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Bars & Clubs

Cocktails and Wine on Tap
photo credit: Gretchen Devine

Trend

Cocktails and Wine on Tap

Here’s a bar trend we’ll toast to: draft lines devoted to cocktails and wine. Hip newcomers like Alden & Harlow, Fairsted Kitchen and Warehouse Bar and Grille made room for them straight out of the gate, and Fort Point-based company Richer Pour, a purveyor of wine-on-tap technology, is helping established spots like Stella and Sonsie ride the wave. Is the allure from more affordable pours or the promise of deeper or fresher flavor? Who cares—just go with the flow.

  • One Kendall Square
    photo credit: Meg Kackley

    Bar-Hopping Spot

    One Kendall Square

    Remember when Cambridge’s Kendall Square was a ghost town after 5 pm? Now, neither do we. Partly thanks to the vibrant startup culture, longtime stalwarts like Flat Top Johnny’s and Cambridge Brewing Company have been joined by relative newcomers serving all sorts of libations: vividly described vino at Belly Wine Bar, quirky pitcher drinks at Southern-inspired nouveau-dive State Park, and classy but creative cocktails (beet-infused mezcal?) at West Bridge. Many options, one plaza—just watch your step between stops.

  • Beer Bar

    Lord Hobo

    It dresses down like a dive bar. But behind the lo-fi veneer, Lord Hobo is an impressive haven for those serious about their beer. Drum your fingers to a soundtrack of throwback alt-rock, put full faith in the suggestions of your mustachioed barkeep and sip a rotating selection of craft suds from 40 draft lines and nearly as many bottles. (Real example: Funky Buddha Brewery’s PB&J-inspired “No Crusts.”) You’ll feel like a flannel-clad king.

    92 Hampshire St., Cambridge (617-250-8454) lordhobo.com
  • Speakeasy at Carrie Nation
    photo credit Holly Rike

    Best-Kept Secret

    Speakeasy at Carrie Nation

    Psst! Slink through the thick crowd of industry types in the main room of Carrie Nation, named for the hatchet-wielding, barroom-smashing matriarch of the early temperance movement. Down a rear hall, peel back burgundy curtains to reveal a shadowy, speakeasy-style “cocktail club” that opens at 5 pm each night. This cozy hideaway is where the locals go and whiskey flows around billiard tables. Nation herself might succumb to its charms.

    11 Beacon St., Boston (617-227-3100) carrienationcocktailclub.com
  • Dance Club

    Royale

    Even as EDM mania grows, the national nightclub scene has downsized to the more intimate “ultra-lounge” experience. Royale, though, still does everything big. Red Bull-hyped throngs fill the king-sized venue to hear superstar global DJs amid flashing lights and house dancers decked out in DayGlo. Its partnership with the Bowery Presents: Boston books an exciting lineup of live acts, too.

    279 Tremont St., Boston (617-338-7699) royaleboston.com
  • Dance Night

    Soulelujah

    On Saturday nights, the tight quarters of Central Square’s ZuZu teem with skinny jeans and big, funky beats for Soulelujah. DJs dig deep in the crates for the juiciest cuts of soul, Motown, vintage R&B and (non-camp) disco ever committed to wax, getting sweat-drenched heads to bob and Chuck Taylors to tap. For retro record lovers, it’s heaven—for novices, an important old-school education. Can we get an amen?

    474 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-864-3278) zuzubar.com
  • Dive Bar

    Charlie’s Kitchen

    With its neon-filled windows and worn walls of white diner tile, this beloved beer and (deliciously sloppy) burger dive is a vestige of Harvard Square’s hardcore punk-rock days. There are still some grizzled old-timers, but the mohawks of yore have been replaced by students and neighborhood hipsters who spin Morrissey on the jukebox, gorge on greasy-spoon eats and tip back cold suds in a badass beer garden.

