The Eater Boston Cocktail Heatmap is updated periodically, tracking the hottest new drinking destinations around town. But just because a bar is retired from the map to make room for newer spots doesn’t mean that it’s not worth checking out anymore.
As such, we keep an archive of retired Cocktail Heatmap points right here. Each bar or restaurant (and its description from the last time it appeared on the map) is listed under the month when it ceased to appear on the Heatmap.
Retired in March 2021
- Barra: Tiny and full of energy, Barra is the newest addition to Union Square’s robust drinking scene, having opened in late January 2020. Located in a space that previously housed a juice shop, the intimate bar brings a taste of Mexico City to Somerville in the form of small plates and a big selection of mezcal, sotol, and other booze. (Both owners are from Mexico City, and they collaborated with Mexico City chef Sofía García Osorio on the bar’s compact food menu.) Sip on bacanora; snack on aguachile. Of course, “intimate” isn’t the right fit for pandemic times, and indoor seating is not currently available, but Barra has some outdoor seating on the sidewalk and tucked back in a courtyard behind the bar, and bottled cocktails in one- and two-person portions are available on the takeout menu.
- French Quarter: Sazeracs, hurricanes, Ramos gin fizzes, Vieux Carrés: French Quarter opened in Boston’s Downtown Crossing in late February 2020, courtesy of the team behind Back Deck and Fajitas and ‘Ritas, both nearby. The new spot is meant to be like “a French Quarter neighborhood watering hole,” as chef and co-owner Paul Sussman previously told Eater, and the New Orleans-inspired food menu (gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee, etc.) has a drink selection to match.
- Cosmica: From the team behind the Beehive in the South End and its younger Harvard Square sibling, Beat Brew Hall, Cósmica opened in February 2020 at the Revolution Hotel, featuring tacos and more from chef Colton Coburn-Wood, a veteran of Yellow Door Taqueria (see below) and Ken Oringer’s gone-but-not-forgotten Fenway taqueria La Verdad. The drink menu offers margaritas on tap, boozy slushies, and cocktails such as a passion fruit and pomegranate caipirinha. To-go orders have a more limited selection, including a house margarita; a strawberry margarita; watermelon basil agua fresca with jalapeno-infused tequila and grenadine; and 32-ounce portions of sangria.
- Ivory Pearl: Fans of Woburn’s Baldwin Bar and Brookline’s Blossom Bar — both exceptional cocktail bars — were eagerly awaiting the opening of the team’s newest location, Ivory Pearl, in Brookline’s Washington Square. The seafood-focused restaurant arrived in August 2020, featuring a cocktail menu inspired by wine. Take the Champagne-inspired “Champagne Papi,” for example; it’s made with Ketel One, koji rice, honeydew malic, and citric acid. There are also twists on classic cocktails, such as the Last Word-inspired “In Other Words”: Tanqueray No.10, yellow chartreuse, Taggiasca olive, whey, and citric acid.
- Yellow Door Taqueria: Popular Dorchester taqueria Yellow Door expanded to Boston’s South End in early 2020, and it pairs its tacos with a cocktail menu that emphasizes mezcal and tequila. There’s the “Amigo del Diablo,” for example, made with reposado tequila, blackberry cordial, lime, and ginger beer. Takeout orderers will have to make do with a smaller selection — the house margarita and its jalapeno and coconut counterparts.
Retired in October 2020
Heatmap updates were paused between March and October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Bow Market: Create Gallery & Cocktail Lounge and Variety Bar: This is a two-for-one at Somerville’s Bow Market: One of the latest additions to Bow Market is Create, a gallery and cocktail lounge from Louis DiBiccari — chef and owner of the now-closed Tavern Road and creator of the annual Create event, which showcases local talent in the food, art, and music spaces. Create (the gallery/bar) is like a permanent version of Create (the event), featuring a rotating selection of buyable art, cocktails on tap made from recipes from numerous local bartenders, and music playlists curated by a variety of local personalities. Check out the cocktail menu here. Plus, Variety Bar (located in the Comedy Studio) has recently been revamped by acclaimed local bartender Naomi Levy; stop by before a comedy show or anytime for what the bar describes as “cheeky cocktails and trashy snacks in a no-judgment, relaxed environment.” Indeed, where else will you find incredibly well-made but silly cocktails like a pastrami spice Old Fashioned or a Yoo-hoo espresso martini? (And don’t forget snacks such as Cup Noodles, Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies, and a variety of cereals.) Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Dorchester Brewing Company: Dorchester Brewing Company’s not new, but it’s bigger and better thanks to a giant expansion it debuted at the start of 2020. Longtime fans are due for a revisit, and for those who haven’t yet checked out the three-and-a-half-year-old brewery, now is the time. There’s more space for drinking, more space for playing games like pinball and shuffleboard, more space for taking in local art and live music, and more space for beers, as well as a local wine collaboration and a local cider collaboration. One of the best new features is the large rooftop patio and enclosed greenhouse-like space, the “Hopservatory.” Plus, there’s barbecue now. Beloved decades-old business M&M Ribs, now operating as M&M BBQ, has taken up permanent residency at the brewery.
- Gray’s Hall: A cozy wine bar from a team that owns a popular pair of shops selling wine, cheese, charcuterie, and other specialty food items? Sounds like a perfect fit, and it is. The American Provisions team opened Gray’s Hall next to the original South Boston American Provisions on New Year’s Eve, and they’re serving mostly natural wines and a small but strong menu of wine-friendly snacks and larger plates from talented Tasting Counter and Tres Gatos alum Marcos Sanchez. The whipped sheep feta with crudite and black lime is a must, as are the grilled lamb skewers with yogurt, chimichurri, and lime.
