With some of the best beer and cocktails in the country, Boston makes for an essential place to stop and soak up some history. Yet many of Boston’s drinking establishments are making history, in pushing the boundaries of cocktail mixology and in the craft beer world as well. Make sure to visit our 10 best bars to get a better sense of Boston’s legendary drinking tradition and recent innovations.
Bar, Cocktails, American, Wine, Beer, Pub Grub, $$$
Located in Boston’s Allston neighborhood, look out for this bar’s excellent food, beer, and cocktails. Named as one of Draft Magazine’s 100 top bars of 2015, Deep Ellum packs some serious hops in its beer selection. With a narrow, dimly lit interior with classic westerns playing on the TV, this bar offers an ambiance that cannot be matched in the entire city. Point your attention towards the root beer braised pork belly for the most popular starter in the neighborhood.
Deep Ellum, 477 Cambridge St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-787-2337
The Biltmore Bar & Grille
Bar, Restaurant, American, Beer, $$$
The Biltmore Bar & Grille
Come to The Biltmore Bar & Grille to eat and drink in one of Boston’s oldest bars. Since its beginning in 1914 serving third shift workers that all important post-shift-pint, to its mysterious status as a speakeasy during Prohibition, this bar holds many stories within its brick walls. Now functioning as a contemporary American bar and restaurant, come to the Biltmore for its craft cocktails and local beer selections, not to mention excellent food, such as its famous chicken and waffles with honey butter.
The Biltmore Bar & Grille, 1205 Chestnut St, Newton MA, USA, +1 617-527-2550
Bar, Pub, Vegetarian, Pub Grub, American, $$$
As a routine winner of Boston Magazine’s ‘Best of’ awards, River Gods is the perfect first stop on a bar tour of Boston. With an atmosphere reminiscent of a cozy English pub, this bar departs from conventional definition with its decor alone. The giant twig mermaid in the center of the bar and the throne seating make this bar a fun stop while touring Cambridge, but their black and tan makes stopping at River Gods essential.
River Gods, 125 River St, Cambridge MA, USA, +1 617-576-1881
A perfect pint of Guinness draft is almost sacrosanct among beer enthusiasts, symbolic of what a pint of beer is supposed to do; refresh your taste buds, and bring people together- strangers and friends alike. James’s Gate holds a special place in the hearts of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, functioning as a place where neither style nor snobbery prevail. Offering the classic Guinness draught and a mean shepherds pie, come to James’s Gate to relax with friends in front of its fireplace and feel a sense of camaraderie only achieved at traditional Irish pubs.
James’s Gate, 5-11 McBride St, Jamaica Plain MA, USA, +1 617-983-2000
Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, American, $$$
Parlor Sports is the sports bar for people who don’t like sports bars. A small space with a sufficient amount of televisions to avoid confusion, but enough to keep you focused on the game, this bar breaks the stereotype of what sports bars have recently become. Parlor Sports captures the rare, intimate clubhouse feel that few sports bars are capable of, and offers a great selection of tap beers to quench you and your friend’s thirst during the game. Serving food from the neighboring restaurant Trina’s, come by Parlor for any occasion, and make sure to order the lobster tacos and a pint of some local Bostonian beer.
Parlor Sports, 1 Beacon St, Somerville MA, USA, +1 617-576-0231
Bar, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Pub Grub, American, $$$
Few bars are able to make their own ale to sell, especially on a large scale. Lord Hobo will soon be one such bar in Cambridge, as they recently purchased a warehouse capable of producing 200,000 barrels of beer per year. Until their operation matures, visit their beer bar on Inman Square, where you will assuredly discover your new favorite brand to imbibe. While it is still offered, order the enjoyable feast box, a homage to the fast-food era of our millennial past. With a small burger, fries, chicken nuggets, and the half-pint of your choice all for $10, be sure to stop at Lord Hobo for some of the best beer and treats in Boston.
Lord Hobo, 92 Hampshire St, Cambridge MA, USA, +1 617-250-8454
Bar, Restaurant, Snacks, Cocktails, $$$
For one of the most innovative cocktail lounges on Union Square, walk down the Sanborn Ct alley into the backdoors of this award-winning establishment. With a very trendy yet relaxed atmosphere, Backbar is one of the best bars in the city to try something new. Popular creations include the olive oil-infused cocktail green courage, or any of the reincarnations of the bar’s milk punch. Try and come by for their ‘Genius Hour’ from 4pm to 6pm on weekdays to finish up some work and eat a bowl of some of sister restaurant Journeyman‘s famed ramen. Remember to order a bowl of the spicy bacon popcorn with whatever you order to drink, as this snack has reached a legendary status in the neighborhood.
Backbar, 7 Sanborn Ct, Somerville MA, USA, +1 617-718-0249
The Publick House
Bar, Restaurant, American, Belgian, $$$
The Publick House
With the largest list of Belgian beers in the city, any Bostonia beer enthusiast has heard of The Publick House. The trip to Brookline is worth making for the beer alone, but that’s not all this bar has to offer. The interior is full of character, featuring nooks and crannies fit for an intimate evening with any small to mid-sized group. Perhaps offering the most sumptuous beer in Boston, The Publick House definitely has something new for you to try. As a side, make sure to order their very popular mac ‘n’ cheese or moules frites, as they are of a quality that rival the delicious Belgian beer.
The Publick House, 1648 Beacon St, Brookline MA, USA, +1 617-277-2880
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
It takes serious courage to refuse to offer a drinks menu to your customers, but the mixologists at Drink have proven that they simply don’t need one. After asking what types of tastes or liquors you prefer to indulge in, the bartenders improvise an original cocktail creation for you, and if you don’t enjoy it, expect the excellent wait staff here to bring you another drink free of charge. Located in a basement with exposed brick and piping, this bar offers an ambiance only achieved while at subterranean depths. Look out for the grilled cheese and roasted marrow bones for a food experience to compliment your cocktails.
Drink, 348 Congress Street, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-695-1806
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
As Boston Magazine best dive bar of 2013, Biddy Early’s (located in the financial district of Boston) has achieved a large following. If you’re looking for an ambiance similar to the Paddy’s Pub of the hit show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Biddy Early’s is your place. With classic pint cans of PBR, it will always be a great night, whatever the occasion. With its dim lighting, dusty wooden floor, and vintage jukebox, Biddy Early’s goes above and beyond the status of dive bar.
Biddy Early’s, 141 Pearl St, Boston MA, USA, +1 617-654-9944