    10 Eliot St., Cambridge (617-492-9646) charlieskitchen.com
  • Top of the Hub
    photo credit: Natasha Moustache

    Drinks With A View

    Top of the Hub

    It’s easy to take certain landmarks for granted, or even demote them to tourist-trap status. That’s unfair. When sharing a sunset cocktail amid strains of jazz at the skyscraping Top of the Hub, it’s impossible to deny the allure of its wondrous, one-of-a-kind vantage point of our city. A famed date spot for a reason, it’s also a place to rekindle the romance with your other true love. Because Boston, baby—you look beautiful tonight. 

    The Shops at Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston (617-536-1775) topofthehub.net
  • Gay Scene

    Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell At Great Scott

    Every month, this sickening (that’s good) soiree thumbs its glitter-speckled nose at more mainstream gay nights dominated by neatly pressed polo shirts and pop-princess soundtracks. Here drag queens preen, artsy club kids strut in skin-flashing ensembles, experimental video art hypnotizes and musically curious DJs spin shimmering era- and genre-spanning anthems. A queer sensibility certainly pervades, but the creative culture and come-as-you-are ethos welcome anyone who lives loud and in color.

    1222 Comm. Ave., Boston (617-566-9014) pleasedontaskdonttell.blogspot.com
  • Hotel Bar

    Highball Lounge

    We love a bar that boasts a serious cocktail program—but doesn’t take itself too seriously. This lounge at Nine Zero Hotel has industry cred thanks to creative, aromatic bevvies served in a sophisticated wood-paneled den. (Nor does it slouch on bar bites, with hot dogs and other funky fare devised by star chef Ken Oringer.) Yet hip DJs, board games, View-Master menus and rubber-ducky drink garnishes lend goofy, Gen Y-skewing charm.

    Nine Zero Hotel, 90 Tremont St., Boston (617-772-0202) highballboston.com
  • Irish Bar

    J.J. Foley’s Cafe

    Often billed as Boston’s oldest family-owned Irish bar, Foley’s lines its walls with photographic evidence of the motley crews that have warmed its stools since Guinness pints started pouring in 1909: dealmaking politicos, scoop-scouting reporters and area barflies who know this South End icon from its undistinguished sibling downtown. Today, old-timers and young couples representing the neighborhood’s new blood clink glasses together. Sláinte!

    117 E. Berkeley St., Boston (617-728-9101) jjfoleyscafe.com
  • Lesbian Scene

    Midway Cafe

    Women-centric options are slim in Boston’s LGBT bar scene, but this JP watering hole’s diverse devotees include a strong lesbian crowd. On Thursdays, friendly faces file in for Women’s Dance Night, which features amateur warbling at Queeraoke. But cheap drinks, an eclectic music lineup and a relaxed vibe ensure that Midway can lure them back every night of the week.

    3496 Washington St., Boston (617-524-9038) midwaycafe.com
  • Neighborhoods: Allston/Brighton

    Deep Ellum

    Burgeoning trends live on the fringe. With its motley mix of college activists, musicians and (still-idealistic) 20-somethings, Allston is fertile ground for discovery, from uncovering hot bands to experimenting with Instagram filters. The craft beer renaissance has since spread far and wide, but Deep Ellum was a very early entry in that scene. It’s still the best, drawing national notice for its big, badass selection—which, incidentally, looks best in Lo-fi.

    477 Cambridge St., Boston (617-787-2337) deepellum-boston.com
  • Forum
    photo credit: Chelsea Kyle

    Neighborhoods: Back Bay

    Forum

    Forum has the glossy glamour of a high-end Back Bay boutique, and about as many pretty things on display. In fact, you’ll probably spot more than a few models slinking over to the big downstairs bar, where well-heeled gadabouts get their martini-fueled flirt on. And if things go well? There’s a more intimate bar upstairs.