- The Groove at Hojoko: Hojoko has been around since 2015 — and in fact, its co-bar managers at the time, Joe Cammarata & Daren Swisher, took home the 2015 Eater Boston bartender of the year award. So why’s it back on the Cocktail Heatmap years later? In 2019, the Fenway restaurant turned its front room into the Groove, a vinyl lounge with its own snacks and drinks. Eat short rib katsu sandwiches, drink a really fancy Old Fashioned, and bring your own vinyl. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Krasi: Connoisseurs of Greek wine, this is your new spot. Dig deep into the all-Greek wine list at Krasi, or explore the selection of spirits, such as ouzo, tsipouro, mastiha, and tentura. Pair regional Greek dishes with the drinks, and definitely order the tableside tzatziki. The lively new restaurant and bar has ties to Committee and Greco and is located in Back Bay’s longtime Cafe Jaffa space. Check out the wine, beer, and spirits list here.
- Mariel: The newest venue from the team behind Yvonne’s, Ruka, and Lolita has arrived, and it’s as beautifully designed as the rest: Mariel, a downtown restaurant and bar that draws inspiration from Cuba. As such, the drink list features mojitos front and center — four of them, in fact, including ones flavored with guava, strawberry, or lulo. Rum also features heavily on the rest of the drink list. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Orfano: Orfano is a new Italian-American restaurant in Fenway from Tiffani Faison, who is behind a trio of other Fenway hits (Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Fool’s Errand). The restaurant is punctuated with welcome bits of silliness, like a hilariously gigantic pepper grinder, but the overall vibe and service are cool and classy, including a featured martini prepared tableside. Those who aren’t martini fans will find plenty to love elsewhere on the cocktail list, from a bottled Aperol spritz to a refreshing gin drink that includes cucumber and clarified tomato. Check out the cocktail list here.
- Roxanne’s: 6B Lounge is gone, but don’t worry: Its popular theme nights (’90s, etc.) have returned at its replacement, which comes from the same ownership team. Now the space is home to Roxanne’s, a flamingo-bedecked lounge with tropical vibes, serving classic and new cocktails. Options include the key lime fizz (rum, falernum, cynar, lime, egg white, bitters) and the mezcal me maybe (mezcal, chartreuse, rosemary simple, torched grapefruit). Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Sound Advice: The West End is incredibly busy these days — the usual sports crowds are now amplified by huge amounts of new development, especially everything going on at the Hub on Causeway, which already includes a giant sports bar, a Guy Fieri restaurant, a cinema, and more, with a food hall and other businesses still to come. Fortunately it also includes a hidden-away cocktail nook a few floors up, away from the hustle and bustle, built in consultation with the expert team behind New York cocktail destination Death & Co. Sound Advice features a mix of classic cocktails and originals for every taste, such as the tequila-based La Paloma (classic) and the vodka-based Joyride (original), the latter made with vodka from Boston-based Bully Boy Distillers. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in March 2020
- Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar: Gustazo, a popular Cuban restaurant in Waltham, expanded to Cambridge’s Porter Square in early 2019 — an exciting development food-wise, but the cocktails deservedly get an equal share of the spotlight here. Gustazo brought in Sam Treadway, owner of the acclaimed Somerville cocktail destination Backbar, to consult on the Cambridge location’s creative cocktail list, which highlights rum. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- The Quiet Few: The Quiet Few, located in East Boston, is decidedly a whiskey bar; most customers are likely sipping on one of nearly 100 options. But this is the Cocktail Heatmap, and this new hot spot does serve cocktails, including classics (Manhattans, Sazeracs, etc.), frozen Negronis, and more. Pair a drink with potato chips and caviar. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in February 2020
- Le Canular: Okay, this one doesn’t entirely belong on the Cocktail Heatmap; it’s a wine bar, not a cocktail bar. It does, however, fit the second part of the map’s title, “Where to Drink Right Now.” Le Canular is Whaling in Oklahoma’s new sibling and neighbor, taking over the old Sister Sorel space that Whaling was previously mostly using for overflow seating. Open Wednesday through Saturday, starting at 6 p.m., the self-described “peculiar little wine nook” offers a variety of wines priced at $13 across the board, as well as a small snack menu with items such as oysters, cheese plates, and more. If your dream is to spend winter cozied up with a glass of Lambrusco and torched cheese with truffles and bacon, this is probably the spot for you.
- The Longfellow Bar: It’s probably no surprise that Michael Scelfo’s follow-up to his acclaimed Alden & Harlow and Waypoint is a strong addition to Harvard Square. You’re going to want to do a lot of your drinking at the Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow, which is gorgeous (especially the upper level) and full of irresistible cocktails and fun, fancy finger foods. (Hello, cotechino pigs ‘n’ blankets.) Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in January 2020
- Ilona: This South End hot spot from the Kava team is quite a scene — it’s loud, it’s pretty. It also serves great drinks and food inspired by eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea-area cuisines. If you’re not trying the Georgian wines (which you should), delve into the compact cocktail selection, which includes light and summery favorites like a passionfruit mojito. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in December 2019
- Shore Leave: From the acclaimed Bar Mezzana team, Shore Leave is an easy winner: Escape gloomy thoughts of the coming winter by surrounding yourself with tiki vibes in this subterranean lair of booze and Pacific Rim-inspired foods (including a duck dish that one local critic calls “effing brilliant.”) It even has an intimate sushi bar, No Relation, nestled inside. But back to the cocktails, be sure to grab a friend and share the Takes Two to Mango. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in October 2019
- Alcove: The vibe at Alcove is not what you’d expect from a West End venue — that is, it’s not a rowdy sports bar. Those have their merits, sure, but this is something new and welcome for the neighborhood. It’s warm and friendly, it has killer views of the Zakim Bridge, and it serves wonderful cocktails (and food to match). Let the flowery descriptive words for each cocktail guide you, from “smooth sipping” to “fighting machine.” Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Map Room Tea Lounge at the Boston Public Library: Tea-infused cocktails with literary names. Delicate tartines. Charcuterie boards. Bet you didn’t think the public library would be home to one of the hottest cocktail bars in town, did you? Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in September 2019
- Better Sorts Social Club: The five-year-old Highball Lounge was a fun spot that involved drinks garnished with rubber duckies, menus presented in classic View-Masters, and similar shenanigans. But the hotel that housed it, the Kimpton Nine Zero, is undergoing a $12 million renovation, so it was time for a change — quite a major one. Enter the marble-and-leather-adorned Better Sorts Social Club, with cocktail powerhouse and Eastern Standard alum Naomi Levy at the helm. Levy is serving a mix of classic and contemporary cocktails, including a martini-like drink that draws inspiration from the pasta dish cacio e pepe (vodka with Gouda-infused vermouth and black pepper pasta water syrup). Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Chickadee: Chickadee is a collaboration between No. 9 Park alums chef John DaSilva (Eater Boston’s 2018 Chef of the Year) and Ted Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick serves as beverage director, coming from years of bartending and management experience. (Most recently, he helped open O Ya’s New York City siblings, O Ya, Covina, and Roof at Park South.) Thus, the cocktail selection is a major focus at Chickadee, and it takes its cues from the seasonal, local-focused food menu, playing with ingredients like spruce tips and apples. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Fool’s Errand: In the spirit of European wine bars, Fool’s Errand is a standing-room-only “adult snack bar” for adults to sip creative cocktails while standing and eating snacks like “fancy finger sammies,” croquettes, and crispy potato mille feuille dripping with raclette and truffles. The boisterous Fenway spot is sibling and neighbor to both Tiger Mama and Sweet Cheeks. Hit up all three in a row if you’ve got the stamina for it.
