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best fun bar for college chums to gather around the holidays. note: we graduated in 1985

We are getting together a group of college pals around the holidays and are looking for a low key, non touristy but fun bar downtown, Back Bay or South End. Can't be too loud, or too crowded. Trying to go for a fun bar atmosphere and avoid getting stuck at the "long table". Suggestions? Thursday December 27.

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  1. How big a group? (Also I don't understand what you mean about getting stuck at the long table.)

    1 Reply
    1. The # of people does matter but some that come to mind are Gallows, Union, Estragon, South End Foley's, Marliave.

      1. "Chums" made me smile... :)

        1. I'm having a bit of a chuckle trying to imagine an un-crowded fun bar atmosphere you can bring your crowd to.

          1. "Long table" means not everyone sitting at one long table.
            Group size - 12ish I hope.
            I like the sound of "chums" too.
            Lively bar - great! Large crowd and jockeying to get a beer - not great.
            Do-able, yes?! Thanks

            1 Reply
            1. re: scorcoran

              I stand by my recs, actually am the only one who gave a recommendation. A couple others might be Audobon by Kenmore Sq., West on Centre in West Rox, Hops n Scotch in Coolidge Corner.

            2. Assuming it's in the evening, Marliave is a great rec downtown. Eastern Standard is large and lively but might get too crowded - you also might be able to make a reservation and get a nice space for what you are describing at The Hawthorne next to Eastern Standard.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rlh

                rlh, you took the words right out of my mouth!

                Marliave is fantastic, and they can be very flexible with their space (e.g., cornering off a "mingling space" with a few tables for your group). Wonderful food and cocktails.

                Eastern Standard can be similarly flexible with their space. I like the food and drink slightly better at Marliave though.

                And yes, the Hawthorne next door can get crowded on weekend nights on the later side, but is a really cool and flexible space with comfy couches, and they share the kitchen with Eastern Standard so the whole ES menu is available.

                Finally, Silvertone has a multi-part dining room which can work really well for small groups. Plus, their cocktails are delicious and strong, and their mac and cheese is decadent (but served with a big side salad, so it's healthy, right?).

                1. re: knclouse

                  Had to say here that The Hawthorne doesn't share a kitchen with Eastern Standard, and the ES menu is not available at The Hawthorne. This was confirmed by the folks at The Hawthorne last night.

                  1. re: kimfair1

                    That's strange. I was at the Hawthorne in November and my whole table ordered dinner off of the ES menu. We didn't even ask about ordering ES food, our server brought up the idea herself and brought over ES menus. Maybe it depends on which server you have at your table or something.

              2. Read this review in the Metro recently and was reminded of this thread: Daddy Jones is a new bar in Magoun Square, Somerville that manages to serve Greek food and 'craft' versions of 1980s drinks(along with 1980s sitcoms)


                My own college pals do this around the holidays and we might check it out ourselves. If anyone has been, report back.

                Daddy Jones
                525 Medford St.

                1 Reply
                1. re: latertater

                  Actually tried to drop in here on Monday night only to find they are closed on Mondays!

                2. Lucky's Lounge in Fort Point