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Best Boston Hotel Bar Lounge

taxi Jan 11, 2009 05:54 AM

I enjoy going into a classy yet reasonably-priced hotel lounge for a drink now and again. What places do you like that have a nice ambiance and charm for conversation and relaxing? Thanks.

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  1. MC Slim JB RE: taxi Jan 11, 2009 07:11 AM

    What's your idea of reasonably priced? There are lots of great hotel lounges in town, but few that I'd call reasonable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB
      taxi RE: MC Slim JB Jan 11, 2009 08:50 AM

      I am hoping for a $10 cocktail; $8 glass of wine? Am I living in another century?? Thanks.

      1. re: taxi
        hotoynoodle RE: taxi Jan 11, 2009 09:03 AM

        can you time-travel to the early 80s?

    2. k
      kate used to be 50 RE: taxi Jan 11, 2009 11:32 AM

      Though you may not find the prices you want, the best hotel bar IMHO is the Boston Harbor Hotel bars. There is the "dark bar" and Intrigue which has a water view (or what constitutes a water view in Boston). Release your pocket book and enjoy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: kate used to be 50
        taxi RE: kate used to be 50 Jan 11, 2009 03:20 PM

        Thanks, kateutb50,
        Got a chuckle from the last line!! Definitely want to go there now. Have a great night - Globes are on!!

      2. g
        ghostcat RE: taxi Jan 11, 2009 10:03 PM

        I love the Rowe's Wharf Bar at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The first time I stopped by there, I was with a friend who had to use the ladies room. I sat in one of the chairs and told the waitress that I was just waiting for a friend. She brought over a glass of ice water, served with two cloth napkins, suggesting I might want some water while waiting. I've been back many times after that first experience. The room is comfortable, elegant and I get the same Tono pinot grigio every time. I never forgot the name. My name is Tony. The wine is eight dollars a glass. The feeling of being welcomed is priceless.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ghostcat
          taxi RE: ghostcat Mar 24, 2009 03:42 PM

          I am heading to the bar you suggested tomorrow afternoon while I am in town. Looking forward to it based on your response.

          1. re: taxi
            kate used to be 50 RE: taxi Mar 25, 2009 08:42 AM

            Enjoy my favorite drinking "hole". Tell Brian hello. FYI - Intrigue, the bar with the limited water view is closed for renovations, so the only option is the Rowe's Wharf Bar.

            1. re: kate used to be 50
              taxi RE: kate used to be 50 Mar 26, 2009 11:33 AM

              I saw the tiny bar with no view then headed upstairs and came across Meritage. Now, where in relation to Meritage is the Rowe's Wharf Bar? LOVED the view from Meritage.

              1. re: taxi
                kate used to be 50 RE: taxi Mar 26, 2009 11:48 AM

                Meritage is the restaurant. Very good restaurant, but they don't like you "hanging" at the bar and yep, they have the view. If you ever get invited to a party at the Wharf Room that is really where the views are at. Did you enjoy a cocktail at the "dark bar" as it is known?

                1. re: kate used to be 50
                  Joanie RE: kate used to be 50 Mar 27, 2009 08:00 AM

                  They really have an issue with "hanging" at the Meritage bar? I've only ever eaten there as were most people around me, but it seems odd that they'd say anything if you had some drinks there.

                  1. re: Joanie
                    kate used to be 50 RE: Joanie Mar 28, 2009 10:27 AM

                    I think they want you to go to the bar if you want to hang. Intrigue is being renovated, so it is really just the dark bar and Meritage.

        2. f
          Fort Point RE: taxi Jan 12, 2009 05:36 AM

          The bar at the Seaport Hotel has nice views of Fish Pier. Outside your price point though.

          1. p
            Patricia RE: taxi Jan 12, 2009 07:44 AM

            Not called reasonable by any stretch of the imagination but the Oak Room bar has the ambiance that I think you're looking for if not the price. So worth the splurge though.

            Scampo's in Liberty Hotel has the mozzarella bar but I've only been to Clink in this hotel so far and that was OK but noisey.