- Nahita: One of the most attractive recent restaurant openings, Nahita in Boston’s Back Bay also has excellent cocktails (and food) to match the ambiance. The Latin-meets-Asian cuisine — with a focus on raw seafood — pairs nicely with drinks like the Monster Smash (mezcal, blackberry, sage, and lime) and the Revolver (an Old Fashioned variation that makes use of coffee liqueur). Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Paris Creperie: Paris Creperie has been serving crepes in a cozy Coolidge Corner spot for 16 years, but now it has expanded with a new location in a swanky space in Boston’s Seaport District. The new Paris Creperie serves booze alongside its crepes, featuring a cordial-based cocktail list by local beverage connoisseur Brother Cleve. Choose a crepe — there are a variety of sweet or savory options — and try it with a cocktail such as the daiquiri-inspired Stardust (butterfly tea-infused lime rum, parfait amour liqueur, and a citrus blend). Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in July 2019
- Casa Caña: The old Days Hotel was a prime target for a major revamp. Its replacement, the artsy Studio Allston hotel, bring something bright and new to the neighborhood, and it comes with a rum-filled bar and restaurant, Casa Caña, that features Havana vibes. (If weather permits, check out the spacious courtyard.) Plus, there’s a frozen daiquiri. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in May 2019
- Boston Chops (Downtown Crossing): Leather. Marble. Steak. Cocktails. The new location of Boston Chops is dark and stately, perfect for sipping a Chops Manhattan (made with five-spice bitters) or a Carver Cranberry (rum, “drunken” cranberry, lime) while eating a gigantic piece of meat, perhaps with a tower of onion rings on the side. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Burro Bar (South End): Brookline’s Burro Bar — little sibling to the Painted Burro in Somerville’s Davis Square — expanded to Boston’s South End in spring 2018 in a flurry of tequila and tacos. While the cocktail list features margaritas (such as the house version, made with Lunazul Blanco, Combier, and lime, or the cucumber version, made with cucumber-infused tequila, lime, and demerara), the selection doesn’t end there. Those who aren’t fans of tequila will also find drinks like the Haba-Cabra, with Old Overholt rye, apple habanero puree, lemon, and bitters. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Variety Bar at the Comedy Studio at Bow Market: As Bow Market continues to grow, there’s a new cocktail bar in the mix. While Variety Bar is located at the Comedy Studio, you don’t have to have tickets to the evening’s show to sit at the front bar and enjoy cocktails like the Big Dig Ghost (pisco, fortified rosé, amaro), the Blind Paul (tequila, shochu, acai, cinnamon, lime, pineapple), one of several scorpion bowls, or even a booze-free “mockturtle.” Check out the cocktail menu here. Bonus recommendations: Outside of the cocktail department but still in the drink-this-right-now department, Bow Market is also home to a popular brewery, Remnant, and a lovely wine bar, Rebel Rebel; the latter was a nominee for Eater Boston’s Bar of the Year in 2018. (Disclosure: Rebel Rebel owner Lauren Friel and Variety Bar manager Ándrea Pentabona have both previously freelanced for Eater Boston.)
- Whaling in Oklahoma: Whaling in Oklahoma sits in the intersection between Japanese flavors and New England ingredients, and the cocktail list plays up the Japanese side of the equation with drinks like the Umeshu Spritz (Aperol, plum wine, passionfruit) and the Shomatchu (Mizu shochu, matcha, lime, demerara). The “all you can eat” dinner (which, as the menu clarifies, is not actually “all” you can eat but rather a sampling of what’s best that day) is well worth trying at some point, but Whaling is also the type of spot where you could enjoy a cocktail or two at the bar, perhaps paired with a simple plate of pickles or a fried chicken and egg rice bowl.
Retired in January 2019
- Blossom Bar: It was inevitable that Blossom Bar would be great. Ran Duan opened its big siblings, the Baldwin Bar and the Baldwin & Sons Trading Co., within his family’s Woburn restaurant, Sichuan Garden, to much acclaim. Duan himself and other staffers have racked up loads of awards and press over the last few years thanks to their expert cocktails. Blossom Bar — the recent reinvention of Sichuan Garden’s Brookline Village sibling — hits all the right notes as well, serving perfectly composed cocktails with a mix of fiery Chinese cuisine and old-school Chinese-American fare.
