24 Late-Night Menus to Try Before the T Stops

Our appetites won't stop just because the subway does
March 9, 2016
by Scott Kearnan

Considering we're a city known for a famous "midnight ride," it's ironic Boston shuts down so early. Our late-night dining options are few and far between — one highlighted by last week's vote to end the late-night MBTA service that currently shuttles subway riders until 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Some lawmakers are now applying pressure to the T to keep the program, which would be welcome to many chefs and restaurateurs who consider quality public transportation indispensable to their business

We'll cross our fingers that late-night service is saved. But until we're assured our favorite drunk-dining joints are still a quick, convenient unpredictably timed ride away, we've gathered this list of late-night offerings, organized by popular T stops, for you to take advantage of while you still can. (Without needing to add an Uber fare to your bill.) 

Green Line

North Station: Bova's BakeryFind yourself with a late-night cannoli craving? This North End bakery, open 24 hours, has a huge assortment of Italian treats — from sweet cookies to savory calzones — served whenever the fancy strikes. Hungry yet? 134 Salem St.; 617-523-5601

Haymarket: SausYou know what tastes better than poutine topped with bacon- and stout-braised beef? Poutine topped with awesome add-ons that you scarf drunkenly after a Faneuil Hall bar crawl. This creative frites haven is open until 2 AM on Friday and Saturday nights. 33 Union St.; 617-248-8835

Park Street: Barracuda TavernDig those sharp teeth into Barracuda's menu, served until 1:30 AM. From crab cake sandwiches to Buffalo shrimp to seafood linguini, the world is your oyster. (Which, by the way, are only 50 cents on Sundays and Mondays.) 15 Bosworth St.; 617-482-0301

Arlington: Strip by StregaHaving trouble scoring a seat at the city's swanky new steakhouse? Perch at the bar on Friday and Saturday night, and you'll find a special late-night menu (served until midnight) that includes Wagyu veal Bolognese and a burger laden with fontina and sautéed onions. 64 Arlington St.; 617-456-5300

Copley: Tico. Launched last month, Tico's new late-night menu (available from 10 PM–1:30 AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights) is dubbed "Nekkei Cuisine." It parlays chef Leo Asaro's take on Japanese-Peruvian fusion: think spicy hamachi tartare with torched rice and aji amarillo, scallop crudo with lemongrass and crispy garlic, and shortrib gyoza with aji panca, crunchy shallots and black sesame. Bonus: chef-owner Michael Schlow's famed Radius Burger (pictured), made famous at that now-closed Financial District restaurant, has made a comeback under its new name, "The Schlowburger." It's still topped with cheddar cheese, crispy onions and horseradish–black pepper sauce. 222 Berkeley St.; 617-351-0400

Hynes Convention Center: Uni. Ken Oringer recently closed his esteemed Clio, allowing its downstairs concept Uni to become a bigger, even better iteration of itself that now takes over the entire restaurant space. (Check out the refreshed look here and new menu, which includes the above green curry crab fried rice, here.) Also expanded is the long-standing "Late-Night Ramen" menu, changed according to chef Tony Messina's whim, which is now offered three nights per week — Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — from 11 PM–1:30 AM. And in addition to hot noodle bowls, the new late-night menu includes many more small plates and sushi options. 370 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-536-7200

Kenmore: Eastern Standard. Every night is a surprise at ES, when at 11 PM a nightly set of specials are scrawled upon the mirrors behind the bar. (Which happens to be one of the best places to grab a cocktail in Boston.) They're served until 1:30 AM each night alongside some late-night standbys like steak tartare, a short-rib melt and foie gras terrine. 528 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-532-9100

Orange Line

Assembly: River BarThis Asian street food–inspired addition to the Assembly Row restaurant-and-retail complex has a small late-night menu, served until 12:45 AM that has included tasty hits like shrimp chips with black garlic aïoli. It's on hiatus until the patio reopens, so keep your eye on the springlike weather. 661 Assembly Row, Somerville; 617-616-5561

North Station: Tavern in the Square. Late concert at TD Garden? Cross the street and refuel before your ride home. Though the pub-grub menu is normally served until 11 PM nightly, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday guests score an extra hour for all appetizers and pizzas, which remain available until midnight. 120 Beverly St.; 617-263-0404