            1. p
              Pegmeister RE: taxi Jan 12, 2009 08:08 AM

              Not sure about the price range, but I like Bar 10 at the Westin Copley. Nice living room type atmosphere. The Oak Room Bar is another nice choice, but at $15 for a moscow mule, definitely out of the price range.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pegmeister
                Bridge66 RE: Pegmeister Jan 19, 2009 07:43 AM

                I agree with Pegmeister, Bar 10 is very comfy and in the many times I've been there it hasn't been crowded. There are plenty of oversized chairs or banquets that are pretty well spaced. It can be a little dark and there is no view to speak of (unless they open the curtains (rare). In addition it doesn't feel like a hotel bar. Excellent drinks and the burgers and pizza are remarkably good if you'd like something to eat (you are not required).

              2. Harp00n RE: taxi Jan 12, 2009 12:43 PM

                Since we're not returning to the early 80's anytime soon, thank God, and one of my other favorites, The Oak Bar's been mentioned, I'm throwing The Bristol Lounge into the mix. Although not cutting-edge, the mixology is top-notch and is served up in a warm and welcoming environment of subdued elegance. Some, but not much, can be shaved off the final bill-of-fare by ordering one of the best burgers in town.


                Bristol Lounge
                200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                Oak Bar
                138 Saint James Ave, Boston, MA

                11 Replies
                1. re: Harp00n
                  phatchris RE: Harp00n Jan 12, 2009 01:50 PM

                  My two faves are the Rowes's Wharf bar at the Boston Harbor Hotel ( which I'm partial to seeing as my wedding was at the hotel) and the Omni Parker house.

                  1. re: phatchris
                    taxi RE: phatchris Jan 12, 2009 01:58 PM

                    Thank you, EVERYONE! I just jotted down all these wonderful recs. I hope to venture to each one during this year!

                  2. re: Harp00n
                    finlero RE: Harp00n Jan 12, 2009 02:00 PM

                    Along the lines of Harp00n's suggestions above, I'll add Julien at the Langham in Post Office Square.

                    I've never put their mixology to too rigorous a test, but I've had any number of perfectly serviceable negronis there. And regardless, there's not much arguing with the elegant room.

                    1. re: finlero
                      Joanie RE: finlero Jan 13, 2009 05:28 AM

                      I was going to say Julien too. The little lounge outside L'Espalier in the Mandarin is very nice. For more lively, I also like the bars at Rialto and Noir in the Charles Hotel. City Bar in the Lenox is cool but more of a scene and the bar at KO Prime in the Nine Zero is fun but not so relaxing when crowded.

                    2. re: Harp00n
                      merrvally RE: Harp00n Jan 13, 2009 06:41 PM

                      I have been sooo disappointed by so-so service at the Bristol, last couple of times. Isn't that part of the draw ?

                      1. re: merrvally
                        Harp00n RE: merrvally Jan 14, 2009 05:58 AM

                        I'm sorry you've been disappointed in the service at the Bristol. Candidly, I've never had anything but good to great service there and as recently as last Friday.


                        1. re: merrvally
                          sophie fox RE: merrvally Jan 19, 2009 05:16 PM

                          Was this very recently? I was there a bit less than a year ago, several times in fact, and the service was really outstanding - great, attentive but not intrusive, genuinely warm and unstuffy.

                        2. re: Harp00n
                          sophie fox RE: Harp00n Jan 18, 2009 12:47 PM

                          I totally agree with both recommendations - they are special enough to be definitely worth suspending the price limitation. They're quite different from each other so I would strongly recommend visiting both if at all possible.

                          1. re: sophie fox
                            Harp00n RE: sophie fox Jan 19, 2009 07:07 AM

                            ....and I'd "Splice the mainbrace" any old time with you, sophie fox!


                            1. re: Harp00n
                              sophie fox RE: Harp00n Jan 19, 2009 05:14 PM

                              er, thanks - I'm sure :-)

                              1. re: sophie fox
                                Harp00n RE: sophie fox Jan 28, 2009 02:16 PM

                                Nothing salacious here sophie! :-)
                                It's an old British Navy term meaning to break out the grog/rum for the ship's company.