- Highland Fried: It’s a tall order, taking over a space with history. When the team behind popular neighborhood hangout Highland Kitchen took over the sold-and-then-shuttered East Coast Grill with plans to reopen it largely as-is, fans were hopeful that it would make a comeback with some of the sparkle of its early years. It got off to a solid start, but the team ultimately ended up bidding East Coast Grill a final goodbye and rebranding the spot as Highland Fried. Now it’s a happy medium between the old East Coast Grill and Highland Kitchen, particularly HK’s fried chicken and Tiki Mondays. At Highland Fried, it’s always fried chicken and Tiki night. Grab a boozy blue lagoon, mai tai, or scorpion bowl; order some chicken; and enjoy. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Nathálie: While wine is very much the focus at Haley.Henry’s new Fenway sibling, Nathálie, it lands on the cocktail Heatmap because it’s a great place to drink, whichever drink you choose. (For those sticklers about map eligibility, it does have a small cocktail selection, which currently includes the Nat Lite (Citron vodka, “aperol,” grapefruit, soda), the Italian Piñata (Cynar, pineapple, lime), and the G & T (rosé gin, house-made tonic).) Snag a seat, order some montaditos, and drink.
- Our Fathers: Our Fathers (sibling to Tasty Burger, Citizen Public House, and Franklin Cafe) presents itself as a dual-concept venue: takeout Jewish delicatessen on one side; full-service modern Israeli restaurant on the other side. Plus, the restaurant side features an attractive bar that’ll make a gin lover’s dreams come true. There’s a long list of gin-based classic cocktails available, from bee’s knees to French 75, as well as some of the restaurant’s own concoctions, including a number of gin and tonic variations. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in October 2018
- Citrus & Salt: Look, some days you just really need to go to a pastel wonderland and order a boozy Dole Whip. Citrus & Salt delivers that and more, but be prepared to say phrases like “take your pants off” or “#unfollow” to the bartender. (The former is a fizzy pink drink; the latter features mezcal and blackberry.) As for food, don’t miss the agave-glazed blue cornmeal biscuits. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Earls Kitchen & Bar: Earls is a big Canadian chain with a couple of local outposts and a food menu that jumps from Korea to Mexico to India to avocado toast. So why drink there? Well, the Prudential location of Earls has two big pluses going for it: The swanky rooftop lounge, for one, and the “cocktail lab” on the first floor. At the cocktail lab, guest bartenders — many of whom you’ll recognize from excellent bars around town — come in regularly, serving up twists on signature Boston cocktails and other experiments. Keep an eye on Instagram for updates.
- Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar: A Back Bay tequila bar got a Fort Point sibling in 2017, and the new Lolita — winner of the 2017 Eater award for restaurant design — is a stunner. If your idea of a great night out is drinking margaritas in a dark space accented by skulls, stained glass, and blood-red chandeliers, and perhaps you’d like a giant, free serving of cotton candy as well, this is your spot. And good news: There are frozen margaritas, too. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Tiki Rock: It’s a good time for Tiki in Boston, with the openings of places like Tiki Rock and the aforementioned Highland Fried, not to mention the forthcoming Shore Leavefrom the Bar Mezzana team. Tiki Rock is loud, colorful, and loads of fun, serving plenty of classic Tiki recipes as well as some newer twists. The food’s great, too, whether you’re looking for sushi or a hefty rack of pork ribs or a pupu platter. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Top Mix Bar & Kitchen: Change is coming to the industrial Newmarket Square area along the edges of Dorchester and Roxbury: The South Bay Center is in the midst of a big overhaul, and a number of alcohol businesses have recently made their home in the neighborhood, including Bully Boy Distillers, Prospect Ciderworks, Dorchester Brewing Company, and, soon, Backlash Beer Co. Aside from the growing collection of taprooms, there’s also a fairly new cocktail bar, Top Mix Bar & Kitchen, where customers have been enjoying playing pool, sharing “big ass cocktails 4 two” and “sexual chocolate martinis,” and eating maple bacon burgers and sweet plantain ravioli. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in August 2018
- Café du Pays: Café du Pays, the newest (and perhaps only) French-Canadian-inspired restaurant in the Boston area, has opened in the former Hungry Mother space in Cambridge, courtesy of the same team. The beverage selection goes along with the theme, highlighting ingredients that evoke thoughts of both Canada and France, from maple syrup to pastis. (As for beer, there’s a heavy focus on Canada, with lower-end selections such as Labatt Blue to the decidedly fancier Unibroue and Les Trois Mousquetaires.) Hungry Mother regulars will notice that, among other major changes to the space, the bar has been moved to the upper floor. It’s a cozy, intimate spot for a cocktail and some poutine — and it won the 2017 Eater award for Restaurant of the Year. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Cultivar: Our Fathers isn’t the only gin destination in town: The lovely Cultivar — from 2017 Eater award-winner Mary Dumont — has also shaped its cocktail list around the spirit. Customers can swap in other options, but as written, the menu is all about gin. There’s the sunflower, for example, with Malfy gin, elderflower, orange liqueur, lemon, and absinthe, or the gin fizz, with Brockman’s gin, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters, egg white, and soda. They’re light, they’re charming, and they pair extraordinarily well with Cultivar’s incredible dessert menu. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Pammy’s: Nestled between Harvard and Central squares, this Cambridge spot boasts a fireplace, a stately communal table, and some other attractive architectural details, not to mention killer pasta, excellent cocktails, and jovial employees with stacked resumes from the local dining and drinking scene. Pammy’s has the kind of bar where customers will find a Negroni on draft, as well as several variations, along with plenty of digestivi and dessert wines. The cocktail selection is full of unexpected but successful combinations, such as the Last Word variation, In Other Words: gin, yellow chartreuse, black olive, and lime. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Sumiao Hunan Kitchen: Baiju may be the most widely consumed spirit worldwide, but it’s not a very common sight around the Boston area. At Sumiao Hunan Kitchen in Kendall Square, though, it’s a focus; connoisseurs can spend big bucks on bottles, while newbies may want to give a baiju-based cocktail a try, such as the perpetual motion, which combines the spirit with blood orange puree, muddled mint and lime, and elderflower liqueur. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in April 2018
- A4cade: Arcade games! Food from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese! Cocktails from the Area Four team, served in funky glassware! It’s the perfect 21+ playground. Try the Land Shark cocktail (“I’m just a dolphin, ma’am”) with Privateer Tiki, Angostura 7-Year, cognac, sherry, and passion fruit; the Rainbow Road, made of “clouds and unicorns” (or Sipsmith, sour watermelon, and grapefruit); and lots more. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Artscience Culture Lab & Cafe: Changes are afoot at the restaurant formerly known as Cafe Artscience, from the staff to the name. At its bar — the Wiki Bar — Tavern Road and Trade alum Tenzin Samdo is beginning to work his magic, testing out new cocktails inspired by animals (such as the Bumblebee: wild Tennessee honey, floral gin, absinthe, lemon, and cardamom). He’s at Artscience on Tuesdays for now and will ramp up to full-time hours later in August as the new bar director and a partner. Head to the bar, have a cocktail, order a dessert, and make sure to get a tour of Artscience’s current science exhibits.
