The Best Bars in Boston, MA

The 17 Best Bars in Boston, Massachusetts

When you think about the nightlife in Boston, what comes to mind first? Many people might imagine that Boston’s Irish heritage plays a big role, with Irish pubs galore. And they won’t be wrong. Boston is filled with pubs serving up traditional Irish fare, but there’s so much more to Boston’s bar scene than its pubs!

From swanky, themed clubs with libations you’ve never imagined before to cozy, intimate settings focused on the craft of making classic mixed drinks, Boston is filled with places specializing in all things cocktail. But whether you’re a cocktail lover, a wine connoisseur, or even a sake studier, there’s something in Boston for you. 

With so many places to drink in Boston, you might not know where to start. So, we’ve put together a list of some of the best bars in Boston – from a speakeasy serving up New England traditions to a cocktail bar inspired by the goddess of witchcraft. With this list helping you navigate the best nightlife in Boston, you’re bound to have a fantastic time drinking your way around the City on a Hill!

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The 17 Best Bars in Boston

1. Colette Lounge

Over in the Theater District, you’ll find the Shaking Crab, an unpretentious spot serving up Cajun-style seafood right by the Emerson College dorms. And underneath the Shaking Crab, you’ll now find the Colette Lounge, one of the best lounges in Boston. Although it’s not all that easy to find, it’s worth a visit.

With a tiki bar vibe and New Orleans-inspired drinks, you’ll want to stay for the atmosphere as much as for the libations. Alongside a menu of small bites, you’ll find an eclectic drink menu with specialty cocktails like the Cajun Storm, made with tequila, lime, pineapple, and coconut, and the Down the Rabbit Hole, with rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, and absinthe.

2. Bubble Bath

When you think of champagne, what do you imagine it goes best with? Chocolate? Strawberries? How about hot dogs? Over in Downtown Boston, you’ll find a place that’ll prove to you that hot dogs and champagne are a perfect combination. Bubble Bath is a champagne and wine bar designed to make fun the top priority.

The curated wine list pairs perfectly with the gourmet hot dogs and artisan popcorn this location is serving up. But the real highlight of Bubble Bath and what makes it one of the coolest bars in Boston is the Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine. Purchase a gold coin from Bubble Bath’s Beverage Concierge, put it in the machine, and receive a perfect pour of the good stuff.

3. Wusang Road

Unique Bars in Boston: Wusang Road
Images courtesy of Wusang Road

Over in Cambridge is an upscale tiki bar that turns down the kitsch and turns up the flavor. Wusang Road is a Polynesian-themed bar that is the perfect blend of classy and fun. 

Tucked away in a historic 100-year-old Conductor’s Building on the outskirts of Harvard Square, Wusong Road was designed to marry the beloved Asian American cuisine owner Jason Doo grew up with and the escapism of a tropical getaway.

The menu is filled with the kind of drinks you typically find at tiki bars, like the Zombie, Mai Tai, and Scorpion Bowl. But everything at Wusong is given an elevated twist, with house-made liqueurs making each drink an experience you can only get at Wusong.

4. Farmacia

Must Visit Bars in Boston: Farmacia
Images courtesy of Farmacia

What makes Farmacia one of the best bars in Boston? The fact that it’s not a bar. It’s an experience. When you go to the North End’s Farmacia, you never know what you’re going to get. And that’s all part of the fun!

Once you score a reservation at this coveted cocktail bar, you’ll be led through an 80-minute experience complete with four themed cocktails. Your knowledgeable host will guide you through your tasting, introducing you to new flavors, spirits, and ingredients. 

Everything you drink is handcrafted and comes from the mind of owner Phillip Rolfe, who loves nothing more than sharing his years of experience with inquisitive guests. If you’re a cocktail connoisseur, drinking at Farmacia needs to be on your Boston bucket list.