                        3. MC Slim JB RE: taxi Jan 13, 2009 08:40 AM

                          Since it's pretty clear that there are few hotel bars that hit your price point, I'll rattle off a list of places I like for atmosphere and an acceptable level of cocktail craft, generally good to very good:

                          Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks (Commonwealth, and the best hotel-bar bartending in the city, in my view); Oak Bar (Fairmont Copley Plaza), the Bristol or the small upstairs bar at Aujourd'hui (Four Seasons), the Bar at the Taj (fka the old Ritz-Carlton), the Rowes Wharf Bar (tucked away in a second-floor corner of the Boston Harbor), Mooo.... (XV Beacon), Bar 10 (Westin Copley), City-Bar (Lenox), the tiny bar at the Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro, the bar at Rialto (Charles), the bar at Scampo and, on weekdays only, Alibi (Liberty), M Bar (Mandarin Oriental).

                          I had some okay drinks at the little lounge in the Charlesmark Hotel across from the Boston Public Library. I have yet to try the remodeled lounge at the Copley Square (did they still decide to name it XHALE?) The Last Hurrah has some historical charm and decent drinks. The bartending at Bonfire (Park Plaza) seems to have gotten better recently.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            Joanie RE: MC Slim JB Jan 13, 2009 10:13 AM

                            The Copley place is called Mini Bar I think. Saw it on TV Diner last Sat.

                            1. re: Joanie
                              MC Slim JB RE: Joanie Jan 13, 2009 10:36 AM

                              Mini Bar is right, now that you mention it; it's gotten some reviews here already.

                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                              Harp00n RE: MC Slim JB Jan 13, 2009 10:26 AM

                              Great list and your liver is my hero, MC Slim JB :-)


                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                taxi RE: MC Slim JB Jan 15, 2009 01:41 PM

                                What a list from all of you, especially MC Slim. thanks so much. I want to be you (MC) in my next life... You definitely have the joie de vivre going on. Love it...

                                1. re: MC Slim JB
                                  Bob MacAdoo RE: MC Slim JB Jan 15, 2009 06:18 PM

                                  Good mention on the Last Hurrah. Very underrated. I also favor the Bristol and ESK, but the Hurrah is alwats good for a strong pour, warm bar nuts, and raffish charm.

                                  1. re: Bob MacAdoo
                                    Harp00n RE: Bob MacAdoo Jan 16, 2009 06:43 AM

                                    Although I've been to the Parker House many times, never been in their Frank Skeffington named watering hole. But "raffish charm" seems to make that a must do. :-)


                                    Last Hurrah Restaurant
                                    60 School St, Boston, MA 02108

                                    1. re: Harp00n
                                      MC Slim JB RE: Harp00n Jan 16, 2009 07:46 AM

                                      Some solid, really old-school guys behind the stick there (the term Runyonesque comes to mind); just don't expect house-made grenadine, or them to know what Fernet-Branca is (they don't stock it).

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                        Harp00n RE: MC Slim JB Jan 16, 2009 09:27 AM

                                        Thanks MC, I think that I'd actually be a little disappointed if they did :-)


                                2. b
                                  BackBayGirl RE: taxi Jan 13, 2009 08:15 PM

                                  While not on the level of say the Four Seasons, Cuffs at the Jury's Hotel is a fun place. The drinks are reasonable and the atmosphere is nice, at least I think so. The Charlesmark isn't bad either. It's small, but an intimate place to grab a drink and chat.

                                  1. eLizard RE: taxi Jan 16, 2009 08:06 AM

                                    Not exactly lounge-y, but the cocktails at Brasserie Jo at the Colonade Hotel are top notch.

                                    1. s
                                      SSqwerty RE: taxi Jan 28, 2009 01:23 PM

                                      I've always liked the bar at Great Bay. Cocktails are mostly n the $9-13 range, nicely made and a decent size. Wine goes for $10-12 a glass unless you want champagne. And on certain late afternoons/early evenings they run a $1 hors d'oevres special --you'd have to call and inquire. They're really wonderful and more or less sushi based.

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