Situated south of the Charles River, Back Bay is one of Boston’s most expensive residential neighborhoods, with rows of Victorian brownstone homes; an iconic preservation of 19th century American urban architecture. Back Bay is inhabited by flocks of trendy, young professionals who fuel an ever-bustling nightlife. As such, the neighborhood is densely populated with a variety of drinking spots, from chic cocktail bars to Irish taverns and tequila bars. Here is a list of the best of them.
City Bar is an elegant watering hole located in the boutique, 115-year-old Lenox Hotel. Over the past century, The Lenox has housed many distinguished guests, including Babe Ruth, Judy Garland and John Travolta to name but a few. City Bar is one of three dining options within The Lenox, and exists as a hybrid bar, lounge and restaurant combination. Its dark lighting and swanky, polished décor coupled with a hearty list of wines, cocktails and beers make it an ideal location for a romantic night out.
Post 390 is located in the Clarendon Building, which was once the Back Bay Post Office Annex. It is comprised of two levels: the Tavern on the first floor that allows for a simultaneously casual and sophisticated dining experience, and the second floor that maintains a more formal restaurant. Downstairs, the lighting is dim, there is a large bar and an inviting four-sided fireplace that sets an elegant, yet energetic mood. Upstairs, guests can enjoy an open kitchen, a second fireplace and iconic Back Bay views of Copley Place, Trinity Church and the John Hancock Tower.
Situated beside the Hynes Convention Center, Towne Stove and Spirits is an ideal stop for Back Bay’s young professionals after a long workday. With two floors, three bars and a private dining room all decorated in rich creams, browns and reds, Towne is an enticing venue. In addition to fresh new specials created daily, Towne offers an all-day, professional valet parking service. Towne’s elaborate layout and pricier menu make it the perfect bar for an upscale night out with a group of friends.
If you are looking for a casual night out, The Pour House is the best in the neighborhood. It embodies everything a sports bar should with three fully stocked bars, no cover charge, and no less than 17 flat screen TV’s distributed throughout the place. Although The Pour House is known mostly for its cheap beers, its Bloody Mary was invited to be one of just 80 on The St. Regis Hotel’s 80th anniversary menu. If that is not enough, Business Insider named The Pour House Boston’s best bar in 2013. And, if you wake up on the wrong side of a hangover, just come crawling right back for a breakfast that was ranked Playboy’s ‘Best in America.’
Back Bay would not be a proper Bostonian neighborhood without a few good Irish pubs. Crossroads fits the bill here with over 30 beer selections and classic brick and wood decor. It is a popular destination throughout the week, with nightly specials like Monday night trivia and 50-cent wings on Thursdays. While soccer fans may be harder to come by in the States, Crossroads prides itself on being Boston’s official bar of England’s Manchester United, venture on down for a game and you won’t be disappointed.
Bukowski Tavern wins the award for the most personable bar, its menu exudes all the sass, attitude and borderline offensive language you might expect from a true, Bostonian establishment. Semantics aside, the Tavern also offers a suggested beer for its meal specials, and the beer list itself is high-quality and extensive. Named for the American underground writer Charles Bukowski, champion of the downtrodden and the urban lowlife, Bukowski Tavern is appropriately dark, loud and unrefined. It is the perfect hole-in-the-wall for any dedicated beer savant out there.
Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, American, Vegetarian, $$$
No best bars list of Boston would be complete without a tequila bar for good measure. Lolita Cocina offers an exceptional selection of cocktails, wine, beer and of course, over 40 different choices of tequila. Garnished floor to ceiling in red velvet and black, glass chandeliers, Lolita Cocina oozes trendiness and chic appeal, enticing large weekend crowds. Named one of Thrillist’s 21 Best Tequila Bars in America, and voted one of the 2014 and 2015 Hot Spot Restaurants in America by OpenTable Diners, Lolita Cocina is a must-visit for the bold and daring.
OAK Long Bar + Kitchen has been reverted, aesthetically, to its up-scale gentlemen’s club roots, boasting vaulted ceilings, towering windows, and high-backed leather chairs. Possibly more impressive is the copper bar that sweeps across the length of the room, or maybe even the outdoor bistro just off of the historic Copley Square. In addition to its remarkable architecture, OAK Long Bar + Kitchen serves a refined, farm-to-table menu, complete with an enjoyable selection of Manhattans, sangrias and seasonal drinks.
Located just down the road from Copley Square, Coda Bar + Kitchen serves a rotational menu of American Comfort Food from local farms and markets. The bar’s focus is on American craft beers, old world wine and seasonal cocktails, and the beer list itself places heavy emphasis on the unique. Coda’s small size and friendly wait staff make it a hidden nook perfect for escaping from the bustle of city life. Inside, brick walls and warm lighting make Coda a cozy gem for both locals and tourists alike.
The Back Bay Social Club is a classy joint aimed at a trendy clientele.Designed to mimic the intimacy of a small, 20th century café, the Social Club attracts a varied crowd with vintage art, chequerboard floors and flat screen TV’s airing different sporting events.The Social Club serves an impressive list of draught, craft and bottled brews, along with a respectable selection of wine and cocktails.The Back Bay Social Club is located across the street from the Hynes Convention Center, and while you may enjoy a casual night at the Social Club, business casual to business attire is appreciated.