5 Boston Restaurants With Great Bars

For loners and pairs who like good food without all the fuss

Some people prefer to eat at the bar, whether dining alone or as a duo. You don’t need reservations, and service is usually more attentive than in the dining room because your server (aka the bartender) seldom leaves your sight. And, if you are dining alone, it’s your choice whether to interact with your fellow barmates or lose yourself in your Kindle.

Good luck finding an empty barstool at Anchovies. Beneath the hobbyhorse suspended from the ceiling, this whimsically decorated South End watering hole serves strong, basic, and affordable drinks, with a meniscus on every martini. Patrons reflect the ‘hood—all ages, colors, genders and persuasions. The food is familiar and filling: fried mozzarella sticks, clams in red sauce, chicken parm and cheesesteak subs—the better to get a jump on tomorrow’s hangover.

A few blocks away, Back Bay business types and hotel guests frequent the 83-foot-long, copper topped Oak Long Bar + Kitchen at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, famed for its martinis and Manhattans “served extra large and ice cold.” It also boasts a lengthy farm-to-table menu that showcases dishes for sharing: avocado and crab toast, beef tartare, and mushroom gnocchi. Working through dinner? There’s an electrical outlet every few bar seats so you can plug in your laptop or phone.

Dish at Oak Long Bar & Kitchen restaurant in Boston

A youthful Southie clientele hangs at Coppersmith, a former copper manufacturer-turned-gastropub with back-to-back food trucks (welded together) parked in the dining room and a vintage airstream serving drinks and a lot of beer on the popular roof deck. The menu of global comfort fare includes barbecue, smoky pork pupusas with spicy slaw and a Savannah-style grilled cheese sandwich made with pimento cheese. Hearty, flavorful grub that won’t bust your wallet will have you coming back for more. 

Enjoy an Aegean getaway at Seaport hotspot Committee, where they serve Greek small plate meze, cool cocktails, a selection of ouzo, and pine pitchy retsina wine by the glass in an industrial chic setting. Moakley Courthouse and Vertex Pharmaceuticals employees meet here after work to mingle with Financial District Xennials and Millennials to chow down on charred eggplant salad, stuffed dolmades grape leaves and flaky spinach pie any Greek yaiyai would love. Dining with friends? Grilled lamb chops are $68 dollars a kilo.

A sampling of Committee's meze

National steak house chain Mastro’s Ocean Club comes to Boston with big aspirations, big steaks, big drinks, big prices and a panoramic view of the harbor. A super-sized steak, rack of lamb, Alaskan King Crab legs, and/or Hawaiian Bigeye tuna—sashimi style—can be presented on a folded black linen napkin on the black marble bar, where you can eavesdrop on the new and old moneyed carnivores who appreciate courteous service and live entertainment seven nights a week. Mastro’s makes 40 signature cocktails. The bestseller is the Lemon Drop, a high-test libation of lemon vodka, sweet and sour mix, and Triple Sec, poured over dry ice in a sugar-rimmed, martini glass. It’s smokin’. 

Steak and potatoes are staples at Mastro's Ocean Club