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Photograph: Courtesy Meadhall Meadhall

The best Boston beer bars

Here’s where to drink the best craft beers from Boston and beyond

By Time Out Boston Staff and Eric Grossman

A number of highly-rated craft breweries are located right here in Boston and around New England. To sample some of the best regional beers, all you have to do is stop by one of the best beer bars in Boston. Here you'll find beer lists that highlight local craft brews as well as some of the best national and international craft beers. From microbrews and rarities to innovative collaborations on tap you can taste them all and learn from passionate beer-loving bartenders. After knocking back some fancy suds, check out one of the best Irish bars in Boston. If beer isn't your thing, check out the best wine bars or best cocktails bars in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Boston

The best of the city under one roof

Time Out Market Boston
Photograph: Eva Sakellarides

Time Out Market Boston

Restaurants Fenway/Kenmore

Boston's premier culinary hub offers a pair of bars stocked with some of New England's most sought-after beers, including local faves Night Shift and Lord Hobo.

Best craft beer bars in Boston

Lord Hobo, Bars, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Jackie Puwalski

1. Lord Hobo

Bars Beer bars Inman Sq

Lord Hobo Brewing crafts hoppy ales and IPAs like the popular Boom Sauce. Their Inman Square bar features their brews as well as one of the most thoughtfully-curated beer lists around. 40 taps and 30-plus bottles may be a relatively small offering, but the taps rotate frequently and feature craft brews from around the country alongside occasional rare and obscure beers. Despite the rarities and the expert knowledge on tap, Lord Hobo maintains a neighborhood vibe, with a tasty menu of elevated pub fare.

Publick House
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Steve G.

2. The Publick House

Bars Beer bars

If your thing is Belgian and Belgian-style beers, Publick House has a top-notch selection. You’ll find an astounding collection of Trappist and Abbey Ales, Flemish sours, stouts, eisbocks, and more. The draft list has three sections: Belgian-style, “Here” (regional craft beers), and “There” (elsewhere). You’ll find regional craft brews from Trillium, Fiddlehead, Exhibit A, Hermit Thrush, Maine Beer Company, and others. For sustenance with your strong beers, the menu is equally attractive, featuring a notorious five-cheese mac ‘n cheese and a selection of moules frites with a choice of broth made from different local beers.

Row 34
Photograph: Morgan Ione

3. Row 34

Restaurants Seafood Seaport District

The team behind Row 34 is as enthusiastic about craft beer as they are about fresh seafood. The beer list features seafood-friendly options to pair with dishes. The rotating taps are always fresh and unique, often including rarities or exclusives. Breweries such as Bissell Brothers and Upland Brewing have offered exclusive drafts here; regional breweries and other craft favorites are always on tap. For serious craft beer fans, repeat visits will likely introduce new beers every time.

Cambridge Brewing Company, Bars, Cambridge, Boston
Photograph: Nina Gallant

4. Cambridge Brewing Company

Bars Breweries Kendall Sq

The oldest brewery/restaurant in the city, Cambridge Brewing Company is a well-oiled machine. They produce a range of crowd-pleasing beers in different styles—ambers, porters, English-style ales—as well as some unusual brews like a corn lager or a gin barrel-aged sour with cucumber. The setting is convivial, great for large groups. If you’re looking to try different styles from a single producer, CBC is the place. Enjoy a sampling of beers inside with a view of the brewing tanks or out on the front patio. A varied menu of upscale pub fare keeps the crowds satiated.

Bukowski Tavern, Bars, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Bukowski Tavern

5. Bukowski Tavern

Bars Beer bars Back Bay

Divey and kitschy, Bukowski Tavern exudes the attitude of its namesake author. By the looks of it, you might think you’d only find PBR and High Life, but the draught and bottle list are extensive and focused on hard-to-find craft beers. Much of the list features regional brews, and the styles represented will satisfy all tastes. If you can’t choose, chat with a knowledgeable bartender or just spin the Wheel of Beer and let fate decide.

Photograph: Courtesy Meadhall

6. Meadhall

Bars Beer bars Kendall Sq

A massive, U-shaped bar at the center of Meadhall is lined with nearly 100 taps. Mead is on the menu, of course, but the list of craft beers on draft is the main draw. The changing list, written on a chalkboard, includes many styles—IPAs, Belgian whites, lambics, dunkels, Flemish reds, and much more. Equally impressive is the glassware collection to match each style. Occasional tap takeovers spotlight beloved craft breweries like Founders, and other events feature rare beers or “showdowns” between breweries.

Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Stoddard's A.

7. Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale

Restaurants American Downtown

Located in a historic building in a space dating back to 1868, Stoddard’s has a classy, vintage feel. The dark wood bar, vintage furniture, and stainless steel elements suit the list of classic and inventive cocktails and the impressive beer list. The beer selection rotates and features casks, drafts, and bottles; if you want to sip craft beers in a classier pub atmosphere, Stoddard’s is the place. The lengthy food menu features a lauded burger as well as an assortment of elevated comfort fare.

Russell House Tavern
Photograph: Courtesy Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

8. Russell House Tavern

Restaurants American creative Harvard Sq

A solid spot for upscale American fare, Russell House Tavern also has a worthy beer program. All of the taps feature New England craft breweries, and the extensive bottle list covers ample ground. You’ll also find nitro and cask selections, reserves, and interesting ciders. Pick up a growler of one of the harder-to-find options. After 11pm nightly, enjoy $1 oysters with your beers.

Worden Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Worden Hall

9. Worden Hall

Restaurants Contemporary American South Boston

Worden Hall is named after a 19th Century Saratoga Springs guest house, and the decor at this South Boston modern American restaurant reflects that town’s horse racing culture. In addition to its impressive list of more than 100 whiskeys, you’ll find 40 drafts and 75+ bottles of craft beer. Cask ales, sours, belgians, and hop-driven brews are available, plus a selection of seasonal and limited release options. New England craft breweries take up the bulk of the menu. Sit at the bar—covered with more than 12,000 shiny pennies—or on the patio, and enjoy upscale American comfort fare made with locally-sourced ingredients. 


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