Beyond Basic: Boston's Top Bars Make For One Heck of a Night Out Exploring the Town

When you're looking for a bar night out, Boston is a great place to be. Lining many streets, you'll find a plethora of options, but knowing which will best suit your mood can be a tough call to make. Seeking out the best of the best is not an easy task, especially with splashy exteriors inviting you in. However, just as a book should not be judged by its cover, neither should a Boston bar. Many of Boston's best places to drink look a bit sketchy, but in truth, the interiors are prized places where locals go to chug a cold one, sip a serious cocktail, socialize, or simply unwind. Favorites include the Back Bay dive you'd surely walk right by, Bukowski's, that boasts a beer list that will make you squeal (as well as a giant wheel of beer). A couple of modern day speakeasies- Drink and Backbar, both hidden from the average passerby, both conceptually similar, but each different in execution (Drink is a menu-less place where description reigns, while Backbar provides guests with a written selection of their choice of cocktails of the day). Any list of Boston's best bars must include a sports bar because their is usually a sporting event under way. Try the Bleacher Bar near Fenway and add a view of the famed park to your brew. And for those seeking something even more upscale, Top of the Hub will take you above it all (literally more than 50 stories) to check out Boston from above.

10 Publick House Beer Bar & Kitchen
Brookline's Publick House is a true beer bar where everyone feels at home, from the 21 year old out for his first legal drink to the 90 year old beer enthusiast who is paying for it. Publick House is home to an outstanding selection of international brews, local microbrews (from the New England area), pilsners from Germany and authentic Belgian ales. Food is equally impressive here, and is reminiscent of what you'd find in Europe's trendy gastro-pubs. The scene consists of savvy locals who want a quality brew in a cool setting, like those who are devotees of home brews, and you'll certainly get what you pay for because a beer at the Publick House is not exactly cheap. (617-277-2880)

9 The Bleacher Bar
Situated beneath the centerfield bleachers of Fenway Park, with a window that overlooks the actual ball field, The Bleacher Bar is one of the most unique and best places in Boston to watch a game. Although not just for Red Sox fans, this sports bar's window onto centerfield makes it a place for fans to flock when tickets are not an option, for a second best seat on game days. Although jam-packed on game days, the bar is open year-round so sports fans can come to watch any game on one of their televisions, indulge in their pub grub or just stop in to check out legendary Fenway from an entirely different perspective. (617-262-2424)

8 Whiskey Priest
Whiskey Priest is the kind of place you want to go. Not just because it serves great drinks, lives up to its name (they have quite the selection of whiskey) or serves some decent snacks, but because it sits Harbor side and has a roof deck that Boston natives dream of during long cold winters. You'll notice the line extending around the corner as the night wears on and you'll want to wait in it just to join the crowds within its walls. Whiskey Priest's dark modern interior (perfect on a chilly day) is counterbalanced by the airy roof deck that let's you drink and dream. (617) 426-8111)

7 Silvertone
On Bromfield Street, a small, almost hidden entryway leads you down the stairs and into the dark den that is Silvertone's. Serving comfort food at low prices is what Silvertone's has done well for more than a decade. A meal of buffalo wings served with actual blue cheese (not dressing) and their aboslutly amazing mac n cheese, served with lightly dressed mixed greens on the side is under $20. If the cool setting makes you feel you need a fabulous drink, indulge as it may be the most expensive thing your order. The menu has that same nostalgic, comforting feel in both price and cuisine. When dinner crowds wind down, patrons take to the bar area for socializing and fun. Great vintage music plays, a full bar is available, and affordable prices mean that the fun extends into the wee hours. (617-338-7887)

6 Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill
Jerry Remy's, with two locations, one near Fenway and one on the Waterfront with outdoor seating, allows guest the opportunity to eat drink and be merry while enjoying the big game. The Seaport location has the largest screens around, making this a perfect place to watch a game away from the traffic surrounding the ballpark. Good food tops off this sport fan's oasis with a pub menu that does a bit beyond the basics. Jerry Remy's is also a great place to meet locals, from after work to late night Jerry Remy's is jammin', especially on warm nights on the waterfront. (6172367369)

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5 Bukowski's Tavern
Walking down the street past Bukowski's Tavern, you'd probably pass up entering, but this come-as-you-are, dive is well worth a walk inside. The interior is anything but upscale, and staff more on the alternative side, but anyone who walks through these doors is welcome. The beer list is staggering with well over 100 on tap options of local and imported brews. And the the beer wheel is a fun thing to spin as long as you're willing to drink any beer on there. The clientele is friendly, you could enter alone and easily find yourself deep in conversation with whomever plops down on the stool beside you. (617-497-7077)

4 Warren Tavern
Warren Tavern is an historic Charlestown bar that still hosts a cool crowd. George (Washington) and Paul (Revere) may be gone, but you are what makes Warren tavern special now. Dark wood and small rooms, invite you to feel like you have taken a step back in time and entered a watering hole from the past. But the service, election and surroundings tell you something different, because everything about being here is a modern experience. Live music pops up at Warren tavern, and Wednesdays are a hot night for locals who flock to this watering hole to enjoy the casual bar scene and above average burgers. Warren Tavern is a perfect place for an American meal or simply a pint to end your night. (617-241-8142)

3 Top of the Hub
Perched atop the Prudential Tower, this restaurant/lounge offers great nightlife. Come after work to enjoy a drink and a fine meal in elegant surroundings, while you enjoy the sunset. The 360 degree views offered here, make it easy to check "see the Boston skyline" from your to-do list. Elegance oozes from the surroundings. Where well dressed pre dinner guests lounge around while waiting for their tables, you'll want to look the part. Along with expert service, linen-covered tables, and the best views in the city, you'll find inviting strains of jazz music permeating the atmosphere. You probably can't imagine a more lovely romantic backdrop for a few drinks. (617-536-1775)

2 backbar
Take a walk from the alleyway, through the door featuring the handmade 81/2 x 11 sign that simply says backbar, down the elementary school-esque hallway and through the unmarked door into the dimly lit room buzzing with cool to enter Backbar. There you'll be met by a smiling face wearing a prohibition era outfit (gray pants and matching vest, light colored shirt and red tie). Who will guide you inside. Seating comes complete with wooden stools that look like the empty shipping crates. The clientele is more hipster than flapper and the music more 1980's than 1920's but the ice comes in chunks in the creative cocktails they serve. (617.718.0249)

1 Drink
When you're tired of the same old cocktails, know what you like, but are not sure what it is called, make your way to Drink. The expert mixologists at Drink are here to help. Not your usual bartenders, Drink only hires those who know more than 100 cocktails by heart. No written menu is listed and brand names are nixed in favor of finding you something that is really good that you may have overlooked if actually offered. Simply describe your desires and rather than pouring typical libations from a plethora of ready made mixes, the bartenders here use their imaginations and your personal preferences, along with fresh fruits, potted herbs and hard-to-come-by ingredients, to concoct custom drinks. In addition to their noteworthy cocktails, Drink also has a solid selection of appetizers. (617-695-1806)

Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand.  Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings.  Although Jessica has been a world traveler since her teens, her favorite trip may always be her Italian honeymoon.  Living in a city that allows her to experience a change in seasons equals an opportunity to enjoy a shift in activities. As the old New England cliché says, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” 

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Maps and Directions

Whiskey Priest 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Local Picks
Neighborhood: Seaport District
Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Sports Bar
Neighborhood: Fenway District
Top of the Hub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Music, Lounge
Neighborhood: Back Bay
backbar 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: Somerville
Drink 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Lounge
Neighborhood: Seaport District