- The Automatic: Obviously The Automatic was going to debut as one of the hottest new bars in town: Co-owners Dave Cagle (B-Side Lounge alum) and Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill founder) are royalty in the Cambridge food and beverage family tree. This funky spot on the edge of Kendall Square plays great music and serves up the drinks of everyone’s college dreams (frozen mudslides, frozen blue margarita), plus some classics (Manhattan, Sazerac), and lots more. Pair them with an order of freaky fries. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Burro Bar: The Painted Burro’s little sibling in Brookline’s Washington Square serves a hearty menu of tacos, quesos fundidos, Mexican-inspired seafood entrees, and more. The refreshing drink menu pairs well, with numerous margarita options (spicy, hibiscus, passion fruit, and more) as well as a variety of other cocktails, including a mezcal mule, a red sangria, and more. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Cantina La Mexicana: This Union Square staple has been around for over 20 years, serving up tacos and more alongside a substantial list of margaritas (pitchers available), cocktails, tequila, and mezcal. Never been? Now’s the perfect time to pay the lively Cantina a visit: Artscience alum Todd Maul, known for his science-minded cocktails, has taken up residence at the Somerville spot on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, serving up some of his classics, such as the Steven C, alongside the restaurant’s usual offerings. Check out the regular cocktail menu here.
- Casa B: While Casa B itself isn’t new, it has recently debuted its redone upper level (the street level), which is now more of a rum-focused cocktail bar, not just an extension of the downstairs dining room. Thanks to the renovations, the upper space has a darker, more intimate feel and should serve well as a way of welcoming in new visitors who have never ventured into the Union Square staple. Sip many rums, or try cocktails such as the classic pisco sour or the passion fruit daiquiri. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- East Coast Grill: East Coast Grill closed after 30 years in Inman Square, remained closed for a year, and is now reopen under new ownership — the fun-loving Highland Kitchen team. It’s the perfect combination: The restaurant got a facelift but retains its old-school ECG vibe, and there’s the added bonus of HK flair. Plus, longtime HK bar manager Joe McGuirk is over at ECG, serving up tiki-inspired drinks and lots more. And yes, the drinks are still decorated with brightly colored mermaids and the like. Try the Aku Aku — pineapple, mint, peach, Plantation — or, pictured, the Spicy Piscojito — mint, pisco, jalapeno, lime. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Ledger: This Salem newcomer — led by chef-owner Matt O’Neil of the acclaimed Blue Ox in Lynn — is a stately space; it’s located in the former home of the Salem Savings Bank, which dates back to the early 19th century. Continuing on that theme, the restaurant serves “traditional 19th-century dishes, cocktails, and techniques...elevated with 21st-century resources,” which translates to a cocktail menu that features shrubs and gin in drinks such as the Salem 1818 — Plymouth gin, prosecco, and lemon verbena shrub. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Les Sablons: With Jackson Cannon behind the cocktail program at this new Island Creek/Row 34 sibling, expectations have been high — and it delivers. The restaurant spans two skinny floors with a bar on each, and the lower level has been publicized as “a neighborhood cocktail party” while the upper level has more of a reserved dining room vibe. At either bar, drinkers will find an excellent selection of cocktails, from the classic French 75 (Beefeater gin, lemon, sparkling wine) to the Bijou (Fords gin, green chartreuse, vermouth). The restaurant’s namesake cocktail combines Elyx vodka with Bénédictine, sherry, and lemon. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Yellow Door Taqueria: This new Dorchester taqueria features a cocktail list written by the team at sibling spot Lion’s Tail in the South End, from fruity margaritas (pomegranate, watermelon, coconut, and more) to cocktails with a heavy focus on tequila and mezcal. There’s also a small selection of beer, which all stays below the $10 mark — a rotating Maine Beer Co. selection, Tecate, Jack’s Abby’s house lager, and more. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in August 2017
- Bully Boy Distillers: Bully Boy has expanded across the street from its original facility, opening a brand new distillery, tasting room, and cocktail bar in the new space at 44 Cedric St. (The original space will be dedicated to estate gin production and experimentation.) The 26-seat cocktail bar serves seasonal "still-to-glass" drinks, barrel-aged cocktails, and spirit flights that highlight the Bully Boy product line.
