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App & Ales tour of Boston- Tell me your best bites and drinks!!

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Hey y'all,

Two Southern girls headed to Boston in September. We've not booked our hotel yet, but will likely stay in the Copley Square area. I think our plan is going to do an apps & ales tour, rather than a standard dinner on Saturday night. We would like to plan 4-5 stops, where we can get great drinks and appetizers/small plates. If it is all walkable, that is great, but if we have to do so cabs or whatnot, that is fine. Bonus points if final destination lands us near a good place to go out for 20s-30s.

I realize it might be harder to advise without a home base, but your recs will greatly influence where we stay.

Thanks in advance! Can't wait to spend the weekend in your city!

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  1. I just wrote a Best of Chowhound post about this subject: http://www.chow.com/digest/120187/bos...

    And this slightly older Best of Chowhound post highlights some great options too: http://www.chow.com/digest/93045/mapp...

    Hope this is a good start. And staying in Copley Square will be fine even if you end up in Cambridge....quick taxi ride across the bridge if you don't want to walk.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dave MP

      or take the red line - via the green line.

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        if you do make it over to Harvard Square, try the grilled prime rib knuckles w/ romesco and the lambs belly toast at Russell House tavern (downstairs bar preferable) with a Scottish Play or Sacrilege cocktail.

        1. re: barleywino

          Also noteworthy at Russell House is that crispy poached egg. I think their bar is pretty good too - they generally have a good beer list (I've even had Brooklyn Black Ops there, granted it was at $50/bottle) and their drinks are typically pretty good.

    2. Here are a few suggestions in the Kenmore Square, Fenway area.

      It's always good to start with something that will give you a good base for the night.

      http://www.sweetcheeksq.com/

      Try Sweet Cheeks Q salt and pepper potatoes ( massive serving so share) and their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.

      Eastern Standard will have some great beers on tap and is known for their craft cocktail program

      http://easternstandardboston.com/ Go with the daily charcuterie selection.

      Next up go next door to Island Creek Oyster Bar. Another craft cocktail place.
      http://islandcreekoysterbar.com/

      Here you can have oysters and seafood selections. Try the Oyster slider and the fried clams.

      Nearby is the Lower Depths with a massive beer list.
      http://thelowerdepths.com/

      There I like the pretzels and when they have them jalapeno poppers. The even have $1 fenway franks.

      I'm sure there are others here who can tell you about the places to go in the Fenway for the 20-30s scene.

      Penny
      http://www.bostonzest.com/

      Have fun!

      6 Replies
      1. re: BostonZest

        Yes. Do this. In this order.

        When you say "a good place to go out for 20s-30," are you looking for a scene-type bar with cocktails? Dancing? Pub?

        1. re: chevrelove

          Thanks so much for all of these suggestions! Can't wait to eat and drink through Boston. By place to go out for 20s-30s, I mean a place that will have that age group. Our preference would be somewhere that plays great music or bonus for live music! Not a club, though.

        2. re: BostonZest

          Great list for Kenmore/Fenway. The only tweak I might suggest: After Sweet Cheeks, head to Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar before going to Eastern Standard. Solid cocktails, small-but-good selection of oysters and snacks, decent beer list, cool space, and an extensive whiskey list.
          http://www.citizenpub.com/

          1. re: BostonZest

            FYI it isn't "their" Kentucky bourbon barrel beer. It's widely distributed and IMO is a fairly mediocre example of a barrel aged beer (83 score on beer advocate, so I'm not the only one who thinks this)

            1. re: jgg13

              +1 on the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel being fairly average... Just had a glass of the Mystic Saison Asterisk last week at Mead Hall. It's a Saison aged in bourbon barrels. It was pretty fantastic.

              1. re: mkfisher

                I think "fairly average" is better phrasing than my "mediocre", as too many people read the latter to mean "poor". I've taken to referring to it as the "budweiser of barrel aged beers" - it is relatively (compared to other bbl beers) mild and inoffensive.

