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Best Bar Menu in Boston

I'm a grad student so i have little disposable money but I do like to indulge in the finer things of life. It makes us happy. So what are your favorite bar menus in Boston? Two of my favorites are Bristol Lounge and Harvest. I'm sure there are plenty more.

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  1. are you talking menus that are ONLY available at the bar? or the best bars to dine at with the full menu of the house? i don't know of too many places (Pigalle being the only one that comes to mind) that have a bar-only menu. maybe i'm wrong and i'm sure i'll be corrected in short order if i am.

    1. Chez Henri, No 9 Park, Pigalle (see other thread) and City Bar are the first 4 that come to mind. I know a lot of people praise Gargoyles' and Via Matta's.
      Personally, I treat pretty much every menu like a bar menu in that I prefer to order a mix of apps to getting a main course. So there's that too.

      1. I really like the bar menus at Gargoyles (poutine!), Chez Henri (Cuban sandwich), and Eastern Standard (daily specials). I like the atmosphere and bar tending, and I think you can find some relative values at all three.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kittychow

          Poutine was sadly not there on Tues...replaced by fries w blue cheese and bacon, IIRC.

          1. re: tatamagouche

            YES! The blue cheese fries are BACK. I could not be happier. Thanks for letting us know.

        2. Davio's also has a bar menu that has a few pizzas and a pretty good burger on it. I have only ever eaten at the bar at Gargoyle's and have really enjoyed that as well as the cafe menu at #9 Park.

          1. are the pizzas at Mistral bar-only?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ScubaSteve

              No. At least not when I was there last year.

            2. IMO (and I would think that of many other hounds), the single best bar-food item in the area is the Cubano at Chez Henri.

              1. The bar at the new Sage in the South End has an "enoteca" menu with a bunch of small plates, mostly under $10. Two or three would make a very nice meal, and that chef is pretty amazing. Good cocktails and wines by the glass, too, though those will swell your bill.

                4 Replies
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Remember when Bill Bradley was chef at Bricco? He did pretty much the same thing. God I loved his grilled baby octopus while sipping a big red.

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      Oh, those olives. After Bricco, we were happy to find him at Rustic Kitchen in Quincy Market, until he left to open the south shore one. The fried olives weren't on the menu, but we would ask and if he had them, he would bring some out. And while Carmen's does a good job of continuing on his crespelle bolognese, to me it isn't the same...

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Sad, sad, sad to say I was there the other night after having had so much wine elsewhere that I didn't even remember eating anything. Apparently I tried the arancini and the carpaccio. Apparently I liked them.

                  2. Masa on Tremont in the South End has the best bar menu I've come across. Their bar menu consists of 10 different tapas all for $1 each. On certain days of the week at certain times you can get all 10 for half price. A full meal of excellent, varied tapas for $5 can't be beat. Definitely give this a try.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: heWho

                      I will second that - in terms of a good deal, the Masa tapas sampler - one of each of the 10 types for $5 - is a steal, although the time I had it, the hot tapas were lukewarm and the cold tapas were lukewarm - so I imagine they have them stacked up under or near heat lamps. Still, for the price, I can deal with lukewarm. How unchowish is that? Yikes.

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        Regarding Masa, I liked the little empanadas but I thought the rest were a little uninspired, and you have to really specifiy how many you want, we were trying to get multiple orders for a group of six people and they kept just brining out one plate and we'd have to ask for more. The service was a little weird, we were there a little late, but we ordered their sangria margarita and wanted it with salt, which they informed us they were out of (we saw them throw it away and clean the rimmer, they just didn't want to get it dirty again). It is a bargain, but I'd rather spend a little more and avoid the irritation.

                    2. Has anyone tried the bar menu at Aujourd'hui? I love the new chef there. I think the Improper mentioned the new bar menu includes poutine.

                      Also, Prezza has that special bar menu for two - three courses for $45 a couple (link below). Aside from that special, they're one of my favorites spots for eating at the bar. Their regular menu always has at least 10 appetizers and all pastas can be ordered as half-portions. Like No 9 Park, we only sit at a table if we're with another couple.

                      Godere in Dué at Prezza

                      Which reminds me, not a separate bar menu, but we like Copia for lots of apps - divided into cold plates and hot plates, and they're working on adding more 'tapas'. It's a good spot for E to watch the game, and I can enjoy nice wine and great food.

                      And I second No 9 Park and City Bar for their bar-only menus. I really like the clam pizza on Davio's bar-only menu, though if it's not cooked right, it can be disappointingly soggy in the middle.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rubee

                        Lucca has a great one with pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and small plates also Artu has a decent bar menu.

                      2. Two traditional faves of mine are Gargoyle's on the Square in Davis <http://gargoylesonthesquare.com/> and 75 Chestnut in Beacon Hill, where the bar menu has become the standard menu. <http://www.75chestnut.com/>. Both are reasonably priced, but do interesting twists on the standard bar fare.

                        1. I love eating at the bar at Hamersley's in the South End. It's a pretty spot; great people and dog-watching out the window; solid wine list and they have both a bar menu and the regular menu available. If you get there early enough, you can snag the best table in the house, which is the one in the window in the bar. Can't say enough about the food. Alison Arnet in her last column in yesterday's Globe said that Gordon Hamersley is the most cosistent chef in Boston. I agree--and by implication think it's one of the best in town.