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A woman sits in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A woman sits in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Thomas Hawk/Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Follow a Visit to the Museum of Fine Arts With Drinks in Brigham Circle

Art plus beer equals one hell of a Wednesday night

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.


When’s the last time you went to the Museum of Fine Arts? If it’s been a while, make plans to visit some Wednesday evening (when admission is free from 4 p.m. until close, although the museum suggests a donation of $25, the usual adult ticket price) before the Mark Rothko exhibition leaves.

And while you’re in the neighborhood, you might as well stick around for a bit and have a couple of drinks. Grab your first at the chic New American Cafe inside the MFA’s Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard, and sip it while marveling at Dale Chihuly’s breathtaking and absurd “Lime Green Icicle Tower.”

From there, move up the road toward Mission Hill, making stops at the Squealing Pig, Flann O’Brien’s, and Penguin Pizza before hopping on the 66 or the E train en route home and toward a rough Thursday morning.

  • Total stops: Four
  • Modern masterpieces seen: Hundreds
  • Overpriced museum beers slugged: One or two, depending on how buzzed you like to be while looking at art
  • Tuscan fries consumed: A basket among friends

An Overpriced Lager at the New American Cafe

465 Huntington Ave., Boston

mfa new american cafe
A decent place to drink a beer
Museum of Fine Arts/Facebook

The Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard is stunning. Made from glass, steel, granite, and limestone, the space houses the New American Cafe and Chihuly’s sculpture, which looks like an infinity agave plant. Staring at the fantastical glass piece — which weighs 10,000 pounds and is equally adept at sucking light in as it is emitting it — is a trip without any chemical help. Have a few beers, and then you’ll really feel as though Chihuly has altered your universe.

A Pint and Some Tuscan Fries at the Squealing Pig

134 Smith St., Boston

squealing pig
Good beers and good pub food
The Squealing Pig/Facebook

The Squealing Pig on Mission Hill resembles its sister in Provincetown (which is also good), its panes segmented by cream mullions and its edges and base accented blue and red — each looks like a pub you might find in a small village in Ireland. And like at the Provincetown location, Boston drinkers will find an impressive pub menu — split the Tuscan fries with friends — and a deep beer list. You just spent an hour or so gawking at art, so keep it classy and drink something Belgian. (You know they’ve got Chimay at the Pig.)

Another Pint at Flann O’Brien’s

1619 Tremont St., Boston

flann o’brien’s
A good Mission Hill dive
Google Maps

Flann’s is part townie dive, part Northeastern haunt, and part post-hospital shift meet-up. If you head there before the students get back — you’re going to the Rothko show before it ends at the end of the month, so that shouldn’t be an issue — you’ll be able to sip your Magners in relative peace while reflecting on Hans Hofmann’s influence on abstract expressionism.

Another Pint (and Maybe a Slice) at Penguin Pizza

735 Huntington Ave., Boston

penguin pizza
Never not missing the duck confit pizza
Penguin Pizza/Facebook

When I turned 21, a critical mass of my closest friends was living on Mission Hill. I was young and clueless then, and I remember being blown away that someone might put duck confit on a pizza. I also remember being a bit too excited by the mug club: Drink every beer Penguin hawks, and get your own personalized mug to drink from whenever you patronize the bar. I don’t go to Penguin much these days, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the space. Hit this spot last, and choose a pint, can, or bottle from Penguin’s deep beer list. It stopped serving the duck confit pizza several months ago, but a slice of pepperoni isn’t a bad option if you’re in need of mopping up some of that beer.

Penguin Pizza

735 Huntington Avenue, , MA 02115 (617) 277-9200 Visit Website

Flann O'Brien's

1619 Tremont Street, , MA 02120 (617) 566-7744 Visit Website

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