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The Hawthorne
The Hawthorne
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Essential Cocktail Bars in Boston

16 excellent drinking destinations

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The Hawthorne
| Official Site
Boston is historically a beer town, but over the past decade, cocktails have made a comeback. Naomi Levy, formerly bar manager of Eastern Standard, has witnessed the transition firsthand. She notes, "When I started here six years ago, if you made an egg drink in front of somebody, they'd be like 'Ew, what's that?' And now you make an egg drink in front of somebody, and they go 'Ooh, what's that?'"

Many Boston bartenders credit the now-defunct B-Side Lounge for reviving interest in craft cocktails. Joe McGuirk, bar manager at Highland Kitchen and formerly of B-Side Lounge – and an expert on Boston's cocktail culture – says, "I would argue that we're a leader in what's happening in the cocktail scene across the country. We're often there first. Places like Drink, Eastern Standard and the B-Side are kind of the trailblazers."

As Levy concludes, "The public has changed; we've preached the word of the cocktail and they've heard it." Below, a list of 16 of Boston's most noteworthy cocktail bars — with special thanks to McGuirk for his input.

Originally published October 12, 2015, as part of Cocktail Week 2015. Date of most recent update appears above.
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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Drink

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348 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 695-1806
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Known for its no-menu approach, Drink is one of Boston's most renowned craft cocktail bars. Established by Barbara Lynch in 2008, Drink has since become a must-imbibe stop on every cocktail lover's list.
Cal Bingham for Eater

2. Eastern Standard

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528 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 532-9100
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One of the first bars in Boston to put cocktails front and center, Eastern Standard remains an essential spot for anyone interested in masterfully crafted cocktails served with unparalleled hospitality. And because no mention of Eastern Standard would be complete without mentioning opening bar manager (and current beverage director) Jackson Cannon: Jackson Cannon.
Meg Jones Wall for Eater

3. No. 9 Park

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9 Park St
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 742-9991
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Pop by for an after-work drink and bask in No. 9's rosy glow. Nestled in Beacon Hill, No. 9 Park — Barbara Lynch's first restaurant — serves extraordinary cocktails in an equally dazzling environment.
Susie Cushner for No. 9 Park

4. The Hawthorne

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500A Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 532-9150
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Hawthorne's cocktail bar/living room hybrid makes for cozy environs while sipping on some of the city's best beverage offerings. Jackson Cannon — both co-owner and beverage director — ensures that everything on the well-curated menu is interesting and unfussy.
Official Site

5. Backbar

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9 Sanborn Ct
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 718-0249
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Often compared to a speakeasy, Sam Treadway's Backbar is reached only after wandering down an alley and then navigating a long hallway. This Somerville spot may be hard to find, but his innovative craft cocktails are easy to drink.

6. Silvertone

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69 Bromfield St
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 338-7887
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One of the first cocktail-centric bars in Boston, Silvertone — opened in 1997 — is considered one of the most iconic. Helmed by Josh Childs for 17 years until he recently stepped down from bartending regularly, Silvertone remains an important part of the city's cocktail culture. (In July 2016, Silvertone came under new ownership; no major changes are expected.)
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

7. Green Street

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280 Green St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 876-1655
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Credited as the home of the city's longest standing liquor license, Green Street has been a go-to for years. Originally opened in 1931 and most recently reopened under new ownership in 2006, this Central Square hangout is frequently cited by industry veterans as an essential beverage spot.

8. State Park

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One Kendall Sq. Bld. 300
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 848-4355
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A relative newcomer to the scene, State Park appeared in Kendall Square in December 2013 and has been adding its own flair to local cocktail culture ever since. Though it offers large format pitchers — and mini-pitchers — don't skip over its unique single-serving cocktails.

9. JM Curley

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21 Temple Pl
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 338-5333
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This Downtown Crossing favorite offers a strong beer selection and an equally robust assortment of cocktails. The menu ranges from the classics — Manhattan, whiskey smash — to drinks with elderflower foam and xocolatl bitters, making it a frequent stop for cocktail fans.
A restaurant interior with a brick wall, a long bar, and red curtains Cal Bingham for Eater

10. Brick & Mortar

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569 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 491-0061
Visit Website
Brick & Mortar's shiny, horseshoe-shaped bar ensures that wherever you stand in this compact Central Square space, you can see delicious drinks being made. Whether you can fight your way through the crowd to order one is another matter, but your effort will be rewarded with well-crafted, creative libations.

