamb Belly Meatballs (roasted tomato, Taleggio cheese, and crispy sage). Make a reservation at Russell House Tavern.

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5 Napkin Burger, Boston, Massachusetts
The 5 Napkin Burger (fresh, ground beef topped with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and a rosemary aioli) is a classic order as are tater tots at this popular Back Bay spot that just so happens to host a running club every Monday. The restaurant is also dedicated to supporting local and regional craft brewers like Smuttynose, IPA, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Allagash, Saison, Portland, Maine. Make a reservation at 5 Napkin Burger.

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Are you running the Boston Marathon or are you just a Boston-area runner who likes to reward your runs with delicious dining? Share your favorite post-run spots here or over on FacebookG+InstagramPinterest, or Twitter.

Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.

Photo credits: Brian Samuels Photography (ArtBar); OAK Long Bar + Kitchen courtesy of @oaklbk; Noah Fecks (5 Napkin Burger); Steve Beudet (Grill 23 & Bar).