HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


looking for South shore restaurant with a fun bar

Hi Folks,
Long time lurker first time poster, I am looking for a south shore restaurant with a fun bar for my birthday dinner with two girlfriends next Saturday night. Looking primarily for a place in Quincy, Brantree, Hingham, Weymouth, area. Two of us are coming from the North shore (our passports are ready!:) and the other lives in Quincy and works in Scituate (which is where she will be coming from Saturday evening). So she is coming from south to north, relatively speaking so we don't want to go further south than Hingham.

We like steak, seafood, Mexican, Italian. Good Martinis too but other cockals are fine. We want a place where we can hang out at a fun bar for a drink first, have dinner at a table and then maybe go back to the bar afterwards. Dining out is a big part of what we enjoy on a regular basis so we like "good" food.

I've been reading this board for quite awhile and culled my list from some of your more frequent recommendations, but don't know if any have a "fun bar".

My list includes:
El Serape Braintree
Spazio Braintree
Sintra Braintree
Tosca Hingham
Stars Hingham
Rustic Kitchen Hingham
Burton’s Grill Hingham
Scarlet Oak Tavern Hingham
Alma Nove Hingham
Abby Park Milton
Trattoria San Pietro Norwell
Orta Pembroke
Gennaro Quincy
Fat Cat Quincy
Tavern at Quarry Hills Quincy (Granite Links Golf Course)
Ecco Trattoria - Weymouth
Peppercornz Weymouth

Any input on the food and or bar area on these or any other suggestions in our preferred locations or thereabouts would be a great help.

Thanks so much!

Fat Cat
24 Chestnut St, Quincy, MA 02169

906 Washington St, Braintree, MA 02184

Trattoria San Pietro
376 Washington St., Norwell, MA 02061

Ecco Trattoria
1169 Main St, Weymouth, MA 02190

Rustic Kitchen
94 Derby St, Hingham, MA 02043

Scarlet Oak Tavern
1217 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043

200 Quincy Ave, Braintree, MA 02184

1037 Main St, Weymouth, MA 02190

Abby Park
550 Adams Street, Milton, MA 02186

Orta Restaurant
75 Washington St, Pembroke, MA 02359

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Given your criteria, I would suggest:
    - Tosca (probably the best combination of food and bar, with prices to match); could consider Trattoria Alba across the street too
    - Burton's (it's a chain, but has good food and good bar)
    - Scarlet Oak
    - Add to list - Alba (Quincy)

    Other reactions:
    - Alma Nove probably fits the bill, but I haven't been - so I can't vouch for it.
    - El Serape Braintree (Good food w/ bar, but might not be a "special dinner" spot)
    - Fat Cat - bar is only good if you are sitting at it, and it's unlikely you can get seats at the bar both before and after dinner. Plus they don't do reservations.
    - Sintra is good, but a bit sleepy I'd say. Not a lively bar scene.
    - Gennaro's does not have a bar (I don't think) - it's a casual spot
    - I don't particularly care for Spazzio
    - Pembroke, Norwell and maybe even your weymouth options are further out of the way than Hingham, if you have someone coming from Scituate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goose

      Cafe tosca is across the street from Tosca...not Trattoria Alba, which was in Quincy and no longer exists. my mistake.

    2. Gennaro does not have a bar. The Tavern at the Quarry, only good for a drink and the view.

      1. That's quite a list so let's see if we can narrow it down:
        Tavern at Quarry Hills is a nice spot for drinks & apps; food isn't anything special
        Fat Cat has great food (lobster mac & cheese; crabcakes; ribs) but it's very popular and there is most likely going to be a wait.
        Scarlet Oak Tavern; Love the bar in cold weather for drinks only; food IMHO is yuk
        Cafe Tosca across from Tosca; nice bar; small menu with good pizza; lobster mac & cheese; great bartending and more casual than tosca
        Abby Park has a nice bar; great bartending, favorites shrimp/calamari miso and oysters; this place seems to run hot and cold; not well loved on this board; but I've had good luck
        Albas in Quincy would be a good choice;
        DiNeros in Cohaset has a wonderful large, lively bar with good food
        Gennaros does not have a bar; food is good, but expect to be rushed, no lingering here.
        Snug in Hingham, good Irish pub; small bar but you can hang out at the tables
        Lastly, I absolutely love Port 305 at Marina Bay with it's ocean views; fried clams, lobster sliders, lobster mac & cheese ....

        Fat Cat
        24 Chestnut St, Quincy, MA 02169

        Scarlet Oak Tavern
        1217 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043

        Abby Park
        550 Adams Street, Milton, MA 02186

        Port 305
        305 Victory Rd, Quincy, MA 02171

        4 Replies
        1. re: Pegmeister


          I'm not sure if you've been to Scarlet Oak Tavern lately, but they have a new chef (Stephen Sherman, formerly of Union Bar & Grill) who has revamped the menu. Might be worth another shot.

          To answer the OP's question: From the list you provided, I would say that Scarlet Oak and Alma Nove would fit the bill best.

          Scarlet Oak Tavern
          1217 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043

          1. re: beb31

            Thank you for that update. It was last winter that I was there for food and once since then just for drinks. I would love to see that the food had improved so will give it another shot. I really wanted that scallop pizza to be good but the scallops were so huge that it just overpowered the whole pizza.

            1. re: beb31

              I haven't had too much luck there myself. Nothing terrible but nothing great either. I'd like to hear about some of the changes.

              That said, I would actually recommend The Oak to the OP based on it's proximity to rt.3 and the large, lively bar that you MAY be able to get seats at after dinner. If you consider it a steak house, lower end not G23/Capital/Mortens etc, then you probably won't be disappointed. Unless beb31 says they've changed from that concept a bit.

