The best bars in Boston
From low-key Irish pubs and dive bars to swanky cocktail lounges, the best bars in Boston cater to every kind of drinker
The best dive bars in Boston
Head for one of our favorite dive bars for a laid-back night of cheap drinks in an appealingly bare-bones setting
The best cocktail bars in Boston
Boston is filled with excellent cocktail bars, whether you’re after a perfectly shaken martini or more creative sips
Boston craft beer guide
Fantastic craft beer bars and breweries abound in Boston—here's where to find the best artisanal suds in the city
The best sports bars in Boston
Watch the big game and celebrate your team’s victory (or drown your sorrows) at the top-five sports bars in the city
Where to go for cocktails
This hidden sister bar to popular restaurant Journeyman is best found by looking for the disoriented would-be patrons wandering the parking lot between neighbors Bronwyn and the Independent. Once you find yourself inside, you’ll be treated to outstanding service and meticulously crafted cocktails while seated at low-key wooden block tables. Show up early or make reservations—staff will make people wait rather than letting them crowd the space.
Alden & Harlow
Taking over the subterranean digs of former Harvard Square institution Casablanca, the expansive Alden & Harlow has plenty of space for eating and drinking between brick walls lined with reclaimed wood and vintage cookbooks. The cocktails echo the modern American fare, with ingredients like parsnip puree, honeyed kumquat and fennel infused lillet.
This underground bar has been firmly planted at the top of local and national cocktail-enthusiasts' must-see lists for the personal approach to mixology. Master bartenders present patrons not with a menu but with an ear to listen to each imbiber's preferences, crafting artisinal tipples from their stock of premium spirits and mixers.
Silvertone Bar & Grill
Forward-thinking in its backward-looking ways, subterranean Silvertone was a local pioneer of the trend for classic cocktails and American comfort food—and the long wagon train of regulars it immediately formed remains firmly hitched. The owners' good-natured commitment to a bygone era manifests itself in everything from the old prom pictures and liquor ads that line the walls to the confoundingly low prices charged for smart wines by the glass, served alongside much-loved staples such as macaroni and cheese, quesadillas and meatloaf.
The best Irish pubs in Boston
Separate the craic from the crap with our guide to the city's finest Irish pubs
The best karaoke bars in Boston
Sing karaoke till your voice is croaky at one of these top three Boston karaoke bars
The best gay bars in Boston
Discover where to hit the town in style with our guide to the best gay bars in Boston
The best patio bars in Boston
Get your dose of suds and sunshine at one of these great bars with patios
Best bars for beer
It’s the only Scottish bar in the city, and the only place you can get Kelpie with your Haggis. Kelpie blends seaweed and chocolate flavors, and is as dark as the blackest porter. But it’s got a brisk, light taste, tinged with ocean salt. Other Haven perks include Brew Dog on tap and deep-fried chocolate bars. The atmosphere is immersive: Belle & Sebastian on the soundtrack, tartan curtains, antler chandeliers and a bathroom plastered with obscure Scottish comics. Signature brew: Skull Splitter, a strong 8.5% wee heavy.
Enter through dark curtains and your attention is immediately drawn to the bar, with its 40 taps raised up in the center like an altar to the god of hops. Here, the bartenders are more than happy to introduce you to the delicious and obscure—such as a pale ale lovingly brewed by a Belgian father and son in their spare time away from their day job at a big brewery. Signature brew: Cantillon Vigneronne, aged with Italian Muscat grapes, smooth yet lightly bubbly.
Named for the booze-loving author, the Bukowski is all attitude. The style reflects the interests of the beer-slinging crew: Sex Pistols on the jukebox and a beer menu that lists “Ales,” “Lagers” and “Funky Shit”—which includes a Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and a Blanche De Bruxelles Wit from Belgium. The usual local suspects, such as Pretty Things and Magic Hat, are also on tap. Signature brew: Deus De Flanders, aged for 2 years, and clocking in at a hefty $45 a bottle.
Cambridge Brewing Company
CBC is a veteran of the Boston beer scene. It certainly has the merchandising down: hats, T-shirts and pint glasses are all for sale. Founded in 1989, it’s the oldest brewery-restaurant in the city, and the first in the country to produce a Belgian-style beer: the Triple Threat. The room itself is spacious and comfortable, with lots of long, shiny pine surfaces. The brewing tanks are visible from every seat in the house, but the best tables are to be found on the front patio. Signature brew: Cerise Cassee, a tart, barrel-fermented ale made from sour cherries.