5. The Tam

Must Visit Bars in Boston: The Tam
Images courtesy of The Tam

You don’t go to The Tam for the drinks. And you probably don’t go to The Tam for the atmosphere. No, you go to The Tam because it’s 1 am, the city of Boston has all but shut down, and you’re looking for one last drink before it’s time to call it a night. The Tam is frequently called one of the greatest dive bars in Boston. 

Many a Boston college student (this writer included) has spent their nights enjoying the rowdy atmosphere of this iconic spot with a beer in hand and friends surrounding them. Keep in mind that this bar truly is a no-frills kind of location. 

The drinks aren’t fancy, there’s no way to charge your credit card, and most of the decoration is just Guinness banners everywhere. But there’s just something about The Tam that makes it the perfect place to end a night in the Theater District!

6. Hecate

Fun Bars in Boston: Hecate
Images courtesy of Hecate

Hecate has quickly become one of the best cocktail bars in Boston. But it’s not for the faint of heart. The fact that it’s named for the (often vengeful) goddess of witchcraft might tell you that. 

Hecate is difficult to find unless you know what you’re looking for. Over in Back Bay, you’ll stumble across a door bearing only the goddess’s symbol. Beyond that door, you’ll discover another realm with black rock walls, a black marble bar, and black furnishings with gilded accents.

This bar is not the place to order a gin and tonic. They (most likely) won’t kick you out if you do, but before you try, you should take a look through the beautifully illustrated “book of spells” to uncover the seasonal cocktail menu. 

Each cocktail has its own backstory. You can ask the “spirit guides” (aka your bartenders) all about them. The stories are authentic pieces of lore and not simply made up for the sake of the bar. It’s hard not to be impressed by the research that went into crafting each cocktail. 

A quick word of warning: The menu doesn’t have descriptions. You’ll have to point out the illustration to your spirit guide to get the drink you want. Or you could always ask your spirit guide to mix up something uniquely yours.

7. Bar Pallino

Best Bars in Boston: Bar Pallino

Located beneath Faccia a Faccia on Newbury Street, Bar Pallino may be modeled after Parisian wine bars, but it also features some Mexican- and Italian-inspired drinks and dining. 

First and foremost, it is indeed a wine bar and one of the best wine bars in Boston, as evidenced by the extensive wine list boasting over 70 bottles. But you’ll also find that the spirits menu isn’t to be missed, which features amaro, mezcal, and vermouths from artisanal spirit brands.

This cozy location features ambient lighting, sleek wood furnishings, and records lining the walls. It’s a perfect spot for a date night. And while you can’t go wrong with the wine list, the negroni list is really what stands out at Bar Pallino. From the gin-filled White Negroni to the mezcal and amaro-made Molto Bene, these drinks are can’t-miss delights.

8. The Koji Club

Cool Bars in Boston: The Koji Club
Images courtesy of Brian Samuels

Few bars are truly dedicated to sake, which is what makes The Koji Club one of the most unique bars in Boston. Located in Brighton, The Koji Club is the brainchild of Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale, who spent years on the Boston food scene and is now branching out in the hope of demystifying sake for Bostonians. 

The staff here, the owner included, are certified sake professionals, and they’re delighted to share their craft with the world. Not only is The Koji Club an elegant yet unpretentious place to spend an evening, but it’s also a place to do a little learning. 

You won’t leave here a sake professional like the staff, but you will leave a little more knowledgeable and perhaps have even uncovered your new favorite spirit. If you’re new to sake, be sure to ask the staff for their recommendations. The menu is extensive and features cedar sake, aged sake, and so much more. If you don’t know where to start, your bartender can help.

9. Next Door Speakeasy & Raw Bar

Next Door Speakeasy & Raw Bar, located in East Boston, keeps with the New England tradition of classic coastal raw bars with fresh and locally-caught seafood. Everything else throws tradition out the window.

You’ll need a reservation (and a password) to get inside this speakeasy. Once inside, you’ll discover one of the coolest bars in Boston and a true celebration of the art of cocktail-making. You’ll find high-end spirits galore here, as well as an extensive wine list. 

