21st birthday for our twin girls
Many good suggestions on this thread but i really hope you will disregard Clio. After three strikes over that many years, we decided it was all hype and exotic ingredients scattered on plates with no great structure to integrate and support them. And a very awkward, loud and unappealing dining room.
Of Island Creek Oyster Bar's many attributes, it is a very impressive room and the service and welcome are warm and top notch. One DOES feel special there! so it's great for celebrations.
you, 15+ years worth of diners and the james beard foundation can agree to disagree then about clio. ;)
the answer to this op really depends on the girls though. at 21 i would have found clio very stuffy and would not have wanted to spend 4 hours with my parents over a tasting menu. places like mistral and l'espalier would seem full of "old people".
i would have been much happier some place like island creek or neptune drinking champagne that was outside my budget.
Max Brenner! Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. (But don't worry, they serve actual food too.)
Max Brenner is a regular pick amongst my Northeastern friends and I for birthday get-togethers. In fact, I had my 20th-birthday gathering there last year, and I'm going to do it again next month when I turn 21. It is right near Copley on Boylston Street.
I don't drink alcohol but my friends who do like Max Brenner a lot. Apparently Max Brenner has a drink called a "White Russian," made with white chocolate? It's supposedly very popular.
Best wishes for the birthday festivities!
Comes down to knowing your kids. To me the whole idea of eating out is about having fun. I don't find places like Mistral, L'Espalier, Clio etc. to be fun. Fine food for sure. I just don't think they're fun, which is what a 21st birthday should be. I tend to think most folks in the younger generations follow this line of thinking, but you know your kids best.
How about something like Eastern Standard for pre-dinner drinks > meal at Island Creek > after dinner at The Hawthorne? Or the same thing in Fort Point with some combo of Sportello, Drink, Tavern Road, Blue Dragon? I loathe the Seaport, but yes you could also do a similar crawl with floors 1 or 3 at Legal Harborside, Temazcal, Rosa Mexicana etc.
I'll ditto the waterfront suggestion - Drink would also be a fun pre- or post-dinner option for people who are just learning about good drinks. It does get a line later at night though.
If you're looking to stay in Copley, both Lolita and Salty Pig have pretty fun vibes, but there are fewer options for after dinner.
This question comes up here periodically. I guess I am wondering - have you enjoyed adult beverages with them prior to this? Do they enjoy wine with dinner? Beer? Will they order cocktails?
I had been drinking wine with my folks for years before I tuned 21 so it was not that big a deal, and a good restaurant was appreciated on my birthday. To that end, what do they like to eat?
I like the idea of going somewhere on the classy end- they'll have plenty of opportunities to crawl dive bars with college friends (i presume). l'espalier might be a bit too long, and not diverse in terms of drink, though certainly a classy way to get legal alcohol.
I think drinks and food from clio, or uni (with the same bar menu) is a great rec.
for proximity's sake, some other dinner--> drinks suggestions:
island creek oyster followed by the hawthorne. good food, both bar menus curated by the same stellar team. eastern standard would work as a folowup as well (all three are in the same group/area), but the hawthorne is the one they're less likely to make it back to on their own dime.
sportello, or tavern road, followed by Drink, would be another great 21st combo. haven't been to sportello myself, but tavern road, while a bit hit or miss, has some excellent small plates/charcuterie that have a good fat content to keep you steady (for a revelrous evening), their own bar menu is quite slick (including a fun 'from friends' section with drinks from bartenders from other spots/cities), and its also close by to Drink.
of course, for *real* proximity and class, you could start the night with good steaks, fanciful sides, and excellent classic cocktails at bogie's place, and then migrate to the outside, at jm curley, for even more inventive, delicious drinks, and, if you're somehow still hungry, as i always am after a few drinks, great bar food to keep the night going (pickled deviled eggs, i'm looking at you).
i'm not sure where your daughters are in town, but if *they* are in the cambridge area, another great combo would be the recently opened bronwyn for eastern european food (and cocktails, or beer) followed by backbar, a slinky joint that has a pretty deep range of drinks if you ask, and a whole lot of housemade ingredients to put in them (i once had a great manhattan variant there with a housemade mushroom tincture...).
bear in mind some of these places don't take reservations, develop waits, etc. But always happy to provide more info if you're curious.
Is alcohol part of the events? 21 usually invokes the right to legally purchase a drink. My twins turned 21 in June, we took them to the waterfront and walked along the water/ boardwalk, it abuts Legal, Temezcal, Jerry Remy's etc. we ate outdoors at Legal then went to Temezcal and sampled a couple of tequila's just for fun. They really enjoyed the vibe at Temezcal, the tequila was a fun experiment .