In the Drink: An Imbibe Guide to Boston

Great places to try new cocktails, wines and brews

On any given evening in Boston you can find a host of happy barflies upholding a tradition of thick Irish stout, golden whiskey, sports banter and Dropkick Murphys jukebox singalongs. However, Boston drinking culture extends much further than you ever imagined, from bars that will introduce you to exotic Chinese spirits to microbreweries awash with the suds of pop-cultural allusion; and from brand new East Boston roof decks to specialty wine hangouts that serve small plates of artisanal tinned seafood on the side. As springtime sharpens your thirst, here are a few of our favorites. 

Cocktails & Wine

At Sumiao Hunan Kitchen in Kendall Square, you’ll find not only amazing Hunanese food but also a range of cocktails made with baijiu, a grain-based spirit little-known outside of China. Alcove puts a seasonal spin on its cocktail list—popular concoctions include Squash the Julep and Sabroso Fashion. Fans of the grape should head for Downtown Crossing’s haley.henry, where you can pair rare natural wine with imported tinned fish, and the street-level bar at Bistro du Midi offers great French wines adjacent to the Public Garden.


Lamplighter Brewing Co. near Central Square is the epitome of the modern urban craft microbrewery—the small batch beers, from New England IPAs to barrel-aged sours, are spectacular and cleverly named. We’re fond of After Midnight, a rockin’ imperial stout, and Werewolves of Cambridge, a wonderful porter. State Street Provisions and Russell House Tavern should register on your bar map for their extensive lists of local brews, while Canton’s Trillium Brewing Company has a stellar reputation for pop-ups (keep an eye on their social media for locations). Connoisseur’s choice, Mystic Brewery, has an outstanding taproom in Chelsea.


Location is a crucial element when hunting down the ideal Boston bar experience. Some of the best tables in town can be found at Yotel’s Sky Bar, which offers a priceless view over the harbor toward the twinkling lights of the Financial District. The Top Deck rooftop patio at Cunard Tavern in “Eastie” (East Boston) is one of the city’s hottest new alfresco arrivals, while the urban garden at Publico in Southie is always lively, and the refined B&G Oysters patio makes the high-end raw bar fare taste even finer.