But the cocktails are what truly stand out and are designed to suit every palate. Those looking for more spirit-forward sips can find it in drinks like the Queen of Hearts, made with cherry-infused bourbon, multiple forms of vermouth, maraschino cherry amaro, chocolate bitters, and grated dark chocolate. 

For something a little lighter, there are plenty of options, including the Blossom & Bubbles, with gin, brut, blueberry lavender syrup, and blue spirulina. And then there are the tropical drinks, like the Lock & Key, with pineapple-infused rum, Madeira wine, pineapple juice, lime juice, coconut cream syrup, and clarified whole milk.

10. Brick & Mortar

Unique Bars in Boston: Brick and Mortar

Located in Cambridge’s Central Square, Brick & Mortar is one of the best Boston bars, thanks to its lively atmosphere and unbelievable cocktails. This bar can get pretty rowdy, but it’s worth the work it takes to get through the crowd. 

Brick & Mortar boasts an impressive spirits collection, carrying both aged and new bottles of bourbon, tequila, rye, mezcal, Japanese whisky, Scotch whisky, rum, Irish whiskey, gin, and more. But the real star of this bar is the cocktail menu. 

Drink a house-created cocktail like the Her Majesty’s Secret Service, made with earl grey-infused vodka, honey, and lemon. Or go for a classic cocktail, with selections ranging from Pre-Prohibition finds to more modern takes. 

And if you’d like something a little extra special, you can get a special reserve cocktail made with limited edition, rare, or small production spirits. If you’re really lucky, you just might score a cocktail in the beloved horsehead mug named Ponies in the Surf.

11. Wally’s Cafe

Over in the South End, you’ll find some of the best nightlife in Boston, with one of the top places to go being Wally’s Cafe. Wally’s is a remnant of a bygone era. As one of the last remaining jazz clubs in the city, this bar will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. 

Wally’s has been around since the 1940s, despite having changed its location back in 1979. Today, you’ll find this bar filled with music every night.

While the music, which ranges from local student performances to top international jazz talent, is a big part of Wally’s draw, another part of the attraction is that Wally’s is a cozy, no-nonsense kind of club. The mixed drinks are simple yet delicious. And in comparison to many of the high-end cocktail bars that have been popping up in Boston, Wally’s is much more affordable for a night out on the town.

12. Yvonne’s

Yvonne’s has taken the beauty of its predecessor, Locke-Ober, and only enhanced it. Keeping the same 19th-century mahogany bar and upscale club vibes, the downtown-based Yvonne’s is one of the best lounges in Boston. With ample mood lighting, richly upholstered seating, and gorgeously-carved ceiling and wall accents, Yvonne’s just oozes style. 

Yvonne’s feels a bit like the study in a very, very wealthy family’s home, a feeling made stronger by the book-filled library hiding added seating. Everything at Yvonne’s isn’t truly as it seems. In fact, you might not think it’s a bar at all when you walk past it. 

The way inside is through a fake storefront pretending to be a hair salon. There are secrets galore at this bar, including a hidden underground club nestled behind a secret door on weekends.

On the menu, you’ll find an extensive wine list, as well as a cocktail menu with house-made creations, classic favorites, and mixed drink bowls big enough to share with four or more friends. And if you’re not a drinker, Yvonne’s has a mix of several mocktails that go to show that you don’t need alcohol to have a delicious drink.

13. Over the Charles Rooftop Bar

Cool Bars in Boston: Over the Charles Rooftop Bar
Images courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston

Overlooking the Charles River in Allston, the Over the Charles Rooftop Bar is one of the best bars in the Boston area with a view. While you drink and dine on the roof of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston – Cambridge, you’ll take in a panorama of the river and the Boston skyline beyond it. 

You might think that the best time to visit one of the best rooftop bars in Boston would be in the spring or summer. And while the view is still stunning as the weather warms up, the real fun is in the winter.

Beginning in December, this bar transforms into the Chill Over the Charles Igloo Experience, designed to celebrate the hard-working spirit of Framingham, MA. Atop the rooftop, you and your group will be seated inside a transparent, warm igloo. 