                Also, while in the beer nerd world the whole barrel aging thing has become so ubiquitous to perhaps be bordering on passe - we have to remember that it is still a novel concept to the mainstream public. IMO kentucky bourbon barrel makes for a good gateway drug into the world of barrel aged beers. That said, constantly hearing said people rave about the novelty of this "unique" beer is starting to grate on me a bit :)

          2. If beer is your thing you could also hit up Bukowskis, a small divey bar a short walk from Copley with a pretty solid beer list and bar food.

            http://bukowskitavern.net/boston/curr...

            2 Replies
            1. re: phatchris

              Les Zygomates for live jazz and good French food - near South Station - Wally's for good live music, on Mass Ave.

              1. re: phatchris

                Just be aware that they're cash only if you do go. The Bukowski empire (including Lower Depths) can have prices that border on the absurd, but they do have good selections and if one views the food in the category that it should be viewed in (ie standard bar food) it is pretty decent.

              2. Don't go to Bukowski's or Lower Depths for beer! Terribly over priced! The best beer list in Boston is at Lord Hobo in Cambridge. Go there--then go to Atwoods Tavern for another good and more affordable beer list. If you can fit it in timewise, go to Area 4 for local drafts and amazing pizza. Then go to Central Square for a cocktail or 2 at Brick and Mortar. Then lastly go to Zuzu's after 11 pm for dancing with 20-30 year olds.

                7 Replies
                1. re: David_A

                  Except for the last sentence (I have zero desire to dance or go to places where people are dancing) that sounds a lot like many a night that I've had.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    That was based on what the OP was looking for at the end of the night. I agree with you. I have had my nights where I have ended up at Zuzus though.

                    1. re: David_A

                      I know - it just wasn't part of any night have :)

                      1. re: David_A

                        I agree Bukowskis is vastly overpriced, but when you factor in a cab from back bay to Lord Hobo or Atwoods, or taking the T to that area (either a good walk or train +bus) I think a dollar or two extra for a beer comes out on the plus side. They would probably be better off hopping on the green line to either the Publick House or Deep Ellum at that point.

                    2. re: David_A

                      After Atwoods you could also stop by Midwest Grill for a caipirinha (they did used to have Buzzards Bay BC beer, but changed it out) and as desired one of their bar plates (chopped beef churrasco, chicken hearts, or sausage with fried yuca)... and even the bar at Portugalia perhaps for Ginja (a Portuguese cherry liqueur) where they have some of the better "rissois de camarao" (shrimp paste croquettes) in town and decent salt cod cakes. If you go for the caipirinha see if they have "velho barreiro" which is an industrial cachaca, but better than the most common 51 or Pitu and more appropriate than "premium" neutral spirits "triple distilled" etc. These aren't place for fancy cocktails or craft beers (portuguese grappa and sagres a pilsner made with adjuncts is another Portugalia possibility).

                      1. re: itaunas

                        Ituanas - in terms of the local Brazilian joints, which would you say have good caipirinhas? (as opposed to craft cocktail type places)?

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I don't have a lot of recent data points and something important is most Brazilian restaurants only have beer/wine licenses including somewhere like Muqueca. (That hasn't stopped a few, which might be under a cordials license, but even so would be a gray area. Translation: not telling.) Sav Mor is a good resource for cachaca and Martin Brothers is decent too, to make your own.

                          Samba Bar which you are familiar with is pretty consistent overall and at least in the past had pretty good overall porcoes. Incidentally they started as "Bar Brasil" in what is now Bearded Pig and there they usually had Velho Barreiro, but its been less consistent in the larger space (former Club III). Oliveira's (of East Boston, not Everett) just reopened Cafe Belo and I would hope they obtained a full liquor license but am not certain. That was the best live listening music and caipirinha scene for a while (51 only) although the Everett Oliveira's (nephew or cousin) is more family oriented. Braza Bar and Grill took over the Everett Cafe Belo and has been putting on some of the music that both Belos did before so is a reasonable burb suggestion, but I have only looked at it for chow. Red Pepper in Framingham kept the same promoters of Brazilian nights upstairs (at least through last year) and always had reasonable caipirinhas, but is a club only scene. I think any of these along with Midwest and Rodeo you will get a strong caipirinha made with not so nice cachaca which is fine. For those that truely want a "smooth" caipririnha, you can always order a "caipivodka" and usually there are a lot more choices in spirits there.