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Solo Bar Dining in Boston area

Hi Hounds!

I'd like to compile a list of places to eat by oneself at a bar. My parameters are that it be T/bus accessible, have excellent bartending, and bar stools with backs (thus Brasserie Jo is out).

So far, here is what I have come up with:

Chez Henri
No 9 Park
Eastern Standard
River Gods
Neptune Oyster

Your thoughts?

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  1. Dali's

    Johnny D's (good burgers and excellent pizzetta app - large enuf for a meal)

    Cuchi Cuchi (haven't been in awhile, so not sure on the "excellent bartending" - but it was good when I went there)

    1. I hate huddling over my food and drink, but it will sadly exclude most of my favorite "eat at the bar" places that I consider more a restaurant than a straight-up bar (e.g., Audubon Circle). Some that come to mind (not necessarily on my list for great food, but just comfortable and/or fun bars at which to eat):

      B-Side Lounge (seat backs?)
      Forest Café
      Green Street Grill
      The Mission
      Washington Sq. Tavern (have not been to Beacon St. Tavern)

      Guess I like eating at the bar, too! ;)

      5 Replies
      1. re: a l i c e

        Good call on B-Side - how could I forget that one?

        I think Audobon Circle qualifies - you just have to pick the right time so you don't get elbowed.

        Anthem looks pretty slick.

        I forgot about Khao Sarn. Cobra's blood cocktail, anyone?

        1. re: gini

          Have not been to Khao Sarn - you can eat at the bar? Good to know!

          1. re: a l i c e

            Yes, and watch the fish swim around :).

          2. re: gini

            I'm fairly certain that the B-Side's stools don't have backs. It is possible that some do and some don't.

            West Side Lounge.

            Anthem <> good bartending.

            1. re: Alcachofa

              B-side's stools are indeed backless. Still, if you have enough PBR you will slump over anyway so it's not such a big deal. Better for drinking than eating, IMHO, but pretty good food.

        2. I'd add:

          The Bristol
          Bar at the Ritz-Carlton
          Bar at the other RItz-Carlton (I actually enjoy Jer-Ne now)
          City Bar
          but enough with the hotel bars...
          Parish Cafe

          1. Anthem IS slick, but not so bad early-ish on weeknights (the last time I was in there, I had the misfortune of sitting next to some meathead out on a first date). The bar is pretty comfortable; food is just ok. I'll have to re-think that one.

            I forgot to add Anise - we had a so-so experience with our take-out food but the bartender sure was friendly and knowledgable. Too bad also that the place was like a tomb. There were more people eating at the bar that night than there were in the whole restaurant.

            1. There are almost innumerable options beyond the aforementioned ones: Rendezvous, Rialto, Hamersley's, Cambridge 1 (can't remember if there are seat backs), Casablanca, Harvest. It's almost easier to list places you can't eat!

              1 Reply
              1. re: fenian

                I had a very good dinner at the Rendezvous bar. It actually has chairs (sort of 70s function hall chairs, IIRC) rather than stools, b/c the bar is at table height. It took a bit of getting used to (being 2 feet lower than the bartender), but all worked out quite well.

              2. Noir at the Charles Hotel is a great place to go alone. I agree as well about Parish Cafe. Very comfortable atmosphere and the staff is nice.

                1. A list of good T-friendly spots that I like: the Burren, Redbones, Christophers, Casablanca, John Harvards, Grafton Street Daedalus, the Field, Legal Seafoods, Jacob Wirth's, Rock Bottom Brewery, Troquet, Bukowski's, Uni, Eastern Standard, Great Bay, The Publick House. Places that are nearly T-friendly: Plow and Stars, ECG, Miracle of Science, Neptune Oysters, B&G Oysters, Sunset Grill. There are many places that I'd like to go to but haven't yet including: Chez Henri, Harvest, Rendezvous, Central Kitchen, Teatro, Les Zygomates, Toro, Linwood Grill, and Taberna de Haro.

                  1. Lots of good ideas, but I'd be remiss not to mention the Independent in Union Square.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ClippyZ

                      Had the Independent on my original list, but sadly, no subway. I dread taking the bus in Boston. Slower than walking.

