5 to Try: Martini Bars in Boston

You can take back your pomegranate this or salt-rimmed that, because sometimes only a classic, strong, properly mixed martini will do. The iconic glassware, a dash of dry vermouth and a couple of impaled plump olives make martinis the stuff of liquid lunches and after-work clinking. We confess there are plenty of places to slurp its successes in Boston, but we suggest trying these five to wet your whistle.

(Photo: Classic martini at Oak Bar by Christine Liu)

Updated: November 03, 2009

Martini Bars

Oak Bar

138 St James Ave, Boston, MA 02116

The martini here may be $17, but oh, what a splendid splurge it be. Housed in one of the most sumptuous, old-money, wood-paneled great rooms in the city, Oak Bar provides you with your own personal ice bucket with a seemingly bottomless carafe of the stirred elixir. Don't be surprised to discover your eyes are bigger than your liver.

Number 9 Park

9 Park St, Boston, MA 02108

Located on one of the poshest perches in Beacon Hill, steps away from the State House and overlooking Boston Common, No. 9 Park is a dependable haven for the quietly powerful movers and shakers in town. The convivial, refined bar serves the classics with precision, including a proper martini to imbibe with care.

Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks

528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

The elongated bar anchoring one side of this Kenmore Square destination not only sports seductive brasserie inflections, but also some of the most engaging bartenders in Boston. The talented team will wax poetic about the history of the martini and its variations if you allow them to enlighten you--try a flight and taste history for yourself.

Gargoyles On The Square

219 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

This is probably the only place in the world where you can "supersize" your martini, which is possibly one of the most awesome things we can imagine. The classy, yet casual bar stocks two sizes of martini glasses: big (6 ounces) and bigger (10 ounces)--with the latter, you definitely get a bang (and then some) for your buck. Bottoms up.


433 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116

This well-worn, tried-and-true local's watering hole in South End isn't necessarily the place to seal million-dollar deals, but its martinis are nothing short of a delight. The bar's a-flowing until 2am every night, and the bartenders have a wink-wink tendency to strain your martini, invite you to take a hearty slurp from the glass, and fill it again to the brim with the shaker's excess.