    755 Boylston St., Boston (857-991-1831) forumboston.com
  • Neighborhoods: Beacon Hill

    The Tip Tap Room

    It’s all in the name at chef/owner Brian Poe’s boisterous spot on Beacon Hill’s backside. The titular tips are creatively prepared using familiar favorites like chicken and lamb, unexpected options such as tofu and swordfish, and a daily wild-game special. Taps, meanwhile, number in the 30s, with twice that amount in bottles and cans. With meat, beer and merrymaking, Tip Tap puts a spring in the step.

    138 Cambridge St., Boston (857-350-3344) thetiptaproom.com
  • Neighborhoods: Brookline

    The Publick House

    A bar for beer geeks who blanch at the term “beer geeks.” Its got one of the best beer lists around, with everything from locally brewed upstarts to intriguing Belgian drafts (the specialty of the “Monk’s Cell,” an abbey-evoking bar-within-a-bar). Pub food such as BBQ-spiced pork belly soars to heavenly heights, even as the pretense-free Publick House remains totally down to earth. 

    1648 Beacon St., Brookline (617-277-2880) thepublickhousebeerbar.com
  • Neighborhoods: Central Square

    Green Street Grill

    Discreetly tucked away from the main strip of Mass. Ave bars, this unassuming haunt hides behind a spare brick exterior. Inside, masterful mixologists create more than 100 cocktails from the massive “A to Z cocktail book,” a menu offered by request and helpfully sorted alphabetically. But don’t underestimate the carefully selected wines—or the food, an upscale-lowbrow mix as well-balanced as a perfect cocktail. 

    230 Green St., Cambridge (617-876-1655) greenstreetgrill.com
  • Neighborhoods: Charlestown

    The Warren Tavern

    Colonial history is at the heart of Charlestown’s charm, and this watering hole is part of its lifeblood. (With a very high BAC.) It’s known for being Paul Revere’s favorite bar, and George Washington’s funeral speech was given here. So tip out a bit of your Washington Apple Martini with locals, tourists and anyone else who appreciates what ye oldest Bay State bar has to offer: rich history in humble digs.

    2 Pleasant St., Boston (617-241-8142) warrentavern.com
  • Foundry on Elm
    photo credit: Chelsea Kyle

    Neighborhoods: Davis Square

    Foundry on Elm

    The gastropub foundation garners a European flourish at this tavern-slash-brasserie. Anchored by a 43-foot Italian marble bar, 30-something crowds go to work on rotating cask ales, barrel-aged cocktails and bottles of wine that complement a similarly sophisticated yet accessible menu of transatlantic fare. For darker woods and a more deeply American spirit, descend to sibling spot Saloon and try the bourbon-based Gold Rush.

    255 Elm St., Somerville (617-628-9999) foundryonelm.com
  • Neighborhoods: Dorchester

    dBar

    Before opening Boston Chops and Deuxave, executive chef Chris Coombs introduced himself at this swanky little cocktail lounge and restaurant, which raised the bar for dining in Dot. He’s branched out, but devotees of this oasis amid beer bars aren’t going anywhere. It’s still a special go-to for the gay community, which packs weekend dance parties and keeps good times roaring at theme nights like Show Tune Tuesdays.

    1236 Dorchester Ave., Boston (617-265-4490) dbarboston.com
  • The Merchant
    photo credit: Natasha Moustache

    Neighborhoods: Downtown Crossing

    The Merchant

    Everyone at the Merchant has something to sell. The kitchen team: a strong menu of American brasserie fare. The bar staff: terrific cocktails and more than 60 beers, half on draft. The post-6 pm suits that swarm here to drink them: insurance, probably. (Maybe mutual funds.) We’re fully invested in this jumping new joint, where the 40-foot bar’s standing-room-only crowds capture what a revitalized downtown should be: a commerce-friendly crossroads.

    60 Franklin St., Boston (617-482-6060) themerchantboston.com
  • Neighborhoods: Fenway/Kenmore

    Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

    You can’t bunt without hitting a bar near Fenway Park. But the handsome, parlor-like Citizen scores by offering one of the city’s best craft cocktail programs, tended to by suspenders-clad bartenders. There are also 200-plus whiskeys, with weekly rotating flights, and you’ll usually find groups gathered around the kitchen’s famous whole-animal roasts. Buffalo wings and big-screens, this is not.

