As I was sitting in traffic on my way to work this morning, I was thinking about what I should write for my next blog post. I got the idea of listing my top 10 favorite bars in Boston and why… After thinking up my favorite 4, I was out of ideas. I realized that my friends are not the most adventurous people – we really need to start going to new places! Anyway, I am going to give you a biased list of my favorite bars – I’m sure there are lots of bars that would top a lot of these – I just haven’t been!
The Greatest Bar is never fun. I have never had a good time there, and I know others think the same. It is overcrowded and overrated – there is barely any room to dance. Joshua Tree (Allston) can have a SKETCHY crowd. There’s no cover and dancing downstairs, but not much room. It is either super crowded or super empty – and is really casual upstairs. Typical sports bar with an unexpected dance floor downstairs. All the Boylston bars have no cover and no dancing – aka Lir, Whiskeys, Pour House, etc. They are super casual. Lir is my favorite of them all… It has three floors, so you can try to get a change of scenery if you get bored. However, I would only go to these places when trying to be “casual…” which is like never… because what’s the point of going out and wasting calories on drinks when you’re not even going to dance? An Tua Nua actually has dancing, but it is a BU bar. It has 2 different rooms and there is a $5 cover. Its a lot of underage kids though… and mostly college students. So you might feel old if you’re not in college.
My Top 10 Bars In Boston (that I’ve been to):
10. Tequila Rain:
I debated what to put as the 10th bar on my list because I don’t think I actually enjoy any more bars than the ones below… SO I decided to pick one that makes me laugh… TRain! Tequila Rain is a giant dance floor with ghetto creepers standing in every corner waiting to attack. So you have to be in the mood for ugly old men grabbing you from behind as you try to have a good time (not to that extent – but kind of). You can go upstairs to Jillians and Lucky Strike while there… They are all the same cover & all connected. However, just know that Tequila Rain is a sketchy, sketchy, hilarious place. Its a $5 cover, doesn’t usually have a big line, and is a great place to dance and laugh with friends when you’re not looking to actually meet anyone or be around normal people.
9. Howl At The Moon:
Howl has the ability to be number 1 on this list – however, that AWFUL line forces people to not even factor Howl in as an option for the night. I’ve been there for happy hour twice and both times, have stood in line waiting – Happy hour started at 6 by the way! So there is noooo way that you could get there early and not wait in line. Getting there at 10 would probably result in not getting inside until 11. And if you get there at 8 or 9, you will not only have to wait an hour or longer, BUT you will lose your buzz, lack a pregame, and spend soo much money inside since you will be SOBER. Anyway, if you get inside its really fun! Upstairs there are a bunch of tables with a crazy piano bar… That’s always different and different means fun! Downstairs, there is a crazy lounge looking club the plays great music… But it doesn’t open until 1030ish so you have to stay at the bar for hoursssssss pretty much.
8. All Fanueil Hall Bars Not On The List – Kitty O’Sheas, Sissy K’s, McFaddens, Purple Shamrock, etc. (they’re pretty much all the same):
I’ve been to the majority of the bars in Fan Hall (thank you St Pattys Bar Crawl), and they are really all the same – Pricey, $10 cover, trendy girls running around with a lack of clothes on, and bros on the prowl everywhere you look. Your best bet is to go with a bunch of friends who you will have a good time with and make your night fun on your own no matter what the scene at the bar is! Purple Shamrock is only one floor and is kind of small… They have a live band and a mini dance floor. It can be fun, but nothing special. McFaddens is bro central – it gets extremely crowded because it is actually really small. There is a long, narrow space for you to awkwardly stand around after you get your drinks… and towards the back there is another small space at the other bar to awkwardly stand around. Downstairs is a small, dark dance floor. McFaddens has those happy hours that everyone always wins so it gets packed early with the winners… I always get Sissy K’s and Kitty O’Sheas confused but they are just crowded irish pubs – along with the rest of the bars. So if you’re looking for an expensive night where you can dress up and stand around awkwardly with minimal space to dance, these places are calling your name!
7. Revolution Rock Bar:
Guido central = Rev Rock. But if you’re with your friends and you’re just looking to dance, this could be a good spot for you. They have couches making it look like some really cool, expensive lounge upstairs, but it is really just a two floor bar in Boston with a lot of people who look like they are from Jersey. You can dance everywhere, but I’m pretty sure there is more of an open dance floor downstairs… I’m not sure because I’ve only been downstairs once and was near blackout. Anyway, if you’re in the mood, enjoy Guidos, or are ready for a night of fake life, Rev Rock works! Cons: Guidos, $10 cover, random location across from the Harbor not near a lot of other bars, there can be a very long line so get there early
6. Ned Devines:
You have to be in the mood to go to Ned Devines. Neds is HUGE and can be hit or miss… One night the line will literally run all the way across Fanueil Hall and other nights there will be no line at all. Inside, there are a few giant rooms, each with a different feel. There are tons of bars and music playing in each room. In the last room, the biggest room with the dance floor, there is a live band. That is where the coat check is. People seem to love Neds, but I am not the biggest fan… I’ve been to better. Cons: There is a $10 cover, and as I said – there can be a HUGE line… if you’re going out anywhere in Fanueil Hall, you should just get there early aka before 10:30.
