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The 8 Best Cocktail Bars in Boston

Ariane Vigna | March 17, 2021 | Food & Drink

Best Cocktail Bars in Boston

When quarantine ends, you know where we wanna be? The bar! That's right. It’s time to raise a glass to celebrate ourselves for making it through all this — and applaud bar owners for weathering the crisis. Need help making your way downtown? We’re there to walk you through the new bar scene, as some beloved local pubs have closed and others remain.

Picture the perfect drink for a night in Boston. What does it look like? A pint of traditional beer? A creative cocktail, or a refreshing glass of wine? There’s a Boston bar for every vision you entertain, and don’t forget about the atmosphere. Cozy, fancy, or buzzy, the city has it all. Here are eight mind-blowing bars you need to stop by soon.

Before making your way downtown, check which bars are open, as some owners have made the difficult decision to "hibernate" throughout this pandemic winter before coming back with more fun in the warmer months.

See also: The 5 Best Single Malt Scotches to Try in 2021

Drink

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348 Congress St. / Website

Drink is an underground bar that takes cocktail planning to the next level. If you’ve been getting bored of traditional bar menus and crave a more personal experience, Drink's approach to mixology will sweep you off your feet. There is no menu: bartenders simply your preferences so they can craft the perfect mix for you. It’s going to be hard to top that one, but let’s look at our seven other contendents.

haley.henry

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45 Province St. / Website

The Downtown crossing landmark is fancier than your average bar, and not just because it serves elegantly curated, luxurious plates of tinned seafood and charcuterie. Its unique and natural wines, which come from small producers, feel a special kind of intimate. If you stay awhile and drink two glasses, the staff will uncork any available bottle for your enjoyment. If pinot isn’t your style, craft beers are also available. Created by the wine-pairing pro Haley Fortier, the stylish neighborhood wine bar is the best spot to unwind and reconnect with yourself after a long day of work.

Wink & Nod

3 Appleton St. / Website

If the South End bar’s name didn’t spark your curiosity, let us do the heavy lifting and show you exactly why the pseudo-speakeasy deserves your attention. The underground bar, decorated with zebra-print carpets, is home to a certain Scotch Club whose members spend their Tuesday evenings getting to know the beverage director as they sample top-shelf bottles. Anyone who tries one of the place’s cocktails made with cordials, juices, and infusions is bound to become a regular. Here for a good time, not a long time? Take a sip of opulence by splurging on one of the black card cocktails prepared with expensive ingredients.

Better Sorts Social Club

90 Tremont St. / Website

No plans for your next night out in town? Write down the address of this cocktail club and restaurant. If you’re looking to impress your date, Better Sorts Social Club will help them find their new signature cocktail with a questionnaire asking about their favorite flavors and textures, among other things.

See also: The 5 Best Breweries in Boston

Bully Boy Distillers

44 Cedric St. / Website

Judging a book by its cover isn’t a mistake when it comes to Bully Boy Distillers. Anyone with expensive taste will be attracted by its sumptuous velvet booth seating and collection of Prohibition-era spirit bottles. Boston’s modern craft distillery is bound to charm any cocktail fan, as Bully Boy’s handcrafted spirits go with delicious fresh juices and small-batch syrups and bitters.

Yvonne’s

2 Winter Pl. / Website

True Bostinians remember Locke-Ober, Boston’s mahogany bar that closed in 2012 after 137 years of magic. Thankfully, the town favorite hasn’t really disappeared. Rather, it’s been reinvented through Yvonne’s modern touch on high-end drinks. One needs only look at its palatial atmosphere and grand cocktail options to find a splendid trace of history in the Downtown Crossing bar, located next to the legendary Brattle Book Shop. Might we interest you in a Churn & Burn — with brown butter bourbon, five spice demerara, and angostura — or perhaps a Blackbird — if you’d rather go for dark rum, black sesame, strawberry-campari, pineapple and lime?

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen

138 St James Ave. / Website

The Fairmont Copley Plaza’s bar has much to offer. With shiny chandeliers that set the tone, Oak Long lets you escape to a different time and find yourself conversing with a charming bargoer over a classy craft cocktail. Our picks? The Autumn Star, with laird’s apple brandy, sweet vermouth and peychaud’s bitters. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Banana Old Fashioned, with maker’s mark bourbon, giffard banana from Brazil and chocolate bitters.

Shore Leave

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11 William E Mullins Way / Website

When Beantown’s seemingly endless cold leaves you dry, it’s time to go on a tropical adventure. Head to cocktail pro Ryan Lotz’s underground tiki bar to feel the sun on your skin and hear the sound of the waves — well, almost. Pre-pandemic, you’d make your way downstairs to a hot zone. These days, it’s best to take your drink outside. Hop on the Life Raft by Shore Leave, a patio space at the bar’s main entrance, open Wednesday through Sunday. There, you can indulge in a Painkiller — comforting rum, coconut, pineapple, orange and nutmeg — or experience an Avalanche — with branca menta, chocolate, coconut and averna.



Photography by: Photo by Alem Sánchez from Pexels