From the comfort of your personal igloo, you’ll be served a selection of Framinghammer Baltic Porter Beers by a local brewer. Alongside your porters, you can also pick up a hot drink that’s meant to be shared with your group, like the Toasted Cider. 

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14. Drink

Must Visit Bars in Boston: Drink
Images courtesy of Drink

In the Seaport District, you’ll find one of the best cocktail bars in Boston. But don’t journey in expecting to simply pick a mixed drink off of a menu. Although there is a menu with beer, wine, and food selections, there’s nothing listed for cocktails. The reason why is that this bar specializes in crafting the perfect cocktail tailor-made for you.

Drink focuses on the art of cocktail making, using techniques dating back to the Prohibition era with modern twists mixed in. Alongside artisanal, local ingredients, these techniques ensure that the drink you get is precisely the one you wanted, even if you didn’t know you wanted it. 

You could always simply tell your bartender the drink you’re craving if you have one in mind. But to get the most out of the Drink experience, the best thing to do is tell your bartender a few of your likes and dislikes and end up with something truly new and magical.

15. Krasi

Fun Bars in Boston: Krasi
Images courtesy of Krasi

“Krasi” translates to “wine” in Greek, which tells you exactly what you’re going to get at this Back Bay bar. Krasi is dedicated to the art and craftsmanship of Greek wine. Inside, you’ll find more than 180 natural, organic, and biodynamic bottles, all coming straight from the Mediterranean country. 

Like how The Koji Club (above) focuses on spreading enjoyment and knowledge of sake, the staff at Krasi are delighted to guide you through the world of Greek wine to help you understand its roots and find a varietal you’ll love.

With stone walls, rich jewel-toned booths, and a white hexagonal tile backsplash, this light-filled bar is a perfect place for an upscale evening. If you’re new to the world of Greek wine, the menu gives you notes to help you navigate through the varietals. But you can always rely on the knowledgeable bartender to point you in the right direction.

16. Carrie Nation Cocktail Club

Cool Bars in Boston: Carrie Nation Cocktail Club

Nestled among the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill is one of the best bars in Boston, thanks to its playful parodic roots. In the early 1900s, Carrie Nation, who would receive the nickname Hatchet Nation, was a significant figure in the temperance movement. She was famous for destroying taverns with a hatchet. 

For a time, Nation and others like her succeeded, leading us into the Prohibition Era. But, of course, the sale of alcohol never really stopped. Instead, speakeasies were born. And this history is what’s behind the Carrie Nation Cocktail Club

Inside this cocktail bar, you’ll find a 1920s-style interior with dim mood lighting, leather couches, and dark wood. If you journey further enough inside, you’ll pass by a shoeshine stand, go up a set of stairs, and reach the hidden speakeasy.

In honor of the Carrie Nation Cocktail Club’s legendary roots, you can find many classic cocktails on the menu here, like an old-fashioned and a vesper martini. If you’re craving an old favorite, Carrie Nation Cocktail Club is easily one of the best cocktail bars in Boston.

17. The Last Hurrah

What Bars to Try in Boston: The Last Hurrah
Images courtesy of Omni Parker House

The Last Hurrah, which can be found inside the Omni Parker House hotel downtown, has long been one of the most famous bars in Boston. It’s welcomed many a noteworthy face, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who used to convene here for a monthly Saturday Club. This drinking hole is a place of sophistication, with leather upholstery and a mahogany bar. 

The Last Hurrah is considered a whiskey bar, but it’s well known for its martinis. You’ll find several different types of martinis on the menu, including a list of espresso martinis. In addition to drinks, there are also small bites to be had. 

One thing that should not be missed is the Boston Cream Pie. The Last Hurrah makes it in drink form with vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur, and Baileys. But the actual dessert itself, which was invented at the Omni Parker House’s main restaurant, is also on the menu here. 

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There you have it! The 17 best bars in Boston. What’s your favorite place to grab drinks in Boston?

Planning a trip to Massachusetts? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!



  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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