11. Alden & Harlow

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40 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 864-2100
Visit Website
Alden & Harlow's farm-to-table food gets much acclaim, but its wildly innovative cocktails deserve accolades as well. Eastern Standard alum Seth Freidus deftly balances tradition with trying new things, incorporating ingredients like broccoli leaf, avocado, and pistachio into his quaffable one-of-a kind creations.
Meg Jones Wall for Eater

12. OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

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138 Saint James Ave
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 585-7222
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With its iconic martini-in-a-carafe, Oak Long Bar is a favorite for tourists and locals alike. The next time you find yourself parched while perusing Newbury Street, pull up a seat in this lavish cocktail destination located in the Fairmont Copley Plaza.
Official Site

13. Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden

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2 Alfred St
Woburn, MA 01801
(781) 935-8488
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Although The Baldwin Bar is not in Boston, Ran Duan's thoughtful cocktails are worth the half-hour drive. No car? No need to worry. As word-of-mouth whispers have grown to shouts, Duan is reportedly considering opening a Boston location.

14. Café ArtScience

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650 E Kendall St
Cambridge, MA 02142
(857) 999-2193
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One of the few — if not only — cocktail bars claiming to serve drinks with "sensorial design" in mind, this Kendall Square space wows not just with its stark white interior but its carefully composed cocktails. The idea for this restaurant was cooked up in Paris and Cambridge, lending its offerings a truly unique feel.
Katie Chudy for Eater

15. Shojo

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9 Tyler St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 423-7888
Visit Website
Billed as a late-night gastropub, Shojo offers one of Boston's most innovative cocktail menus. Head to Chinatown to try some of its eye-catching creations — such as the Superhappyfunmakeagoodtimeagogo ("agogo for short"), a blend of Fernet Branca, creme de noyaux, whole egg, coconut milk, and absinthe.
Provided

16. Trina's Starlite Lounge

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3 Beacon St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 576-0006
Visit Website
This Inman Square spot is committed to approachable craft cocktails that change seasonally, with the current lineup boasting drinks like Sweet T's Punch, described as Tainah & Tony's rotating barrel-aged punch, and Lady Danger, with bourbon, Campari, yellow Chartreuse, and guava. Trina's has been a favorite for years, and after sipping some of their cocktails you'll understand why.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

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1. Drink

348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
Cal Bingham for Eater
Known for its no-menu approach, Drink is one of Boston's most renowned craft cocktail bars. Established by Barbara Lynch in 2008, Drink has since become a must-imbibe stop on every cocktail lover's list.
348 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210

2. Eastern Standard

528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215
Meg Jones Wall for Eater
One of the first bars in Boston to put cocktails front and center, Eastern Standard remains an essential spot for anyone interested in masterfully crafted cocktails served with unparalleled hospitality. And because no mention of Eastern Standard would be complete without mentioning opening bar manager (and current beverage director) Jackson Cannon: Jackson Cannon.
528 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215

3. No. 9 Park

9 Park St, Boston, MA 02108
Susie Cushner for No. 9 Park
Pop by for an after-work drink and bask in No. 9's rosy glow. Nestled in Beacon Hill, No. 9 Park — Barbara Lynch's first restaurant — serves extraordinary cocktails in an equally dazzling environment.
9 Park St
Boston, MA 02108

4. The Hawthorne

500A Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215
Official Site
Hawthorne's cocktail bar/living room hybrid makes for cozy environs while sipping on some of the city's best beverage offerings. Jackson Cannon — both co-owner and beverage director — ensures that everything on the well-curated menu is interesting and unfussy.
500A Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215

5. Backbar

9 Sanborn Ct, Somerville, MA 02143
Often compared to a speakeasy, Sam Treadway's Backbar is reached only after wandering down an alley and then navigating a long hallway. This Somerville spot may be hard to find, but his innovative craft cocktails are easy to drink.
9 Sanborn Ct
Somerville, MA 02143

