The Best Places for Cheap Cocktails in Boston

Drinks in Boston don't have to be expensive if you know where to go
Drinks in Boston don't have to be expensive if you know where to go | © Massimo Dallaglio / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Caroline Teel
11 August 2020

Drink prices in Boston can make you do a spit-take – except you wouldn’t want to lose a drop of your overpriced beverage. Fortunately, a few Boston bars and restaurants still serve up cheap cocktails – if you know where to look. Here, Culture Trip has listed the best places in the city for an affordable night out. Just don’t look for happy hours – they’re illegal in the state of Massachusetts.

Croke Park

Bar, American
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Nicknamed ‘Whitey’s’ by the locals, this South Boston bar is a true dive. Behind a hard-to-spot unmarked entrance, you’ll find cheap drinks, a free pool, and walls covered in graffiti from the patrons. This spot is one of the few remaining old-school Boston holdouts in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Make sure you bring cash, as Croke Park is cash-only. Don’t expect fancy cocktails or gourmet meals here, but you can get a round of beers for less than $10, and you can bring in your own food.

Delux Cafe

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, American, Beer, Pub Grub
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It’s always Christmas at Delux Cafe, where festive lights and other assorted kitsch adorn the bar year round. Drinks range from beer costing $4 a bottle to cheap craft cocktails made with fresh fruit purée. Pair your beverage with one of the fine-dining options on the menu, such as a roasted half chicken or hipster grilled cheese made with Gruyère and wild mushrooms.

Charlie’s Kitchen

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Gastropub, American, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food
Map View
Charlies kitchen famous restaurant Cambridge
© Megapress / Alamy Stock Photo

Harvard Square may be changing, but Charlie’s Kitchen has steadfastly remained the same since it was founded in the 1950s. This sprawling bar has plenty of space both indoors and out to accommodate a big group. The large beer garden can’t be beat on a nice summer’s day – and neither can the drink prices, which are by far the cheapest in the area. For the most bang for your buck, order Reagan’s Revenge – a Budweiser tallboy served with a shot of Jameson.

Paddy’s Lunch

Bar, Beer
Map View

Don’t let the name mislead you – you’re not coming to Paddy’s Lunch (which doesn’t serve food aside from a few bags of chips) for a midday meal. You’re coming for cheap drinks and good conversation with the friendly Cambridge locals. Paddy’s has been around since it was founded by Irish immigrants in 1934, and it seems like prices have barely changed since then.

Biddy Early’s

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub
Map View
Hidden on a quiet corner of Downtown Boston, Biddy Early’s is easy to miss – but a true dive bar doesn’t advertise. This low-key pub has bargain-priced pitchers of beer, strong drinks and darts. It can get packed on weekdays with the after-work crowd, but it’s worth fighting your way through the throngs to the bar of this Financial District landmark.

Sullivan’s Tap

Bar, Pub Grub
Map View
Boston Bruins hockey fans line up to enter a bar in Boston for game seven of the Stanley Cup being played in Vancouver
© Michael Dwyer / Alamy Stock Photo

True Boston sports fans know to stop at Sullivan’s Tap to load up on cheap drinks before a game rather than pay stadium prices once inside. Located right across the street from the TD Garden, this dive bar is always packed with Bruins and Celtics fans, who come before and after games to show off their own skills on the bar’s many arcade games.

These recommendations were updated on August 11, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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