5. Hong Kong (Cambridge):
I note Cambridge because Hong Kong in Fan Hall is the WORST place I have ever been to. Anyway, Hong Kong looks like one of those typical Asian food places… but no – you enter and a little take out restaurant is downstairs, and then you head upstairs past the bouncers and it is DANCE CENTRAL. There are three floors. You can get Scorpian Bowls!! And who doesn’t love a Scorp Bowl? The top floor is a big dance floor with great music… there is a stage too if you would prefer to get on top of that. Its not the biggest place, but it will definitely surprise you from what it appears to be on the outside. I think there is a $5 cover, but it is def no more than that. Cons: If you don’t live in or near Cambridge, this can be far away! Also, sometimes the crowd can be a little odd… but there will also be normal people there too!
4. Landsdowne/Bills Bar:
I seem to always find myself at Landsdowne… And I almost always see people I know there that I did not go out with. Everyone seems to love Landsdowne. The bar is right next to Fenway, so on game nights it can get packed early & be more laid back. There is only a $5 cover – so you’re not paying $10 aka what you would pay if you went out in Fanueil Hall… but you’re paying a little something to dance, dance, dance. Bills Bar and Landsdowne ARE connected, so you can enter through either entrance (and still pay the $5 cover, but when you enter through Bills you avoid the longer line at Landsdowne). Bills is smaller than Landsdowne – they play top 40 dance hits while people dance and drink. Over in Landsdowne, there is a long bar that gets very crowded. There is a live band that is usually really good and everyone dances. The crowd is pretty diverse… but most often there are lots of bros and young twenty somethings (college students & recent grads). It’s pretty casual – you don’t need to get super dressed up, but can if you want. They have a large bathroom and a coat check. Cons: It gets super crowded inside & doesn’t have the biggest dancing space – That is why there is usually such a long line.
Clerys is awesome for having no cover. The crowd is most often young professionals trying to have a good time, but it can definitely get a little ghetto later in the night. Not to worry though – you will be too drunk, happy, and busy dancing to notice! Upstairs there is a lot of room, tables, and bars to hang out and get drinks at – lots of people come here for drinks after work. Downstairs is a totally different scene – its dark, loud, and full of drunk, dancing twenty somethings. There is a bar downstairs so you can get your drink on still… and bathrooms are downstairs & upstairs as well. There is a coat check downstairs! CONS: Since this is prob one of the only bars in Boston that has both a dance floor, normal people, and no cover… you are going to run into a long line, so make sure to get there early! There is not just a line outside, though – there is a line to actually get downstairs… so make sure that if you want to dance, you’re running downstairs when you get there. FYI, don’t go back upstairs and except to bypass the line to get back downstairs when its crowded. Also, you may lack cell phone service downstairs. BUT – like I said – no cover + dancing + a guaranteed good time = worth it!
2. Bell In Hand:
$10 cover, longgggggg line, gets crowded, there is usually a line to get upstairs, blah, blah… All these cons pay off once you actually get inside/upstairs! The people here are better than the people at the other bars in Fanueil Hall and I don’t know why. Downstairs there are a few bars and you can chill and drink. Upstairs there is an awesome dance floor that is always really fun full of people trying to have a good time! Coat check available downstairs.
1. The Harp:
Definitely my favorite bar in Boston. I have NEVER had a bad experience here. There is more of a sports bar feel upstairs with multiple places to get drinks from. There is also a live band towards the back and some room to dance… Downstairs is just a good sized dance floor with a bar towards the back and your typical top 40 dance music playing. The crowd is always great there – everyone is young & looking to have a good time. And there is a coat check downstairs! Cons: There is a $10 cover (this is one of the ONLY places that is always worth it) and the line can get crazyyyy as this place tends to get packed early.
I really want to go to Hurricane O’Reillys, Liquor Store, & West End Johnnies… I’ve heard good things. If you have any other bars to add to the list please let me know! Leave a comment. I’d love to try a new bar and let people know where to go!
If you’re not from Boston, why not be a guest blogger make a list of the top bars in YOUR city. I love having guest bloggers, and would be very happy to provide nightlife info for twenty somethings in other cities. Send us an email or comment if you’re interested