              1. re: T.Clark

                I was at Scarlet Oak last week. They are doing some things a little different but it's not a big change or one that you'd readily see.

                But I'm not 100% sure becuase I only ever get the Steak Frites. Those Rosemary Truffle fries are great. There were some new seafood offerings I don't remember seeing previously.

                The bar is always crowded when I'm there and there are typically groups of people conversing- it's a nice upscale tavern atmosphere. I think it's a good choice for the OP- seems to fit a lot of the criteria... large bar, lots of people, totally separate dinning room and decent food.

          2. For your situation I would highly recommend Alba in Quincy center. Very good bar, Very good food and interesting wine list. This bar works for before and after dinner.

            1. One of my favorite places for a bite to eat then a drink is The Snug in Hingham (which was mentioned by Pegmeister). Good comfort food, cozy atmosphere, an attractive little bar area with decent bartenders, and sometimes they have live music.

              1. I really enjoy HOLA in Marshfield for great tapas and a pleasant bar scene.

                2 Replies
                1. re: drewinmrblhd

                  I like Hola too and agree they have a pleasant, albeit very small, bar that can be hard to get a seat early in the evening. They originally were B&W only but have since gone all alcohol. Nice selection of inexpensive wines. The outdoor patio is great as well. I heard they also expanded to the space next-door fairly recently but I have'nt been in a few months so I can't speak first hand. The only knock on them, and it's a small one because the food is very good, is that it's more of a small plates place and less actual tapas in the trditional sense.

                  1. re: T.Clark

                    They did expand a couple of months ago I think. I love this place. The bar is lively and the wine selections are really nice and generally inexpensive. They had a fried tempura like green been plate that was fabulous. I agree that it is not necessarilly traditional Spanish tapas but the small plates are extremely interesting and very tasty. Did I mention that I love this place-wish it wasn't so far away!

                2. Thanks to all for your help. We decided on Scarlet Oak Tavern. Looking forwrd to it. Will post my thoughts when I return.

                  Thanks again all - this is a great community.

                  Scarlet Oak Tavern
                  1217 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043

                  1. I know you've already decided, but I wanted to mention "The Tinker's Son" in Norwell for future endeavors.
                    It was the first place I thought of when you mentioned a "fun" bar.
                    The crowd and the waitstaff are as welcoming as any I can recall in the area. There isoften live music, and they have a great Sunday brunch.
                    Great coffee drinks...my favorite on a cold and windy night.
                    I like the bar at Scarlet Oaks Tavern. Have fun.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dmullin699

                      Maybe The Tinkers Son a has a fun bar with live entertainment (last time I was there it was open mic night for teens) but the food, on several occasions, was just not good at all. I was really surprised at the low quality considering the chef from Bia in Cohasset, a place I like, is behind it. Did I just have a streak of bad luck or poor choices?

                      1. re: T.Clark

                        Just plain bad luck, IMO. Tinker's, IMO, has better pub food than most of the other pubs aroundhere. It's not great-great-great, but it definitely overall better than average.

                    2. My two friends and I celebrated my birthday last night at Scarlet Oak Tavern. We were quite pleased with our choice.

                      We planned to meet at 5:30 at the bar to have a chance to have a drink at the bar and chat. We had reservations for 6:30pm.

                      We arrived at 5:45 and found a place to stand near the bar. Service was prompt and the drinks were good. We were immersed in conversation when I realized it was 6:30 and we should check in with the hostess.

                      We made our way to the hostess stand and introduced ourselves. We were told they were waiting for 3 tables to clear and it would be a few more minutes. It was a busy Saturday night and we had nowhere else to go so it wasn't a big deal. They gave us a buzzer and we went back to our perch at the bar and continued talking. At 6:55pm it dawned on me we were still waiting. I went back to the hostess stand and was told people were not leaving and they did not know how long it would be and that was it. Back to the bar.

                      We chatted a few more minutes, by now it was 7:05 and we were all starving. I said we could eat at the bar. But my friends said it was my night, my choice. I really wanted a table so I said we would hang on. If we had known we would be waiting more than 30 minutes past our time, we would have ordered appetizers and more drinks. But we kept thinking we would be seated at any moment.

                      Finally at about 7:10 a hostess came over and apologized for the long wait and said since we had to keep waiting we could order a couple of appetizers on the house to tide us over and they would bring them right out.

                      We ordered onion rings and the bleu cheese crap dip, and another round of drinks. They brought them out less then 5 minutes later and within 5 minutes after that we were seated at a table, and they brought the appetizers with us.

                      That was the only glitch.

                      Once seated, our server was prompt. Food was delicious, I had the NY sirloin medium with a baked potato and side of squash, and bearnaise sauce. Cooked perfectly and very tasty.

                      Friends had chicken pot pie and shrmp tagliatelle. Both were delicious and they finished off their meals. We had coffee and shared a chocolate torte for dessert. The Torte was very tasty but quite small.

                      We had lots to chat about and spent nearly 4 hours at the table. We were the last to leave. So on the upside they did not rush us out, but on the down side, they clearly don't rush people out or we would have been seated closer to on time, since it seems the earlier tables were also occupied by people who lingered.

                      The bar was fun, food was good, serviice was good, once we got seated. All in all a wonderful evening. The appetizers on the house was the right thing to do and made a less than desirable situation much easier to accept.

                      Botton line, we will go back.

                      Scarlet Oak Tavern
                      1217 Main Street, Hingham, MA 02043

                      Scarlet Oak Tavern
                      1217 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043