    1310 Boylston St., Boston (617-450-9000) citizenpub.com
  • Neighborhoods: Financial District

    Vintage Restaurant and Lounge

    It’s an all-new Vintage, reopened this spring with a fresh interior and elevated menu under new chef Hugh Carlton Buckley. (And with 500-plus wines, pairings shouldn’t be a problem.) A convivial patio hosts cocktails and chatter, while guests inside mingle between the lounge, built in 1805, and the dining room and bar area, built in 2006—because with a little update, the best of the old and new can sit side by side.

    72 Broad St., Boston (617-482-1900) vlboston.com
  • Neighborhoods: Fort Point

    Drink

    Fort Point has become a food-and-drink destination in recent years, and chef/mogul Barbara Lynch helped put it on the map with this perennially cool cornerstone of the Hub’s craft cocktail scene, where some of Boston’s brightest bartenders cut their teeth under beverage guru and historian John Gertsen. Custom libations, industry-baiting Tiki Nights and an off-menu, limited-availability burger of Barbara-level greatness impart in-the-know awesomeness.

    348 Congress St., Boston (617-695-1806) drinkfortpoint.com
  • Neighborhoods: Greenway

    Trade

    If an intimate cocktail klatch is your idea of a good time, head elsewhere. This industrial-chic, Atlantic Wharf-side sparkler from star chef Jody Adams gets loud and buzzy with well-dressed dudes and dames. They mingle at a big bar with beautiful cocktails personalized through the new TRADECreates program: Fill out a quick questionnaire, and your bartender will whip one up just for you.

    540 Atlantic Ave., Boston (617-451-1234) trade-boston.com
  • Neighborhoods: Harvard Square

    Grendel’s Den

    You started in Harvard Square, but one right turn, and you’re suddenly in Middle-earth. Or so this hobbit-hole-like hideaway might lead you to believe. (As would the professors, students and charming nerds debating the sociopolitical import of The Lord of the Rings.) Hearty spreads like the Beggar’s Banquet, offered half-price during certain happy hours, are washed down with frothy pints of eclectic beers. Grendel’s name nods to Beowulf, and this place is pretty epic.

    89 Winthrop St., Cambridge (617-491-1160) grendelsden.com
  • Neighborhoods: Inman Square

    The Druid

    Without its own Red Line stop, Inman often gets overlooked. Good. More room for us at this cozy Irish pub, a friendly and unassuming watering hole where you’ll want to unwind with a perfect Guinness pour, watching live fiddlers or delving into truly tasty bar food—especially the standout veggie burger and Irish breakfast.

    1357 Cambridge St., Cambridge (617-497-0965) druidpub.com
  • Neighborhoods: Jamaica Plain

    Brendan Behan Pub

    In crunchy JP, the come-as-you-are spirit extends to what many consider the best, most authentic Irish bar in Boston. (Sit down, Southie.) Ireland’s Sunday Tribune once named it Boston’s best watering hole, so there’s true Éire-given cred, and the live music often includes traditional Irish seisúns. There’s no kitchen here, but the genial staff lets you bring your own food. (Seriously.) The cash-only policy is a small price to pay.

    378 Centre St., Boston (617-522-5386) brendanbehanpub.com
  • Meadhall
    Photo Credit: Holly Rike

    Neighborhoods: Kendall Square

    Meadhall

    Like a beer-soaked beacon, Meadhall lures an enterprising crowd from Kendall Square’s startup scene. Plenty of inspiration is found at the expansive oval bar with more than 100 taps, including familiar favorites and unique microbrews. (Discover even more at an upstairs mezzanine bar.) And Meadhall’s light-filled airiness is a nice break from dim dives. File under: entrepreneurial spirits. 