- Buttermilk & Bourbon: Jason Santos' new New Orleans-inspired Back Bay restaurant will stuff diners full of honey-glazed biscuits, fried chicken, and beignets while serving up fun, boozy drinks, including the Frozen Voodoo Grenade (Ketel One Citroen, melon and peach liqueurs, lemon, Creole Shrubb), the on-tap hurricane, the black walnut Sazerac, and lots more. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Waypoint: Like absinthe? It'll take many visits to make it all the way through Waypoint's extensive selection, which provides plenty of opportunities to try the pizzas and the rest of the seafood-focused menu as well. The non-absinthe cocktails are worth a try, too; current options include The Kraken (squid ink mezcal, manzanilla sherry, Swedish punsch, lime, and demerara), Twelfth Dynasty (rye vodka, watermelon, green cardamom, habanero tincture, and lime), and more. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in July 2017
- Freepoint Kitchen & Cocktails: This new collaboration between the Freepoint Hotel and West Bridge's Matthew Gaudet features West Bridge and Menton alum Alex Howell in the role of "beverage consigliere," serving up a drink menu that focuses on bourbon and brown liquors. There's also a dedicated Manhattan menu that offers numerous variations and a design-your-own option with a variety of ryes, bourbons, vermouths (sweet and dry), and bitters. Check out the Manhattan menu here.
- Little Donkey: One of the most highly anticipated openings of 2016, this project from Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer (the duo behind Toro and Coppa) debuted in mid-July and has had a packed bar scene since opening day. Say hello to friendly lead bartender Vikram Hegde — you may recognize him from Sarma or his two stints at Island Creek Oyster Bar — and peruse the cocktail selection, which includes the smoky and spicy Ode to Pablo, made with Sombra mezcal, Aperol, spicy ginger shrub, and lime. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Reelhouse: East Boston's newest destination comes from the team behind Pier 6 and executive chef Marc Orfaly (Pigalle, The Beehive). Located on the waterfront, ReelHouse has a large patio and skyline views — the perfect spot for some warm-weather cocktail indulgence. The cocktail menu is short but playful, offering options such as classic Mai Tais, Painkillers, and easy-drinkers like the Skinny Jeans — Tito's vodka, coconut water, cucumber, mint, and agave. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in May 2017
- Area Four Boston: Sidle up to the South End's newest bar and eat wood-fired pizza and more while sipping on cocktails from Hungry Mother alum Augusto Lino and Blue Dragon alum Dan Lynch, including variations on a Manhattan and a caipirinha. Pay some serious attention the beer and wine lists, too. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Bar Mezzana: The South End's new crudo heaven is already cultivating a lively bar scene with a cocktail list full of Italian-inspired classics and beyond. Try the Carabinieri (gin, lime, pine nut, matcha) or There's Always Money in the Banana Stand (oloroso sherry, cyan, banana, vanilla, salt, house lager). Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Oak + Rowan: Do you enjoy your bartender wheeling a cart over to you and mixing your cocktail tableside? Head to Oak + Rowan, which serves a compact but creative cocktail list. Try the dry gin cocktail, for example, which makes use of a five-spice cherry cola reduction, chocolate, orange, cherry, Peychaud's bitters, and Ramazzotti, an amaro. And there's the refreshing ginger cider, made with cassis, yellow chartreuse, and orange bitters. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Pagu: Cocktails and pintxos — a perfect pairing. Spain meets Japan at this new Central Square restaurant, and the bar offers a wide range of sakes, whiskeys from Japan and beyond, rums, tequilas, and so much more. The cocktail list mixes them up in fun and delicious ways that pair perfectly with, say, a bowl of ramen or pork belly bao or jamón ibérico.
- Ruka: Yvonne's new sibling — located nearby, also in Downtown Crossing — puts an emphasis on showy visuals, from colorful decor to interesting cocktail presentations to a fish-shaped dessert. Since this is the Cocktail Heatmap, let's talk drinks: The cocktail menu is an elaborate pamphlet that lays out extensive background for each drink, along with ingredients, cost, and character ("light, effervescent, refined" — that's the Inca Cooler). This is the place to go to drink complex cocktails in exciting glassware while surrounded by giant dragons climbing up pillars. There's a piece of Chihuly glass art, too.
- Tavern Road: Tenzin Conechok Samdo, one of the city's most creative and friendly bartenders (and Instagram masters), recently moved down the street from Trade to Tavern Road. His first Tavern Road cocktail menu launched in July with drinks such as the tequila cobbler, made with house hibiscus flower spiked grenadine, serrano, and lime.
Retired in January 2017
- GrandTen Bar: GrandTen Distilling's new cocktail bar, which is located in the South Boston distillery, features "still-to-glass" cocktails that show off GrandTen's 11 spirits in a variety of classic and original ways. "As our spirit, tincture, and shrub catalog grows over time, we will begin to move into uncharted territory by offering more complex and unique cocktails," GrandTen's production manager previously told Eater. Bar manager Steve Schnelwar is an alum of Tavern Road and 80 Thoreau. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- The Hourly: The newest venture from the Grafton Group (Russell House Tavern, Park, more) offers a cozy bar with cocktails that pair well with seafood, such as the Southside Royale (Glendalough Seasonal Foraged Gin, lemon, sugar, mint, prosecco). Drink it with some oysters. And perhaps a lobster roll. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Mamaleh's: Boozy milkshakes, "deli highballs" (such as a bourbon and cherry phosphate or rum and pineapple lactart), and creative usage of Jewish classics such as Manischewitz and slivovitz — what more could you want from a funky Jewish deli? Oh yeah, there are plenty of matzoh balls, knishes, and gribenes to eat as well. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Pabu: This new San Francisco import features sushi, robatayaki, cold and hot small plates, and high-end steaks, and the beverage list spans 27 pages, including numerous cocktails, sake, whiskey, and lots more. On the cocktail side, options include The Super X (Tito's vodka, Kina l'Aero d'Or, Velvet Falernum, yuzu, lemon), Yamato (white rum, Neisson blanc rhum, coconut, matcha, sesame, Giffard banana liqueur, lime), and more. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Tapestry: The former home of restaurant and music venue Church is now Tapestry, a dual-concept restaurant with oysters and pizza on the more casual side and more fancily plated dishes on the other side. Fairsted Kitchen alum Will Isaza is overseeing the cocktail and spirits program. Head to the Club Room to drink beverages like the Fruta Fresca (rhum agricole, passionfruit, lemon, Suze, bitters) while surrounded by tropical wallpaper and a mid-century Miami vibe. And add the Club Room to your late-night plans for Monday nights: There's pizza from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., along with a variety of guest bartenders and other treats.
