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.