    4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge (617-714-4372) themeadhall.com
  • Neighborhoods: Newton

    Sycamore

    Masterful bar manager Scott Shoer has spent nearly 20 years in the field, opening hot spots like Excelsior. By comparison, Sycamore is sedate and suburban, but armed with all of the same intoxicating expertise. For non-locals, it’s worth the jaunt to discover impeccably balanced cocktails made with fresh, seasonal ingredients: the bloody-inspired Ghost of Mary with spicy tomato water and house dilly bean, or the Grey Lady with Berkshires-distilled gin, tarragon-infused Cocchi Americano and rhubarb syrup.

    755 Beacon St., Newton (617-244-4445) sycamorenewton.com
  • Ward 8
    photo credit: Natasha Moustache

    Neighborhoods: North End

    Ward 8

    With a cozy restaurant scene drenched in red sauce and redder wine, the North End has plenty of places for couples to canoodle. Singles? You’ll find them gathering around the 30-seat white marble bar at this uncharacteristically (for the neighborhood) contemporary spot, where hotshot beverage director Mike Wyatt serves up a serious cocktail program. It includes the eponymous Ward 8, a whiskey cocktail born in 1898 at the late and venerable Boston institution Locke-Ober.

    90 N. Washington St., Boston (617-823-4478) ward8.com
  • Neighborhoods: Porter Square

    Cambridge Common

    Not all neighborhood pubs are created equal. They all have beer, but not this thoughtfully assembled lineup of crafty stuff with a rotating cask selection. Burgers? Everywhere, but not these delicious, dripping patties delivered with sweet smirks. And though there’s live music elsewhere, the downstairs Lizard Lounge has an intimate charm. There’s no theme or shtick, but everything about this neighborhood favorite conveys one word: uncommon.

    1667 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-547-1228) cambridgecommonrestaurant.com
  • Gather
    photo credit: Natasha Moustache

    Neighborhoods: Seaport

    Gather

    This airy entry in the lively Seaport scene is housed inside District Hall, a massive space billed as the world’s first freestanding public innovation center. Naturally, you’ll find ambitious entrepreneurs plotting tech industry takeovers by scribbling notes on cocktail napkins. The rest of us stick to tippling fresh, sweet but not saccharine libations, like the Contemporary Art, featuring muddled berries and fruit juices. Bonus: ICA members get a free Chef’s Whim appetizer.

    75 Northern Ave., Boston (617-982-7220) gatherboston.com
  • Neighborhoods: South Boston

    Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant

    The spirit of the “new” (read: hipper) Southie runs high at this designer-label version of a neighborhood tavern. Two bars, each running the length of the dining room, hum with the area’s influx of young couples and recent transplants. And though cocktails like the bourbon- and maple-rich Quiet Man sound appropriately grizzled, the space is made for Sunday brunchers who know more about Johnny Depp than Whitey Bulger.

    425 W. Broadway, Boston (617-765-8636) lincolnsouthboston.com
  • The Beehive
    photo credit: Holly Rike

    Neighborhoods: South End

    The Beehive

    Sure, some cocktailing couples hang by the upstairs bar, but most descend into the subterranean hive of exposed brick and velvety drapes, one that looks like a love nest for a beat poet and a kooky cancan girl from the Moulin Rouge. There’s a dining room, another bar and cabaret seating by a small stage where jazz divas croon. And they’re all full. Years after other hot spots lost their allure, this place is still buzzing.

    541 Tremont St., Boston (617-423-0069) beehiveboston.com
  • Neighborhoods: Union Square

    backbar

    Co-owner Sam Treadway is celebrated as one of the area’s top mixology gurus, so it’s no surprise that his hidden den of bitters-imbued delights—so discreet that its first letter is lowercase—is ground zero for serious cocktail connoisseurs. Taking cues from its neighboring parent, the adventurous restaurant Journeyman, backbar similarly spotlights local ingredients in innovative but gimmick-free concoctions.

