The 10 Best Bars In Lowell, Massachusetts

Benjamin M. Smith

Anchoring Middlesex County as the fourth largest city in Massachusetts, Lowell, despite its run-of-the-mill demographics, is a place rich in heritage. Its history is in the textile industry and in literature, being the home of famous beat writer Jack Kerouac. For some of the town’s best stories and histories, come to one of its many historic taverns and inquire as the traveler may just be surprised at what they hear.

Street in Lowell, MA

1. Thirsty First

Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub

With a bar backdrop that looks as if its from the back of an old northeastern schooner, Thirsty First is a bar and restaurant specializing in all things Americana. Situated in an inviting building of brick and paneled windows in a very pedestrian-friendly part of the city, the atmosphere at this bar is relaxed and family friendly. Its craft beer menu is favored by beer aficionados, and its pizza and grilled cheese offerings have achieved a local following as well.

2. Wicked Irish Pub

Pub, Pub Grub, Irish

Set in the historic Lowell downtown, and in the former, longtime Major’s Pub, Wicked Irish Pub is seeking to reinvent itself as a new and exciting local drinkery. With 16 beers on tap, a well-stocked bar, outdoor seating and several televisions for watching the Patriots and Red Sox, Wicked Irish Pub provides all the night time essentials needed in this neighborhood. It’s stained wooden ceilings and red brick walls give off the perfect atmosphere for that comfortable Irish pub vibe too.

3. Ricardo’s Café Trattoria

Bar, Restaurant, Italian

The exterior of Ricardo’s Café Trattoria in Lowell is attractive enough to rouse the appetites of all passers by. Situated amidst an historic piece of Lowell, this restaurant and bar serves the food and drink the proprietor encountered on his many trips through Italy and Sicily. Ricardo’s routinely features live jazz music too, making this North End establishment one of the most relaxing lounges to enjoy a cocktail or two in Lowell.

4. Cobblestones Restaurant And Bar

Restaurant, Bar, Steakhouse, American

Cobblestones Restaurant and Bar is one of the best places to grab a casual drink in Lowell’s downtown. Its elegant, historic building, equipped with arched windows with Italianate caps, and its cast iron Victorian fence, hints at a time when things were built well and built to last. Cobblestone’s impressive drink menu features a host of micro and macro beers, regional and imported wines, as well as solid craft cocktails.

5. Back Page

Bar, Pub Grub

This bar’s name is fitting for its off-the-beaten-path location just off a Concord River canal. The Back Page Jazz & Comedy Club offers blues, jazz, soul and the occasional comedy routine for in-the-know travelers and locals. With strong drinks, low lights and a business plan that rejects all things mainstream and commercial, look to come to this bar for a uniquely local experience, for old-fashioned, improvised entertainment and more.

6. Charlie’s Pub

Pub, Pub Grub

Charlie’s is a true neighborhood pub. Specializing in live entertainment and friendly, neighborly service, this bar is the place locals come to unwind after work and to start a night on the town. Charlie’s Pub has all the classic pub amenities: a regular line-up of live acts, a jukebox with a massive memory space, and both pool and darts leagues. Come here to uncover some of the local character found in Lowell, Massachusetts.

7. The Worthen House Café

Bar, Cafe, Pub Grub

Asian Water Festival, Lowell MA 8.16.14
© Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism/Flickr
The Worthen House Café is the oldest tavern in Lowell, established in 1898, and is certainly the most worthwhile bar to visit if only passing through the city. With famous literary guests like Edgar Allen Poe, Jack Kerouac and journalist Jimmy Breslin, what’s known by locals as ‘Lowell’s oldest’ has garnered quite a reputation over the years. The pressed tin ceiling and beautiful, antique bar are reason enough to drop into this city classic.

8. Friend’s Restaurant & Pub

Restaurant, Portuguese

Friend’s Restaurant & Pub is a family owned eatery and pub that could easily have been plucked straight from the Azores Archipelago of the mid Atlantic. Specializing in home-cooked Azorean food and imported Portuguese reds and whites, this establishment also has a full service bar and a routinely lively crowd on weekends. Put simply, it is not to be missed.

9. The Last Safe & Deposit Company

Bar, Pub Grub

The Last Safe & Deposit Company is a hip, rock’ n’ roll basement bar in downtown Lowell. Authenticity comes first and foremost, with local art adorning the walls, local bands in the basement, and a cheery, though casual sense of camaraderie in the air. Beer here comes in a can, and although they do have a number of craft selections, crushable really is the name of the game.

10. The Old Court Irish Pub & Restaurant

Pub, Irish

Set on a cozy corner of Lowell’s downtown, The Old Court Irish Pub & Restaurant is a great Irish pub to visit at any point during a stay in Lowell. Here, they serve contemporary American cuisine, and of course the Irish classics, but more importantly, this bar really knows how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. With a relaxed atmosphere on week nights but a more rowdy crowd on the weekends, The Old Court is a great place to imbibe after a tour of this north-eastern city.

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