10 Boston Bars Locals Love

From historical pubs to speak-easy-style bars, there is a Boston watering hole for everyone.

By Kim Foley MacKinnon, ContributorApril 27, 2017
By Kim Foley MacKinnon, ContributorApril 27, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

10 Boston Bars Locals Love

luxury yellow booth at Yvonne's

A so-called "modern supper club," Yvonne's in Downtown Crossing is tucked in an alley and hidden behind an unmarked door.(Brad Bahner)

In Boston, lovers of speak-easies, sports bars and rooftop lounges will have no trouble finding great places to grab a drink. But with so many choices, deciding where to go can be daunting. U.S. News asked some local experts to pick their favorites – many of which not only offer great drinks but have amazing views, live music, tasty food and history to boot. Here are their recommendations.

Stephanie's on Newbury

Newbury Street in the Back Bay is not only a shopper's delight, it also has a thriving bar and restaurant scene. One of the most well-established of these is Stephanie's on Newbury, which has been around for more than 20 years. As soon as it's warm outside, competition is fierce for a coveted patio seat. Nina Senatore, guest experience ambassador at The Lenox Hotel, says she likes recommending Stephanie's on Newbury as a great place to enjoy a cocktail on the patio "while seeing the world pass you by."

Stephanie's serves drinks until 11 p.m. on Sunday; until midnight Monday through Wednesday; and until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen

Located in the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston in the Back Bay, the hotel's legendary bar offers classic cocktails in an upscale setting. Martinis and Manhattans are perfectly chilled and extra large – what doesn't fit in your glass is kept on ice at your side until you're ready for it.

Keith Loveless, head concierge at The Langham, Boston, says, "I like Back Bay for drinks. I like the Oak Bar a lot. ... You get a lot of locals."

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen is open daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Legal Harborside

Legal Harborside(Chip Nestor)

Julianne Boyle, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston, says the Seaport District is a great place to visit in the warmer months. "Legal Harborside's roof deck is the place to be, with beautiful views of Boston Harbor. They offer sushi and delicious sangria."

Senatore says she loves Legal Harborside and encourages people to stop by the "vibrant" neighborhood it's based in. "It's very representative of the Boston of 2017," she says.

Legal Harborside's third-floor bar and lounge is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from noon to 1 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.

Drink

"If you're looking for great cocktails, definitely check out Drink in the Fort Point/Seaport area," says Kim Weeks, guest ambassador at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel. "They are so ahead of the curve when it comes to pioneering new and innovative cocktails. Always fun to hang out there."

Drink, part of acclaimed Boston chef Barbara Lynch's small empire of bars and restaurants, takes cocktail culture very seriously. Describe what kinds of flavors you like and the highly trained bartenders will create something wonderful just for you.

Drink is open daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The Harp

The Harp(Courtesy of The Harp)

This sports bar is a local favorite, situated just steps from the Boston TD Garden, which is home to two of the city's beloved sports teams and hosts special concerts and events. The menu features classic pub fare and plenty of beers on tap.

Boyle says, "During hockey and basketball season, Haymarket is a great area. The Harp, as well as the Bell in Hand, are among my favorite bars to visit before, after and even during a Bruins or Celtics game."

The Harp is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. On Saturdays, it's open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., but the time varies based on TD Garden's schedule. On Sundays, the bar also opens based on the TD Garden schedule and is closed on all other Sundays in the summer.

Bell in Hand Tavern

Bell in Hand Tavern(Kristin Teig Photography)

This historic pub, located near Faneuil Hall Marketplace, has been serving up drinks since 1795. It was opened by Boston's last town crier, which explains its name. Today, it serves up cold brews, pub food and a unique slice of history.

Bell in Hand Tavern is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Highball Lounge

"Not to toot Nine Zero's own horn," says Weeks, referring to another Kimpton property, "but Highball is really popular and fun."

Located in downtown Boston at the Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel, this bar is a surprise, with funky decor and retro board games patrons can play. Drinks might be garnished with a rubber duck or come in a cartoon glass, but while whimsical, they're still creative and delicious.

Highball is open Monday and Tuesday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Yvonne's

A so-called "modern supper club," Yvonne's in Downtown Crossing is tucked in an alley and hidden behind an unmarked door. Weeks describes the bar as "exciting," and the patrons who pack the place at night clearly agree. "Large format" drinks, such as Moscow mules and Pucker punch, are served in giant vessels with spouts, which larger parties love to share.

Yvonne's is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Wink & Nod

Wink & Nod(Boston Nightlife Ventures)

Another speak-easy-type bar is Wink & Nod, located in the South End. After descending a flight of stairs, visitors will step back in time into the dimly lit restaurant and lounge, decorated in reds and golds. The innovative cocktail menu changes frequently, and bartenders make all the cordials, juices and infusions from scratch every day.

Wink & Nod is open Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Beehive

Boston isn't exactly known for late-night entertainment, but happily, The Beehive in the South End can be counted on for top-notch live music every night of the week. One night might feature jazz, another blues and another reggae, but it's always free. It's a lively and fun place to grab a drink no matter who's performing.

The Beehive is open Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to midnight.

To experience more of what Boston has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

Kim Foley MacKinnon, Contributor

Kim Foley MacKinnon is a Boston-based editor, journalist and travel writer. Her work has ...  Read more

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