    7 Sanborn Court, Somerville (617-718-0249) backbarunion.com
  • Hopsters Brew & Boards
    credit: Kristin Teig

    New Addition

    Hopsters Brew & Boards

    If you dig the DIY beer-making movement but aren’t willing to turn your living room into a microbrewery, Hopsters offers a fairly brilliant solution. Swing by to formulate a recipe and fill your kettle with the right hops and malts to make three cases of beer. (You’ll return later to bottle it.) Between steps, stay inspired by sampling craft cold ones at the bar, or dive into ploughman’s platters of artisanal meats and cheeses.

    292 Centre St., Newton (617-916-0752) hopsters.net
  • Patio Bar

    Sterling’s

    The rat race always kept downtown Boston busy from 9 to 5. But thanks to a spate of exciting new openings, the area is getting foot traffic after office hours. And this spacious (no, huge) patio makes for perfect people watching. Inside, sleek woods and fancy light fixtures telegraph a handsome midcentury cocktail bar, but bring those ’tinis outside to take in fresh air and Sterling’s buzzing social scene.

    60 State St., Boston (617-531-8200) sterlingsboston.com
  • Place to Drink Alone

    21st Amendment

    The spirit of this historic Beacon Hill tavern lends itself to sipping solo as well as to socializing. If you want to rub shoulders with neighborhood regulars or play trivia with State House workers, it’s that Boston landmark where everybody (actually) knows your name. But a come-and-go breeziness allows truly anyone seeking solitude to grab a pint and get lost in the crowd. Here, it’s said, JFK wrote speeches undisturbed in a cozy corner booth. 

    150 Bowdoin St., Boston (617-227-7100) 21stboston.com
  • Pre/Post-Fenway Park Bar

    The Lower Depths Tap Room

    Let the tourists mob those besieged bars on Lansdowne and Brookline. This subterranean Kenmore Square spot is for beer lovers with better taste, anyway.  There are more than 150 varieties of draft, can and bottled craft brews, plus kitschy-but-quality grub like tater tot platters and the “White Trash Fenway Frank.” (It’s topped with beer cheese.) But bring some green before you hit the game: Lower Depths is cash-only.

    476 Comm. Ave., Boston (617-266-6662) thelowerdepths.com
  • Pre/Post-TD Garden Bar

    Porters Bar and Grill

    Whether they’re pregaming for the Celtics or killing time before a concert, Porters is a favorite stopover for Garden guests. After all, its strong, straightforward American pub fare, in particular a wide array of juicy burgers, helps to sop up the suds tipped back in final-period celebration. And in defeat? Well, nothing soothes the wounds like a warm bar stool, a cold beer and neighbors who know your pain.

    173 Portland St., Boston (617-742-7678) portersbar.com
  • Strega and Strega Waterfront
    photo credit: Holly Rike

    Pro-Athlete Playground

    Strega and Strega Waterfront

    Whether they’re hopping behind the bar for a celebrity-studded fundraiser or fraternizing over heaped plates of penne arrabiata in a corner booth, pro athletes come to play at these North End and harborside Italian spots from restaurateur Nick Varano. His boisterous hospitality is a big reason sports icons like Shaq, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker have been known to light up the scene—and the faces of starstruck fans.

    1 Marina Park Drive, Boston (617-345-3992) stregawaterfront.com; 379 Hanover St., Boston (617-523-8481) stregaristorante.com
  • Rooftop Bar

    Rooftop at Revere

    Boston channels South Beach at Rooftop at Revere, the hotel’s sun-soaked terrace lounge, a frequent host to fashion shows and summer shindigs. Here, pretty people kick back in crisp white cabanas and cool off with dips in a glass-enclosed pool. Servers in sporty swimwear designed by a Vogue editor deliver pitchers of refreshing cocktails and tropics-evoking bar bites (like shrimp ceviche infused with Nantucket-made pineapple-jalapeno liqueur). It’s the height of fabulous.  