6. Silvertone

69 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
One of the first cocktail-centric bars in Boston, Silvertone — opened in 1997 — is considered one of the most iconic. Helmed by Josh Childs for 17 years until he recently stepped down from bartending regularly, Silvertone remains an important part of the city's cocktail culture. (In July 2016, Silvertone came under new ownership; no major changes are expected.)
69 Bromfield St
Boston, MA 02108

7. Green Street

280 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Credited as the home of the city's longest standing liquor license, Green Street has been a go-to for years. Originally opened in 1931 and most recently reopened under new ownership in 2006, this Central Square hangout is frequently cited by industry veterans as an essential beverage spot.
280 Green St
Cambridge, MA 02139

8. State Park

One Kendall Sq. Bld. 300, Cambridge, MA 02139
A relative newcomer to the scene, State Park appeared in Kendall Square in December 2013 and has been adding its own flair to local cocktail culture ever since. Though it offers large format pitchers — and mini-pitchers — don't skip over its unique single-serving cocktails.
One Kendall Sq. Bld. 300
Cambridge, MA 02139

9. JM Curley

21 Temple Pl, Boston, MA 02111
A restaurant interior with a brick wall, a long bar, and red curtains Cal Bingham for Eater
This Downtown Crossing favorite offers a strong beer selection and an equally robust assortment of cocktails. The menu ranges from the classics — Manhattan, whiskey smash — to drinks with elderflower foam and xocolatl bitters, making it a frequent stop for cocktail fans.
21 Temple Pl
Boston, MA 02111

10. Brick & Mortar

569 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Brick & Mortar's shiny, horseshoe-shaped bar ensures that wherever you stand in this compact Central Square space, you can see delicious drinks being made. Whether you can fight your way through the crowd to order one is another matter, but your effort will be rewarded with well-crafted, creative libations.
569 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

11. Alden & Harlow

40 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Meg Jones Wall for Eater
Alden & Harlow's farm-to-table food gets much acclaim, but its wildly innovative cocktails deserve accolades as well. Eastern Standard alum Seth Freidus deftly balances tradition with trying new things, incorporating ingredients like broccoli leaf, avocado, and pistachio into his quaffable one-of-a kind creations.
40 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138

12. OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

138 Saint James Ave, Boston, MA 02116
Official Site
With its iconic martini-in-a-carafe, Oak Long Bar is a favorite for tourists and locals alike. The next time you find yourself parched while perusing Newbury Street, pull up a seat in this lavish cocktail destination located in the Fairmont Copley Plaza.
138 Saint James Ave
Boston, MA 02116

13. Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden

2 Alfred St, Woburn, MA 01801
Although The Baldwin Bar is not in Boston, Ran Duan's thoughtful cocktails are worth the half-hour drive. No car? No need to worry. As word-of-mouth whispers have grown to shouts, Duan is reportedly considering opening a Boston location.
2 Alfred St
Woburn, MA 01801

14. Café ArtScience

650 E Kendall St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Katie Chudy for Eater
One of the few — if not only — cocktail bars claiming to serve drinks with "sensorial design" in mind, this Kendall Square space wows not just with its stark white interior but its carefully composed cocktails. The idea for this restaurant was cooked up in Paris and Cambridge, lending its offerings a truly unique feel.
650 E Kendall St
Cambridge, MA 02142

15. Shojo

9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111
Provided
Billed as a late-night gastropub, Shojo offers one of Boston's most innovative cocktail menus. Head to Chinatown to try some of its eye-catching creations — such as the Superhappyfunmakeagoodtimeagogo ("agogo for short"), a blend of Fernet Branca, creme de noyaux, whole egg, coconut milk, and absinthe.
9 Tyler St
Boston, MA 02111

Related Maps

16. Trina's Starlite Lounge

3 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater
This Inman Square spot is committed to approachable craft cocktails that change seasonally, with the current lineup boasting drinks like Sweet T's Punch, described as Tainah & Tony's rotating barrel-aged punch, and Lady Danger, with bourbon, Campari, yellow Chartreuse, and guava. Trina's has been a favorite for years, and after sipping some of their cocktails you'll understand why.
3 Beacon St
Somerville, MA 02143

Related Maps