Welcome back to Food 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.
Back Bay is beautiful around the holidays — it’s beautiful all year, really, but especially so around the holidays — and despite its excesses (or perhaps because of them), it’s a good neighborhood in which to embark on a food and drink crawl with friends. Holiday parties are great, but meet-ups are so much easier: None of the organization and cleanup, all of the quality time, good food, and drunkenness. Plus, Back Bay offers everyone the opportunity to knock out some last-minute shopping.
Because it’s simultaneously a busy business sector and a tourist trap, there’s a lot to eat and drink in Back Bay. With seemingly unlimited options comes the burden of choice, though. “Yelp says this place is good, but is it actually good? My aunt Helen said she had a good drink at this bar, but my aunt Helen thinks any drink is good as long as it contains something resembling gin. I should call aunt Helen.” Formulating a solid plan ahead of time is key to maximizing the potential of a Back Bay food and booze crawl.
Here’s where to go — and what to eat and drink — on a Back Bay holiday hang.
An Espresso (or a Boozy Espresso) at Eataly
Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, MA 02199
To be sure, Eataly is worthy of its own crawl (check out this guide.) But because it’s just the first stop of many, and because it’s early-ish, begin with an espresso. If you’re feeling like getting after it from the jump, get an espresso with grappa. (And don’t leave without doing a little shopping: It’s the one market in the city sure to have Mulino Bianco abbracci cookies, otherwise known as the best cookies on the planet.)
A Corned Beef Sandwich at Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions
500 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, MA 02116
The sandwich menu at Moody’s is a cured and smoked meat lover’s dream. Everything at Moody’s is worth your time (the pastrami sandwich is as good as anything you’re likely to get in New York City, and the bologna sandwich is shockingly good), but try the corned beef, which comes with Swiss, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing, served on rye.
Various Mexican Snacks at Casa Romero
30 Gloucester St., Back Bay, Boston, MA 02115
Casa Romero has been doing its thing in the Back Bay for a quarter of a century. (Note: It’s only open for lunch on weekends, so make sure this crawl occurs on a weekend.) Get some guacamole to share, get a bunch of tacos, and get some chilaquiles. And drink some tequila.
A Fancy Cocktail at Oak Long Bar & Kitchen
138 St. James Ave., Back Bay, Boston, MA 02116
End the day with a fancy cocktail at the fancy Oak Long Bar & Kitchen. The Copley 75 (not pictured) is made with Empress gin, Veuve Cliquot, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, and lemon. And if your desire to get semi-lit isn’t sated yet — and you don’t feel like taking out a small personal loan to pay for another drink — head to Bukowski Tavern for some cheap domestic cans.