College - it’s a great time in life! In addition to all the learning, there’s freedom, new friends, new experiences, and lots of drinking. Boston has a good number of college bars where the just-21 set likes to gather. These are bars that appeal to students’ limited budgets, with cheap beers and well drinks plus the occasional meal deal or promotion. If you’re looking for a wild night going into the wee hours surrounded by youthful energy, here are the best college bars in Boston. For more college-friendly spots, check out the best cheap eats in Boston and Boston’s best late night dining options. Looking for something more refined? The best cocktail bars in Boston will do the trick.
RECOMMENDED: See the full list of the best bars in Boston
Best college bars in Boston
Whiskey’s is a Boylston Street hub for eating, drinking, and socializing. The full-service space offers a full bar menu, lots of beers on tap, and more. The menu is equally as loaded and offers house specialties such as crispy cheesesteak eggrolls and buffalo wings. TVs are dotted all throughout, making Whiskey’s an ideal place for chowing down and catching a game.
T’s Pub is conveniently located within walking distance of Agganis Arena and Paradise Rock Club, making it a great place to stop before or after a show. T’s has 7 different flavors of wings, as well as a lengthy sandwich and burger menu. They’re also open late and have several beers and ciders on tap.
The Thirsty Scholar is a Harvard hangout, made more famous by its inclusion in The Social Network. The charming space feels like a true Irish pub, and draws a lively crowd of regulars. It's a great spot to watch a game or just unwind with a pint.
The Black Rose checks all the boxes for every college student's ideal Irish pub. It's traditional, comfortable, lively, serves Guinness and irish pub fare, and features regular live music. It's also in Faneuil Hall, a top hang-out destination for young, energetic crowds looking for a full night out.
For college students looking for live music on the cutting edge, Great Scott is the place. MGMT, Hot Chip and Of Montreal all gigged at Great Scott long before all the sold-out tours at theaters and arenas. The line-up is mostly rock, with the occasional folk, electronica, or country band. The small space allows you to get a close-up view of the next band to move on up to the Middle East and then fame.
Located in the lively Fenway neighborhood, this Irish pub and music venue is popular with college students for big nights out. There's a packed schedule of open mike nights and cover bands, plus epic parties for Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and St. Patrick’s Day.
Oozing with Red Sox history and memorabilia (and—thanks to current owner Ken Casey—Dropkick Murphys as well), McGreevy's is a favorite among sports fans. It's a great place to watch any game, and daily specials make it perfect for college kids looking for a deal. It also attracts raucus alumni groups looking for a good time in an old haunt.
Popular with BC and BU students, Wonder Bar is a step up from the typical college bar. It offers live music and a nicer food menu, appealing to a more grown up crowd earlier in the evening. Late night, DJs transform it into a dance club that keeps the energy up until closing time at 2am.
A legendary spot in Fenway, this hangout sits in the shadow of the Green Monster. College kids looking to dive into Red Sox fandom hang out here with multi-generational diehards. Classic fried treats, and a lengthy beer list are a draw, plus patio seating in good weather.
Ned Devine’s has been a favorite of both tourists and locals for more than a decade. It’s a modern Irish pub serving fish and chips, award-winning clam chowder, corned beef, Guinness onion soup, and other pub favorites. The dining room and bar are cozy, so it’s a good spot to stop for a bite to eat or a cold craft beer. The seasonal patio is popular when weather permits. On the weekends, Ned Devine’s transforms into lively nightlife spot with live music and dancing.
The college set mingles with longtime regulars at this Fenway spot. In addition to cheap beers and wings, the Baseball Tavern also has "cheap seats" for Sox games: You can make out parts of Fenway's interior from the rooftop deck (but the bar has plenty of big-screen TVs). This family-owned bar dates back to 1963, making it a key pre- and post-game gathering spot for generations of Sox fans as well as the occasional alumni group reliving their college days.
Thrifty college kids love this Financial District dive bar. The surrounding neighborhood may have gotten classier, but Biddy Early's remains gritty and cheap, with inexpensive buckets of beer and wallet-friendly pub grub. There's also extracurricular entertainment like Keno and Golden Tee.
This no-frills Newton sports pub is consistently packed with a varied crowd, but also attracts Boston College students looking for beer and wings. The standout wings, juicy and crispy, are frequent award-winners. Pair with cheap beer and big TVs showing games and you've got a perfect college hangout.