New in the South End: Dining alone at Bar Sat.
NYC hound will be dining alone Saturday and seek out your suggestions. I am staying in the South End (but could easily go to Back Bay or Pru area). Where would you suggest I dine at the bar? I eat at Jae's a lot. Also 867 Tremont (or whatever the number is). But seek a step above these casual type places.
I tend to like green market driven menus, high quality, on the modern or innovative side. Great wine lists.
What about the new-er places on Washington?
I'd add Caffe Umbra to that list as well.
More casual, Franklin Cafe (on Shawmut Ave.) has outstanding food with a seasonal menu and a very popular bar (at which many people will eat rather than wait two hours for a table).
Sibling Rivalry's bar might be worth a try. The space is beautiful, and I've heard much more good than bad about the food.
And of course, Hammersly's. Another place that has a bar with a view.
The bar at Metropolis on Tremont is nice. Buchter Shop and B&G (also on Tremont) are good for solo dining. All three places have nice bars. Butcher Shop has a very good wine list.
Reiterating some: the Franklin, Caffe Umbra, Union, Metropolis, B&G Oysters. Also: The Dish, Tremont 647, Aquitaine (French), Petit Robert Bistro II, Toro (tapas), Orinoco (Venezuelan), 28 Degrees (small plates), Delux Cafe (bar with decent, cheap food). Not much to look at, but good: Don Ricardo (Peruvian, Brazilian, and Mex), Morse Fish (fried and broiled seafood in a fish market), Miami Cafe (Dominican), Anchovies (neighborhood bar with good cheap Italian-American).
Icarus has a decent wine list and I'm pretty sure they'll beat Hamersley's on price. It's not super innovative but is pretty consistent, new American food.
With all due respect to MC Slim JB and his great list, I'd steer away from Anchovies, which is a place I like, but can be somewhat of a nightmare to get a seat at, especially when you're alone. I think the Butcher Shop can have the same, though more muted issue. Again, probably fine on a week night, they're rough on the weekends.
The bar at Petit Robert II might be your best bet, quiet enough, decent wine, good bartender and I've always liked the food, but there a mixed reviews on here.
Butcher Shop was great and lends itself to the type of dining you seem to want. Yum!
What about the bar at Via Matta?
A big part of it depends what time you get there on Saturday night. There are lots of great recs on this thread but if you go at say, 8pm, you'll have a tough time getting a seat at some of these places...(like B & G, the Butcher Block, Franklin, Toro, and probably others.) Get there early enough (no later than 7) and you should be alright. That being said.....if I were dining solo at the bar in the south end on a sat night, taking into account your parameters ---green market driven, highly quality, modern, innovative, wine lists, etc--these would be my choices:
Petit Robert Bistro
Butcher Shop (but make sure you're a meat eater, the menu isn't so diverse)
B & G Oyster
Anchovies, Delux, Morse and others are fine for what they are but definitely are not what you are looking for. Especially Morse. The fish might be good but for my money it's really more of a takeout spot, or somewhere to grab a quick lunch. The extremely bright florescent lights, somewhat sketchy crowd, and lack of wine/beer don't really lend themselves to a Saturday night dining destination.