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May 19, 2011 12:12 PM

Any nice bars within walking distance of Hamersley's Bisto?

My wife and I are going to dinner at Hamersley's Bistro, but we're arriving about an hour early, and I don't know the neighborhood at all. (Never been there.)

Are there any good/nice places within reasonable walking distance where we could kill some time before dinner?

Ideally a fancy wine bar.

I'm coming from Back Bay, so the alternative is to have a drink someplace there first, but I'd rather not change locations unless I have to.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Hamersley's Bistro
553 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. I actually enjoy the bar at Hammersley's itself. Kinda slips below the radar with the other hotspots around.

    For very nice wine, see if you can snag a spot at B&G Oysters' bar. Also the tiny bar at Aquitaine right down the street does excellent cocktails and wine so if you can squeeze in there that would be a good option.

    1. The South End doesn't really have any straight-up bars. Mostly restaurants with crammed, tiny bars up front. You might get lucky at the Beehive, which is right next door. Franklin Cafe has a nicer than average bar, but it can get very crowded- especially on the weekends (it's down a block on Shawmut). Sister Sorel, an actual bar, is down the street on Tremont, next door to their sister restaurant Tremont647.

      1. Depending on the night and time, many South End establishments are likely to be crowded, so you might end up standing in a crowded space. But there are enough places close by that you might walk around a bit and see where there's some room. Some options:

        Hamersley's itself -- nice little bar with some tables. Decent BTG selection, albeit pricey.

        The Butcher Shop -- probably the most wine-centric place nearby, but it's always crowded and the markup on the wines can be breathtaking. Just across the street.

        Pops -- a nice little bar with some modest wines, not the most spacious place, but right across the street.

        Aquitaine -- another small restaurant bar that is often jammed, but a decent wine program. A block away.

        Stephi's on Tremont -- a bit larger and more spacious; okay wines BTG. A little over a block away.

        South End Buttery -- off the radar, a pleasant small restaurant bar. Two blocks away.

        Union -- a handsome, slighty larger restaurant bar, okay wines BTG. Three long blocks away.

        Sibling Rivaly -- not my favorite, but it's good sized and perhaps likelier to have available seating; very close by in the BCA complex.

        The Beehive -- often a line to get in on weekends, but if not, it's a very atmospheric option for a drink, with live music later in the evening, and it's right next door.

        South End Buttery
        314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

        Tremont Cafe
        418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

        1. Coppa on Shawmut Ave is another option, although the bar itself is usally filled with diners. 28 Degrees makes a good martini and has a patio.

          28 Degrees
          1 Appleton St., Boston, MA 02116

          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

          1. Thanks for the suggestions!

            By "early", I meant that we're getting there before Hamersley's opens, so that's why I'll have some time to kill elsewhere.

            I checked out B&G Oysters, and that looks ideal. I can have a few oysters and some wine.