    Revere Hotel, 200 Stuart St., Boston (617-482-1800) reverehotel.com/rooftop
  • Singles’ Scene, over 30

    OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

    With its 2012 renovation, the Fairmont Copley’s storied Oak Room traded traditional hotel opulence for modern chic—and transformed into a sleeker, sexier and more confident version of itself. (Sort of like you entering your 30s.) Now cocktail-sipping singles flirt around the central copper-topped bar and whisper in tufted leather club seats. Enduringly elegant pre-renovation details—coffered ceilings, dramatic windows—remain as attractive reminders of history, not age.  

    Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 St. James Ave., Boston (617-585-7222) oaklongbarkitchen.com
  • Singles’ Scene, under 30

    Brahmin

    Don’t let the genteel name fool you. Top buttons come undone, ties get loosened and, to the tune of weekend DJs, fists get pumped at this fun Back Bay magnet for 20-something professionals. After-work crowds file in for cocktails and dressed-up takes on American tavern fare—but as the night rolls on, the air gets thick with schmoozing, boozing and a little red-blooded (not blue-blooded) bumping and grinding.

    33 Stanhope St., Boston (617-723-3131) thebrahmin.com
  • Sports Bar

    Parlor Sports

    Behold, a sports bar for people who aren’t into sports bars. Cut from similar cloth as its sibling neighbor, hipster-friendly Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Parlor Sports has way fewer meatheads and much better food and drink than the average gameday destination for sports fans. Plenty of flat-screen TVs ensure that you won’t miss the action, but food-nerd takes on stadium fare (like pickle-brined chicken strips and a corn dog with honey mustard) are attention-grabbing on their own.

    3 Beacon St., Somerville (617-576-0231) parlorsportsbar.com
  • Summer Scene

    Boston Harbor Hotel

    Sun and sea breeze are mandatory ingredients for summer fun, and this harborside hotel offers all the best of the neighboring Seaport in a classy, condensed complex. Four on-site bars and restaurants afford experiences that include refined dining (Meritage), alfresco cocktailing (The Alley Bar at Rowes Wharf) and live music playing from a floating stage three nights a week (Rowes Wharf Sea Grille). Catch a buzz, then a classic flick under the stars during Friday’s Movies by Moonlight series.

    Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston (617-439-7000) bhh.com
  • Trivia Night

    Champion of Champions at the Middle East Corner

    Pop quiz: Are all trivia nights created equal? Answer: No way. As evidence, we give you this inventive entry, which is closer to a Double Dare-style game show. It includes two comedic co-hosts, interactive challenges, weird arts ’n’ crafts, “celebrity guests” and slickly produced YouTube videos with their own trivia questions. You can watch them at home and then bring your answers to the monthly live meetup. 

    480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-864-3278) quizchampions.com
  • Watering Hole for the Well-Heeled

    BOND at the Langham

    Considering that Bond is housed in the former Federal Reserve Bank, it’s no surprise that this sexy nightspot is where deep pockets go to splurge on bottle service (perhaps in the balcony’s private Dom Perignon Lounge) and internationally inspired bites. Swathed in opulent red and gold, the swank, dramatic chamber booms with bass from rotating DJs, who get expensive stilettos stomping across the floor’s original inlaid bank seal. Old Boston—meet young money. 

    Langham Hotel Boston, 250 Franklin St., Boston (617-956-8765) bondboston.com
  • Wine Bar

    Spoke

    Old World wines dominate the list at this Davis Square favorite, but the atmosphere is unmistakably modern. Sleek wood fixtures and lush felt-covered walls (surprisingly adept sound absorbers) create an intimate cocoon of a wine bar, where unstuffy oenophiles find a meticulously curated wine menu accompanied by sophisticated (and gorgeous!) small plates like fried Vermont quail and branzino crudo.

    89 Holland St., Somerville (617-718-9463) spokewinebar.com

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