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Sep 9, 2009 07:32 AM

Restaurants with best bar scenes?

I've decided it is next to impossible to find a good bar in Boston so I've come to realize that the you simply have to find restaurants with solid bars. To that end, what do you think are the best restaurant bar scenes in Boston? I know Cambridge has a lot but I'd like to keep this list in the Boston proper area. Also, I know about the obvious: Eastern Standard, Beehive, Liberty Hotel restaurants etc...looking for less obvious suggestions. Are there any?

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  1. I actually really like the bar at K.O. Prime. It is a small bar area but the drinks are served well and the bartenders are always friendly.

    1. everybody has a different definition of "best" and i'm not really keen on places that define themselves as having a "scene". i think of cougars and drunk investment guys, being loud and showing off. a "scene" certainly doesn't always equate to great drinks or people i want to meet.

      maybe you could explain your parameters a bit?

      in my head, the beehive has very mediocre cocktail making, but i love the space. the self-consciousness of the patrons makes my teeth itch.

      the lobby bar at the liberty went from cool to tired in about a second, and even when the place is empty during the day, many of the bartenders seem clueless.

      i love esk, but when it's crowded and crazy and full of bridge & tunnel folks slurping cosmos, i stay miles away.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        I would agree with you which is why I said I was looking for less obvious suggestions such as those three bar scenes. I would like to find a place you can go after dinner and not feel like they are ready for you to leave by 11:45. Good beer/wine list, music and vibe are really the main parameters. I agree with the cougars/investment guys comment and would like to avoid that as well as the college kids/drunk gel heads such as you find up and down Boylston. Thanks!

        1. re: ced9

          Ah, okay.

          In that case, I'd look at Eastern Standard on non-game weekday nights, The Marliave, Deep Ellum, Silvertone, Publick House, and Other Side Cafe.

      2. Decent in-restaurant bars that fit your criteria and have not yet been mentioned: The Marliave, Mistral, Prezza, Sensing, Toro, and Troquet (for wine).

        Of these, my favorites are The Marliave and Prezza.

        Also, in Brookline, if that counts: Deep Ellum and The Publick House.

        But it is hard to answer your question without a clearer view of what you want. Why can't you find a good bar? I feel we have a lot of good bars in this city, even if we somewhat-arbitrarily limit it to just Boston proper, ignoring Cambridge. What are you looking for? Cocktails, beer, or wine? Et cetera.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rlove

          I second Deep Ellum, though it is in Boston (Allston to be specific).

          Despite being at student ground zero it tends to attract a diverse crowd in terms of both age and background. Great cocktails and beer list and decent food. Small, but nice, back patio while the weather is still warm.

          1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

            Yes, of course, Allston--silly me.

            I agree with how Deep Ellum attracts a diverse crowd despite the potential for student overrun. Publick House is the same way, although it is probably a bit worse come student season.

        2. Are we in the same city?

          Granted, most of these are Bar/Restaurants but this list is without really trying and leaving out all the great places in Cambridge and Somerville:

          -Franklin Cafe
          -Good Life
          -Sonsie (not my bag, but hey)
          -29 Newbury
          - Eastern Standard
          - Gaslight
          - Union
          - Banq (about to undergo a minor refurb)
          - Toro
          - The general North Station and financial distric nexii of youngster bars
          - The various places around the Rowe's Wharf Hotel
          - The Sevens
          - The Hill Tavern
          - Harvard Gardens (mellow but I like it sometimes)
          - Faneuil Hall (again not my bag but)
          - Houston's in Faneuil Hall (sort of not my bag but...)
          -Kingston Station

          4 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            I've been to most on the list and agree with Franklin Cafe, Eastern Standard, the Wine Room at Sonsie, Union, Toro and Banq being great...will have to check out Gaslight and Silvertone. Thanks for the list.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              nice list.

              restaurants, but with big and separate bars:

              i'm also a fan of steakhouse bars, either early or later, when most of the suits are still in the office or gone home, especially capital, morton's and grill 23. bartending is usually by lifers, they're efficient and the drinks are always huge.

              my other guilty pleasure is hotel bars, especially at the taj, the "new" ritz and rowe's wharf. although rhumba totally sucks.

              had a great time at the upstairs bar at rocca on saturday. bartender went above and beyond and it was way less frantic than the main bar below.

              while it can be hit-or-miss for food, the bar manager at kingfish, vinique, is terrific and they have a well-crafted cocktail list.

              1. Its been mentioned several times in recent threads for having tasty food which I havent tried, but as bar alone the Corner Bar in back bay is a pretty good time without being a "scene" in my opinion. The few times Ive been in I havent been irritated by the clientele and have enjoyed the experience.

                I think its tough to recommend bars though because everyone's idea of a good 'scene' is different....

                1 Reply
                1. re: fmcoxe6188

                  Very true and I love the Corner Tavern as well...