Welcome back to Food Crawls (or in this case, Booze Crawls), a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you (virtually) on various food and booze crawls in the Boston area.
When we go out, we often find ourselves wanting to try more than one restaurant (or bar) at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and perhaps a dessert there — and want to share our favorite multi-stop combinations with you. These crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites (so bring a friend), although your mileage may vary. Email us if there’s a particular theme, specific dish or drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.
Weekend bar crawls are for the birds, especially those birds that don’t mind queuing up for a beverage or navigating the Friday and Saturday night slop-fest that is drinking in Boston. I prefer going out drinking on school nights, when my favorite watering holes aren’t at capacity and when a seat at the bar — and an empty seat on either side of that seat — is a real possibility.
I had one of these nights recently. I ventured out of Allston — a rarity — and biked over to the South End to have a few pops at the Beehive, Banyan, and DeLux. It was a Tuesday, and each bar was busy but not so busy that there weren’t seats available at the bar. Which is to say: It was a perfect night.
Tremont Street is awash with great places to eat and drink, but I wanted to keep my crawl sequestered to a couple of blocks and no more than two streets. The Tremont-Clarendon double made sense. Here’s what I drank, and what you should drink, too.
Stats for this booze crawl:
- Total stops: 3
- Total mileage: 0.3 miles on foot, or about six minutes of walking — the same as the Allston food crawl, if you’d rather eat burritos and buns instead of boozing
- Days and times when all of these bars are simultaneously open: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily
- Number of mild Wednesday morning hangovers: 1
Heretofore Unnamed Gin Drink at the Beehive
Start the night with this drink. I wanted to drink an Old Fashioned, but one of the Beehive’s bartenders — a Dubliner called Seamus — was excited about the restaurant’s upcoming cocktail list. He asked if I liked gin, and when I told him I did, he whipped up a cocktail made with gin, maraschino, Farigoule, lemon juice, and a dash of saline. The sprig of thyme on the rim was a nice touch and paired exquisitely with the Farigoule. It tasted like Pez (in the best way), and I was glad not to be drinking an Old Fashioned. The drink isn’t on the menu yet, but Seamus said that that will change within the next week or so. It was sweet and mellow and acceptably heady.
The Middle Path at Banyan
Exit the Beehive, hang a right, and enter Banyan. Banyan can make an Old Fashioned, but opt for the Middle Path instead. It tastes like a Sazerac, a Negroni, and an Old Fashioned engaged in an unholy union of cocktails. Rye, Aperol, Punt e Mes, Creole shrub, absinthe, and a citrus peel come together in the glass for a refreshing but heavy drink. It’s part of Banyan’s draft cocktail list, so the flavors have more time to come together. Have one, otherwise a third stop might be out of the question.
A Narragansett at DeLux
A couple of heady cocktails dictates that the third and final stop of any weeknight booze crawl should feature a cheap, light-ish beer. DeLux is an outlier in the South End — part dive bar, part excellent kitchen. The walls are lined with old records, and the King greets patrons at the leftmost end of the bar.
Wednesday morning comes fast, and while another strong cocktail might derail a drinker’s work week, a Narragansett (or two) never hurt anyone. The music at DeLux will be good — and the lighting even better. Have a beer or two, marvel at the record collection, and head home early. After all, it’s the Tuesday evening buzz that helps us all get through these harsh Boston winters.