Retired in November 2016
- Article 24: Local 149’s new Brighton sibling, Article 24, is home to EDM-themed brunches, karaoke, trivia, and other frequent events. Open since mid-June, it’s already drawing crowds, and the cocktail list is a hit with options like three types of mules (each made with spicy house ginger beer), a classic Paper Plane, and easy drinkers like the Southie Rose — Gruet Rose, grapefruit, and creme de peche. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Bit Bar: Salem’s newest opening features tons of arcade games, fun comfort food, and thematically named cocktails that’ll liven up your arcade experience. There’s the Blanka, for example — Macchu Pisco, lime, fresh ginger, simple syrup, ginger brew, and Angostura bitters. And the Ghost Eater heats things up with ghost pepper infused tequila, triple sec, lime, pineapple, and lemon lime soda. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- Brassica Kitchen + Cafe: The team behind the Whisk pop-up has finally found a permanent home, recently completing the transformation of Fazenda into Brassica Kitchen + Cafe. Choosing the six-course tasting menu gives ample time to traipse through several of the restaurant’s distinctive cocktails, including the Tobacco Farm (Usquaebach blended scotch, Cynar, coffee liqueur, and creme de cocoa) and the Goldrush (bourbon, yerba mate honey, lemon, orange bitters). Brassica also makes aperitifs in-house; currently there’s a dry vermouth and a sweet vermouth. Check out the cocktail menu here.
- The Smoke Shop: Andy Husbands’ highly anticipated barbecue restaurant is now open in Kendall Square, and it has quite the selection of whiskey to pair with all the smoked meats. Cocktails lean in the whiskey direction as well, with options like the Bourbon Arnold Palmer (Bulleit bourbon, black iced tea, demerara lemonade, Angostura, mint), the Maker’s Mark mint julep with rhubarb shrub, and The Skinny Dennis (a frozen drink with Dickel No. 8, espresso, milk, and sugar).
- Tiger Mama: Baldwin Bar alum Charles Coykendall is overseeing the boozy offerings at Tiffani Faison’s festive new Southeast Asian restaurant, which has two bars. One of them — eye-catching with a tiger-striped wall — focuses on tiki drinks. If you’re looking for orchid-garnished cocktails served in coconuts and pineapples, you’ve come to the right place. Ingredients like Thai bitters and matcha-infused gin perfectly complement the flavor-packed food, too. Check out the cocktail menu here.
Retired in August 2016
- Hojoko: Now nearing its first anniversary, this highly anticipated concept from the O Ya team has really found its rhythm. With a completely different vibe from its quiet, elegant older sibling, Hojoko is meant to be a Japanese izakaya: a casual, boozy tavern. Drink fun cocktails — a frozen one, perhaps? — with a Japanese twist while surrounded by countless pop culture collectibles. It's noisy, it's energetic, and it's a party every night. Say hello to 2015 Eater Awards winners Joe Cammarata and Daren Swisher, co-bar managers.
- Yvonne's: Choose from the dark and moody library bar or the stately bar in the main dining room (pictured) at this new Downtown Crossing hotspot. Go tropical with a drink like the King Louie (vodka, house coconut, grilled pineapple, banana) or go the Prince of Wales route with White Horse scotch, Ford's gin, Lillet, thyme, and Drambuie. Entertaining a big group? Large format cocktails ring in at $95 — choose from Moscow mule, a punch, or a couple other options.
Retired in July 2016
- The Baldwin & Sons Trading Company at Sichuan Garden: It's no secret anymore that one of the best cocktail spots in town is out of town — Sichuan Garden's Baldwin Bar in Woburn, home to an award-winning staff, strong and wonderful drinks, and great Chinese food. Now, the team has expanded upstairs with a new library-themed 45-seat lounge, which features its own cocktail selection, including a couple large-format options. Find a designated driver and escape the city for a little bit.
- Committee: This new Seaport District restaurant features made-for-sharing Mediterranean small plates, newly launched large-format dishes, and plenty of bar and lounge seating options for a fun drinking atmosphere. Plus, there's a patio — file that in the back of your mind for spring. Keep an eye out for fizzy carbonated drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Plus, new consulting wine director Lauren Friel has been amping up the Greek spirit offerings.
- Lone Star Taco Bar: Open until 1 a.m. daily, this new East Cambridge location of an Allston favorite is your late-night destination for tasty tacos and killer cocktails. Want a spicy margarita? They've got that. Or perhaps a fernet buck, a gingery classic from sibling spot Deep Ellum? They've got that too. There's even a 20-ounce margarita "when one just isn't enough."
- Loyal Nine: This new addition to East Cambridge (one of the best new restaurants in the country) offers a sturdy cocktail list that pairs well with the "East Coast revival" cuisine (read: colonial-inspired). Try the West Indies Punch (Jamaica rum, brandy, green tea, guava, lime) or The Dose (Corpse Reviver #2, but with mezcal). For a softer buzz, try one of the "low octane" options, like the house-fermented ginger beer.
- Menton Gold Bar: There was a time when your only way to get a taste of Menton was to empty out a few wallets for an ultra-fancy tasting menu. But now, there's the Gold Bar, a swanky six-seat cocktail bar (and 10-seat lounge) with its own small a la carte menu (hello, $21 foie gras frankfurter). You can also get the tasting menu at the bar. Drink alum John Gertsen, who left for San Francisco last year, spent some time back in Boston consulting on the opening of the Gold Bar. The cocktail menu includes an "elemental" section of classics (daiquiri, negroni, old fashioned, etc.) and an "evolutionary" section that takes things to the next level (chartreuse milk punch, Menton mule, etc.)
