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Looking for good Back Bay restaurant with comfortable bar for solo diner

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NapaTJ Feb 28, 2012 09:16 PM

I'm heading to Boston next week and have a couple nights to kill. Staying at the Westin Copley Place and looking for good food but prefer a comfortable bar to sit at since dining solo. Willing to travel a bit if exceptional.

Uni looks interesting and so did a tapas place (name escaping me). Like a "lively" spot but not a scene. If the place has a DJ later in the evening then likely not the spot for me (made that mistake at Butter in NYC once).

Up for any cuisine. Like some of the divey North End Italian spots but those don't strike me as great for solo diners. Appreciate any thoughts.

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    NapaTJ RE: NapaTJ Feb 28, 2012 09:54 PM

    Did a little more research and Uni and Toro look interesting. The Avery Bar or Artisan Bistro makeover at the Ritz sound interesting but kind of a hike from Copley for mixed reviews. The bar at the Taj is a great location but looks like they haven't redone the old furniture since it was a Ritz. Looked like there was a Back Bay pizza place that received good props (basically I'm all over the map and feeling indecisive).

    4 Replies
    1. re: NapaTJ
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      Blumie RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 04:57 AM

      If you don't mind the hefty price tag, Mistral is a great place for a meal at the bar.

      1. re: NapaTJ
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        devilham RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 10:14 AM

        well you said divey North End, so I'll say the obvious, Regina's bar seating is great for solo eating. I get lunch there (close) to once a week or so, and solo it at the bar and always enjoy it. The bartender, Doug, who's usually working when I go is just about the nicest bartender I've met, and really makes me feel at home when I eat there. The nice thing about soloing the bar is it's MUCH easier to get a seat than if you were with a group and trying to get a booth.

        1. re: devilham
          k
          KevinJF RE: devilham Feb 29, 2012 11:47 AM

          Neptune Oyster (not on the weekend) and Prezza are my two favorite solo bar dining spots in the North End. Neither is a dive.

        2. re: NapaTJ
          hotoynoodle RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 01:30 PM

          artisan bistro is meh food for sure.

          the bar at the taj was renovated not long ago and is a super nice spot to have a cocktail.

          close-by is the bristol lounge at the four seasons. very nice bar.

          and in addition to c. hamster's list, i'll add the bar at bistro du midi.

          there is no good pizza in the back bay.

        3. C. Hamster RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 08:35 AM

          From your comments you'll go beyond Back Bay ...

          I am a dedicated bar-eater.

          Close to you:

          Brasserie Jo always has lots of solo diners at the bar for both lunch and dinner.

          Salty Pig

          Mistral

          Haru or Douzo

          Tico (can get pretty loud, depending on time and night of the week)

          A walk to Kenmore:

          Island Creek Oyster Bar

          Eastern Standard

          A quick zip up the Green Line:

          Lineage ($1 oysters on weeknights)

          South End

          Union (though I havent been there for awhile)

          gaslight$1

          Estragon (less of a crowd than Toro plus bar tapas)

          Toro (get there early; it's tiny and is always packed)

          Gallows

          Meyers and Chang

          2 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster
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            Blumie RE: C. Hamster Feb 29, 2012 09:12 AM

            I've also had several good solo bar dinners at Coda.

            1. re: C. Hamster
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              lescaret RE: C. Hamster Feb 29, 2012 12:29 PM

              Brasserie Jo is a great recommendation. The food is consistently good, the drinks too, and the mood is just right for solo dining. Plenty of room, handsome decor. I've eaten there solo on a number of occasions.

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              bmmommy RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 09:28 AM

              Not in Back Bay proper, but a short walk across the Garden to Charles street gets you to my favorite dinner at the bar spot- Beacon Hill Bistro in the Beacon Hill Hotel. Cozy little spot- great menu & drinks, too (especially the pomme frites!).

              2 Replies
              1. re: bmmommy
                C. Hamster RE: bmmommy Feb 29, 2012 10:53 AM

                Ate there for the first time on Sat and it was terrific. The bar is tiny but it is a lovely cozy spot.

                1. re: C. Hamster
                  l
                  lescaret RE: C. Hamster Feb 29, 2012 12:33 PM

                  I'm not sure what NapaTj's criteria for "comfortable" is, but the bar at the Beacon Hill Bistro is really, really small. I would say "cozy" is being generous. If you have a drink, some bread, a salad plate, a dinner plate, and water glass, you're going to be encroaching on those sitting beside you.

                  Which is not to say that the Beacon Hill Bistro isn't a fine place to eat and drink, it is. I just think that eating at the bar would be pretty tight.

              2. c
                CookieLee RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 10:04 AM

                The bar at La Voile on Newbury St. looked inviting when I dined in the restaurant.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CookieLee
                  hotoynoodle RE: CookieLee Feb 29, 2012 01:28 PM

                  i prefer bar-dining and that bar feels extremely cramped. food quite good though and a lovely little space.

                2. bgavin RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 10:11 AM

                  I would not recommend Tico. The bar is too scene-y after work. You don't want folks handing drinks and money over your shoulders while you are eating. And their food is barely past so-so.

                  Salty Pig is a bit different, nice vibe.

                  Pigalle, not to eat at the bar, but OK to have a table on your own.

                  Meyers+Chang -- great bar for eating alone....the one with a view of the kitchen!

                  1. c
                    ColoradoXJ13 RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 10:28 AM

                    Coppa?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ColoradoXJ13
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                      Foodie_BBQ RE: ColoradoXJ13 Mar 8, 2012 05:24 AM

                      I know this is late for the OP, but saw this question and had to comment...

                      I had a wonderful solo bar dinner at Coppa a few weeks back. I sat closest to the kitchen and watched the cold apps prepared in front of me behind the bar. Everyone was very friendly. I was told it would be 45-60 mins (no res), but by the time I finished a beer standing I had been seated. For food I had the oysters w/ cranberry jus, a zesty bulger wheat salad, and gnocchi with lamb ragu. All three were excellent. I ordered a salumi sampler to go, and the chef/owner sliced it himself and described each cut to me before heading back to the kitchen. Highly recommend.

                    2. n
                      NapaTJ RE: NapaTJ Feb 29, 2012 12:52 PM

                      Thanks for the great thoughts. Too bad I'm not in town for a month given all the recs. Always appreciate thoughtful as by "comfortable" agree I kind of like a little room but don't want it to be stuffy or tired. In San Francisco, the St. Regis and Four Seasons have great bars with good food but not too old school (crowd or decor). Hopefully I can repay the favor recs if anyone is out in Napa.

                      1. BostonZest RE: NapaTJ Mar 1, 2012 05:57 AM

                        I'll second hotoynoodle's Bistro du Midi, great warm staff will take excellent care of you as well as Hamster's Island Creek Oyster Bar & Eastern Standard. Island Creek has a dining bar that where you can reserve a seat and no one will be hanging out behind you.

                        I'll add Hamersley's Bistro to the list. Bar dining is what my husband and I love and we always see solos welcomed and engaged at that bar.

                        A quick trip to Central Square Cambridge could have you at Rendezvous Central Square, Central Kitchen or Craige on Main. All wonderful food and all places where an attentive staff will make you welcome.

                        Penny
                        http://www.bostonzest.com/

                        -----
                        Rendezvous
                        502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Eastern Standard
                        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                        Central Kitchen
                        567 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

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

                        Craigie on Main
                        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Bistro du Midi
                        272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                        Island Creek Oyster Bar
                        500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

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