                    2. Restaurant L is good also!

                      1. Thanks for all of the replies! Looks like I've got a few places to try.

                        1. Believe it or not - La Morra - a great Tuscan place near the Brookline Hills T stop. All their pastas etc made from scratch. Interesting "cichetti" ("little bites" - ge thte fried stuffed olives - yum!)served with interesting Italian cocktails. Bar staff always super nice. My hubby and I go to eat at the bar often for a small meal and get great service from the bar staff. I would definately be comfortable alone there.

                          1. Thanks for the posts, hounds! I've got 43 places that I have never eaten at the bar to try this winter:).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: gini

                              Via Matta is also really nice for dining at the bar. You can eat in the main bar or else in the enoteca. The main bar has high chairs with backs but the enoteca only has stools. And it's right around the corner from the Arlington T stop.

                              1. re: gini

                                Adding Prezza (and I'll be checking out Copia this week too).

                              2. This is so close to what I'm looking for, I will abort creating a new thread. Solo Bar Dining, but:

                                Is there anything within .5-1.0 miles walking distance from the Hilton Back Bay that the 'Hounders would particularly recommend?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: KevinFlynn

                                  Eastern Standard in Kenmore is within that distance; they have very good bar dining.

                                  1. re: cmd

                                    Love the bar at Eastern Standard, reminds me we're overdue...

                                  2. re: KevinFlynn

                                    There's Brasserie Jo for good Alsace cuisine. I simply discounted it because their stools have no backs.

                                    Clio's a 1/3 of a mile away which means Uni is just as close. Really upscale tiny sushi bar where omakase is fantastic.

                                    Montien's about half a mile away and is the best Thai with a bar within walking distance.

                                    Douzo near the Back Bay T station is about 1/2 a mile away and has good sushi and a sexy bar. Not to mention delightful lychee concoctions.

                                    Eastern Standard is also a great recommendation.

                                    The Butcher Shop and B&G are about 2/3 of a mile away.

                                    Cheap tacos are at El Penon, almost a mile away.

                                    Parish is about the same distance and serves up great sandwiches for lunch and tasty pub grub for dinner.

                                    At the very edge of 1 mile, you've got Audobon Circle for burgers & beers.

                                    Also out that far is the Bristol and the bar at Aujord'hui.

                                    Just making it would be Pigalle or Troquet. I have a soft spot for Troquet.

                                    1. re: gini

                                      I'm not exactly sure that Troquet still serves dinner in the bar, which I think would be a great loss, more to them than anyone else. It's one of the few places where you can be practically guaranteed a seat any night of the year for quite good food. I had a salt duck there the other night that was fab., but I definately prefer sitting in the bar to upstairs when solo.

                                    2. re: KevinFlynn

                                      If an ultracasual beer bar with a very good selection--I've seen Cantillon lambic on tap--is appealing, go to Bukowski's. The food is not good, however.

                                      And if watching a game is important, the bar at Legal Seafood in the Prudential Center, right next to Hilton Back Bay, is excellent (huge, highly visible flat-screen TV at the bar). I think the food is good; others disagree, though I'm not sure they would say it's bad.

                                      But I'm recommending these places more for the bar than the food.

                                    3. Well, it seems like all my fav bar-dining spots have been covered. Except one: a couple slices of Haymarket Pizza and a cheap beer (or six) at the bar at Pete's Pub.

                                      Now THAT'S Chowhounding.

                                      1. Wow, tremendous set of recommendations everyone. I'm leaning towards one night at Eastern Standard and one night at Uni. We'll see...

                                        I do need brunch on Sunday morning, again within a mile or so of Hilton Back Bay. I'm wondering if the Pour House has decent brunch? I don't mind the NFL package keeping me busy while I eat solo...any other brunch ideas nearby?


                                        1. Dillons up by the Pru has a comfortable bar with great burgers. On Sundays they offer brunch style items like hash and eggs. The hash seems to be homemade (not corned beef) and has plenty of potatos, onions and peppers!