- Parsnip: Class it up with a cocktail in Parsnip's cozy upstairs lounge, complete with two fireplaces and angular mid-century modern furniture. From a classic sazerac or Tom Collins to a hot concoction with maple liqueur and matcha powder, there's a little something for lots of different tastes. Pair it with a snack from the compact lounge menu, which includes dishes like beer-battered sausage with a spicy ketchup; tempura curried chicken skewers with mango and basil chutney; and a cheese plate.
- Townsman: It's easy to have an all-out feast at Townsman, one of the most highly anticipated openings of 2015 (and deservedly so). Or sit at the lively bar for a more casual night out, indulging in cocktails like the Peach Smash (rye, charred peach, mint, lemon) or the Elote Cocktail (tequila, corn, maras, cilantro) while getting to know new bar manager Silas Axtell.
Retired in December 2015
- Ames Street Deli: If you love the inventive cocktails at Backbar in Union Square, you won't be disappointed by the team's newer outpost in Kendall Square, Ames St. Deli, which they describe as "your friendly neighborhood cocktail bar." (By day, it's more of a cafe.) The cocktail menu is set up as a grid with adjectives down the side and ingredients across the top. For example, "adventurous and weird" intersects with juniper at a drink called Honey I Choked the Kids — cynar, passionfruit, honey, salt. Or if you just want a "refreshing" vodka drink, try the Modern Mule — ginger, lime, celery, kummel.
- Cafe ArtScience: Part museum, part laboratory, part restaurant and bar, Cafe ArtScience has a lot going on. Beloved Clio alum Todd Maul is behind the bar, working some technology-driven magic with ingredients like vaporized alcohol, frozen violets, cigar essence, clarified lime juice, and flavored ice cubes.
- The Frogmore: This new concept from the Fairsted Kitchen team features lowcountry cuisine — think she-crab soup, smoked duck stew, and chicken 'n' dumplings. On the cocktail side, you'll find ingredients like smoked peach, strawberry shrub, and sweet tea, and there are a couple of booze-less options as well, like the Porch Cooler (smoked peach, mint, bubbles).
Retired in October 2015
- Banyan Bar & Refuge: What happens when you put together The Gallows team and East by Northeast's Phillip Tang? Banyan Bar + Refuge, now open in the South End (and with a patio, too). Try one of the cocktails on tap, like the Painkiller — five-spice-infused rum, pineapple, orange, and coconut foam. Or, not on tap, there are options like the Sad Panda (gin, watermelon, lime, aloe, simple) and the Shrub You Long Time (gin, grapefruit shrub, cardamom-rosemary simple).
Retired in August 2015
- Boston Harbor Distillery: Looking for something a little different than a standard bar? Head over to Dorchester's brand new Boston Harbor Distillery, where you can take a tour, taste some spirits, and try out those spirits in a variety of seasonal cocktails.
- Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar: What better than a margarita to complement a menu that focuses on oysters and tacos? How about several margaritas? The recently-opened Loco offers a number of options, including the Little Devil (jalapeno-infused tequila, Combier, Lejay Cassis, lime) and the Ojo Rojo (tequila, cherry bounce liqueur, bitters, simple syrup).
- Lookout Rooftop Bar at the Envoy Hotel: The Envoy Hotel, part of Marriott's "Autograph" collection, has just opened, and there's a snazzy little rooftop bar, Lookout, on the eighth story for your snacking and cocktail-drinking pleasure. Its sister restaurant and bar, Outlook, will open in the fall. Chopps alum David Verdo is executive chef for both.
- Naco Taco: Do micheladas count as cocktails? Sure, why not. This brand new Central Square spot with an already-packed patio pairs Michael Scelfo's tacos and tortas with a simple wine and beer menu, amped up with a few interesting micheladas (hello, burnt pineapple and charred carrot) and three kinds of sangria.
- River Bar: The Assembly Row development appeared in Somerville practically overnight, feeling like a too-clean mini-suburb plunked into the middle of a city. While there are a lot of glistening chain stores, there are some more independent-feeling highlights there, like River Bar, a cozy restaurant with a sprawling patio. Try Another Sun God (herb-infused mezcal, Lunazul reposado, lime, dry curacao, salt); Inara Serra (rye, turmeric, lemon, orange flower blossom, soda); or Sorrel Smash (bourbon, lime, rhubarb shrub, sorrel, crushed ice).
Retired in June 2015
- Meju: This cozy Korean restaurant used to be a McDonald's, believe it or not. The easy-drinking cocktail menu features ingredients like Korean pear juice, soju, honey jujube tea, and makgeolli (a rice alcohol beverage).
- Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar: The classic Rosebud Diner closed, and in its place this past fall emerged a shiny new Davis Square hotspot full of Southern-inspired food, lots of whiskey, and lots of pies. Venture beyond the whiskey, and you'll find cocktails like the Boulevard Cafe (Henry McKenna Bourbon, Fazenda cold brew, Punt e Mes, Combier), the Lunch Car #773 (New Amsterdam Gin, lemon, lavender syrup), and a few ever-changing barrel-aged selections, like the 60-day-old Negroni.
- Viale: This buzzy fall 2014 opening, located in the former Rendezvous space in Central Square, is launching into spring with a few new additions, like the Honor Among Thieves (Lustau Amontillado Sherry, grapefruit juice, Cynar, agave); Shish Kabob, which bar manager Patrick Gaggiano describes as a "really cool savory smoky summer barbecue cocktail" (El Buho mezcal, lime, ginger liquor, orgeat syrup, Hellfire bitters, smoked yellow peppers, pebble ice, bitters); and Hazey Cobbler (Fino sherry, Becherovka, simple, fresh peach slices, crushed ice).