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Feb 7, 2012 09:53 PM

Looking for Good Cocktail Bars in Boston

I live in NYC, and when my brother-in-law and his wife visited us a few months ago, we took them to a bar here called Raines Law Room and they loved it. It's one of the "speakeasy" type bars, with a strict door policy that often leads to a long wait but also a lack of crowds once one does get inside. Raines has a sophisticated, even lavish decor, with large comfortable couches. And of course the drinks are great, though expensive.

When we left, they said that they wished there was a place like this in Boston. I'm hoping my fellow Hounds here can help me out. Where are the best places to get a good cocktail? Thanks in advance.

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  1. This is not my arena, and others will prob jump in, but there have been a number of recent threads on this topic. Just do a CH Boston board search.

    under 'craft cocktails':

    1. The Hawthorne in Kenmore Square is just beautiful. Great Cocktails, Little snacks and fantastic space. Island Creek also Makes delicious cocktails as well as Craige on Main.

      1. BackBar in Somerville is probably the most "speakeasy" type and does practice crowd control (you can and should call ahead). Excellent cocktails.

        Did they like the atmosphere more or is their focus more on the drinks?

        1. Another recommendation for The Hawthorne. You described it wonderfully in your query. It is in a lower level at the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square and you feel you've been allowed to enter a private home or club. Service is outstanding. And, if you do have to wait, there are two restaurants with big bars from the same group of owners in the building.

          It is also right at the Kenmore Subway and bus station so you can get there easily without driving.


          The Hawthorne
          500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          1. We do most of our cocktail drinking at either Brick & Mortar in Central Square or Drink in Fort Point. Drink does limit the crowds to a degree. Brick & Mortar, sadly does not. Neither spot is particularly comfortable, as the only seating in both is bar stools.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mkfisher

              I've seen a line out the door at B&M. I haven't figured out if that's a trend or a one-off, but that night was much better in terms of crowding.

              1. re: jgg13

                To be honest I haven't been back since the Bustonian debacle. They may have changed their policy after that happened.

                1. re: mkfisher

                  Haha I forgot that we discussed said debacle already :)

                  I've gone a few more times since then. The most recent time I noticed that it hit a certain level of crowding (more than I'd prefer, but I'm crotchety) and stayed there long after I thought there'd be a slew of people showing up. When we left there was a line being maintained out the door. Like I said - not sure if that's a regular thing or not.

                  Speaking of, based on my very small sample size - it seems like 7:45 is the sweet spot, as a lot of the post-work people are leaving then but the night crowd hasn't shown up yet. Every time I've been there it seems to empty out briefly around then.