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Restaurants with best bar scenes?

c
ced9 Sep 9, 2009 07:32 AM

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. CreativeFoodie42 RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 07:39 AM

    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. hotoynoodle RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 08:00 AM

      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
        c
        ced9 RE: hotoynoodle Sep 9, 2009 08:07 AM

        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
          rlove RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 08:10 AM

          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. rlove RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 08:05 AM

        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
          c
          Canadian Tuxedo RE: rlove Sep 9, 2009 08:46 AM

          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
            rlove RE: Canadian Tuxedo Sep 9, 2009 09:52 AM

            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. StriperGuy RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 08:18 AM

          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:

          -Silvertone
          -Franklin Cafe
          -Good Life
          -Sonsie (not my bag, but hey)
          -29 Newbury
          -Lucky's
          -Drink
          - 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
            c
            ced9 RE: StriperGuy Sep 9, 2009 08:35 AM

            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
              hotoynoodle RE: StriperGuy Sep 9, 2009 08:57 AM

              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. re: StriperGuy
                m
                mrsx RE: StriperGuy Sep 9, 2009 02:40 PM

                i'd add Audubon as well.

                1. re: mrsx
                  StriperGuy RE: mrsx Sep 9, 2009 03:48 PM

                  Yes, yes, agreed.

              2. fmcoxe6188 RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 08:23 AM

                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
                  c
                  ced9 RE: fmcoxe6188 Sep 9, 2009 08:37 AM

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

                2. e
                  emilief RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 09:43 AM

                  Avila, Davio and Sorellina

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: emilief
                    hotoynoodle RE: emilief Sep 9, 2009 07:11 PM

                    i really dislike the bar at avila, with that low ceiling on the one side, and the decor is very hotel-like.

                    and davio's is totally that cougar and/or old guys with a black amex trolling for 20-somethings scene that creeps me out, not to mention very uneven bartending.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      StriperGuy RE: hotoynoodle Sep 10, 2009 07:20 AM

                      "davio's is totally that cougar and/or old guys with a black amex trolling for 20-somethings scene" Ha ha ha ha, so very true.

                      For more of a similar, but not quite identical crowd see the Bar at the Mandarin Oriental, Abe and Louie's, or Capital Grill.

                  2. t
                    TheScribe RE: ced9 Sep 9, 2009 01:38 PM

                    I like the quirky bar scene over at Cuchi Cuchi. OK, it's Cambridge, but unusual enough to merit a visit.

                    my blog: http://thegeminiweb.com

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: TheScribe
                      StriperGuy RE: TheScribe Sep 9, 2009 03:48 PM

                      Now now, this was Boston only. If we were talking Cambridge there are 20 places I'd put before CC.

                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        c
                        Canadian Tuxedo RE: StriperGuy Sep 9, 2009 06:34 PM

                        Obviously for another thread, but I would take you up on naming those 20....CC is pretty good. There are better pure cocktail places, and definitely better beer selections. But they have had a classic cocktail selection as part of their menu since they opened (long before some other craft cocktail locations around Cambridge or Boston), and it does have a pretty unique vibe. But not part of this conversation...

                        Though I would like to point out to the OP that since depending on where in Boston they work/live, Cambridge is a lot closer than many parts of "Boston proper." So does the orignial specifications mean downtown/Back Bay/South End only, or is Deep Ellum in Allston and places in JP, Mission Hill, etc. in the mix?

                    2. drewinmrblhd RE: ced9 Sep 10, 2009 11:31 AM

                      I have had many good nights at the bar located at the Copley Square hotel. The crowd is always friendly and the bar staff are more than helpful. It's a small space but that adds to the intimate experience. It is a great neighborhood bar for all that live in walking distance.

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