by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
The gin flowed and the beer foamed as new watering holes and lively lounges set up shop across Boston in 2009. Despite the wavering economy and an influx of "comfort-driven" restaurants, our fine citizenry didn't thirst for less--whether it be for microbrews on tap, super-smooth Manhattans or a floor fancy enough to cut a rug. Here are 10 new Boston bars and clubs where you'll find us after hours ... given you can make us out in the dark, of course.
(Photo: Courtesy of Trina's Starlite Lounge)
Updated: December 31, 2009
We have yet to meet anyone who doesn't understand the appeal of Trina's. You can get a bucket of Miller High Life ponies, a gorgeous little cocktail or a hot dog of the day, which usually pushes the boundaries of how many times something can be assaulted by a frialator and a condiment jar. The experienced staff's warmth and utter lack of pretension makes everyone feel at home.
With much bated breath and anticipation, Lord Hobo finally opened its doors, resurrecting the ghost of the late, beloved B-Side Lounge. Foremost a beer geek's paradise, the 'Bo (that sounds much better, doesn't it?) has an extensive, esoteric draft list (Port High Tide Wet-Hop IPA, Dieu du Ciel L'aphrodisiaque) that'll make any brew lover swoon. There's thoughtful cocktails and food as well, but it's the beer that'll anchor you and dozens of friends tightly to the bar.
Didn't you watch Three's Company? The Regal Beagle jumps from the small screen into Brookline with a lush, velvet-flocked, comfortably chic hangout. The long and narrow space culminates in a petite, lively bar in the rear, which is the best place to graze over lobster rolls sliders or the gin-laced Sassy Coworker cocktail. It deftly and deliciously fills the generally pathetic void of Coolidge Corner nightlife.
Nary the shy one with its "Benjamin Franklin meets supermodel" persona, Woodward in the spankin' new Ames Hotel caters to its oft-moneyed guests with two floors of spectacular bartending, a curio of antique "curiosities" and larger-than-life glamour that includes pops of fur and glitter. Those with deep pockets can reserve a plush couch for sipping and schmoozing; the rest of us can happily chillax by the fireplace with a glass of zin.
Bond's towering ceiling, crystal-dripping chandeliers and countless references to money aren't merely an ostentatious statement but also a nod to a former inhabitant, the former Federal Reserve Bank. The drinks aren't cheap and you could play gold-digger bingo, but the sumptuous vibe and breathtaking space make an evening here a rightful Bostonian indulgence (if not an investment).
There's no point in making "Southie's getting swanky!" asides anymore, since it's pretty clear that South Boston is already on the scenester map. South End's diminutive Franklin Cafe unleashed another location right by Broadway station, a late-night staple with an ever-strengthening bar program, New England-centric comfort food and a sleek, dark, expansive space. Come as you are; it's an industry fave.
If anyone knew the original, ultra-petite House of Blues in Harvard Square so many years ago, would they ever imagine it being born again as a behemoth music and entertainment complex on Lansdowne Street? And yet, here we are. Bringing in heavy-hitting acts, from Santigold to Cheap Trick to Arctic Monkeys, the House of Blues is an enlivening, if not exactly cozy, live music venue with burgers and beer at the ready.
We could make a "Splash is old News" joke (but seriously, it's the same space as the late News nightclub), but we'd rather expound on its strengths. It's huge, it's plush, it has more billiard tables and bars than one might find possible, and there's cabanas and a tiny fountain on the roof deck. We're not sure if we're ready for this level of Miami-meets-Vegas sentiment, but someone out there is ordering bottle service. Someone special.
Fenway fans have yet another spot to clink pints while keeping tabs on the game, but this nouveau Irish pub throws a dizzying amount of events (like live-band karaoke, cover-band performances and holiday-themed parties) and wins our heart with tasty alcohol absorbers like chili-gravy-curry chips (that's fries, Yankee) and deep-fried Mars bars. Are we really that easy? Maybe.