Haymarket: The Tap TrailhouseGiven all the boozy area revelry, there's a need for late-night dining options near Faneuil Hall. This Yankee fare–inspired restaurant and beer bar (pictured) offers its late-night menu from 11 PM–1 AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You'll find house-cured bacon with brown sugar–Dijon dipping sauce, lobster salad sandwiches and more. 19 Union St.; 617-367-0033

Chinatown: Peach FarmOpen until 3 AM nightly, Peach Farm is a largely under-the-radar foodie favorite in Chinatown. Even in the wee hours of the night you pick a live fish from the tank and then devour it smothered in ginger-scallion sauce. 4 Tyler St.; 617-482-1116

Tufts Medical Center: Abby Lane. Hell's Kitchen alum Jason Santos offers a limited late-night menu until midnight on Friday and Saturday, 11 PM the rest of the week. The eats, perfect for scarfing after a show at the Wang or Wilbur, include braised brisket poutine with black garlic and hot pepper–Parmesan wings with a garlic dipping sauce. 253 Tremont St.; 617-451-2229

Back Bay: Anchovies. If you're looking for an especially cozy joint to chill with a late date, look no further. This tchotchke-strewn South End dining room, noticed by its retro neon sign that beckons above the window's flower box, is a cloistered, casual Italian-American hideaway that serves moderately priced plates until 1:30 AM nightly. 433 Columbus Ave.; 617-266-5088

Massachusetts Avenue: Parish Cafe. Both the Back Bay and South End locations offer their full menu until 1 AM, including the array of inventive sandwiches, each created by guest chefs from other Boston restaurants — from Mitchell Randall of Ostra to Jody Adams of Rialto.​ 361 Boylston St.; 617-247-4777

Red Line

Davis Square: Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar. This cool, classy take on a diner car (housed inside an actual landmark diner care) serves up a late-night menu until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Besides the griddled burger and smoked chicken wings, here's where you can share a whole pie — Banana cream? Key lime? Dutch apple? — before bed. 381 Summer St., Somerville; 617-629-9500

Porter Square: The AbbeyPub-style New American (and a slew of Scotches) make this Cambridge tavern an excellent pick for satisfying the late-night munchies. Its full dinner menu is served until 12:30 AM, should you find yourself craving a post-midnight snack of a Reuben flatbread, chopped sirloin chili or bison Bolognese. Prayers: answered. 1755 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-714-4944

Harvard Square: Alden & Harlow. Chef Michael Scelfo's rustic-chic hit packs 'em in even during late-night hours, when a special menu (served 11 PM to close) turns out unexpected ideas like pork banh mi with liver pâté, chicken and snail tortellini and pickled farm corn pancakes. ​40 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-864-2100

Central Square: Clover HFIWith its 2015 opening, Clover HFI became Cambridge's very first 24-hour restaurant. It's part of a larger local chain that combines the low tabs and quick service of fast food with thoughtful sourcing and responsible business practices (including food trucks that run on recycled vegetable oil). If it's 4 AM and you're looking for a tahini-splashed chickpea fritter (pictured), you now know where to go. 496 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge 

Downtown Crossing: The Merchant. This classy Downtown gastropub serves a late night menu from 10 PM–12 AM Sunday through Wednesday and from 11 PM–1 AM Thursday through Saturday. You'll find ham-wrapped dates with blue cheese from Moody's, bacon croquettas with pickled jalapeño aïoli, sweet-and-sour chicken wings and other noshes perfect for nibbling at the 40-ft. bar. 60 Franklin St.; 617-482-6060

South Station: Tavern Road. If you want to hang with some industry peeps late night, you'll often find them tippling at this Fort Point joint before catching the last T (or, let's be honest, an Uber) home. During late night hours (11 PM–12 AM Monday through Wednesday and 11 PM–1 AM Thursday through Saturday), chef Louie DiBiccari brings out tasty morsels like fried chickpea bites, porchetta flatbread and lamb tostada. 343 Congress St.; 617-790-0808

Broadway: Stephi's in Southie. This South Boston hot spot, situated literally next to the Broadway T stop, serves a late-night menu until 1 AM every day but Sunday (when it's served until midnight).  And it's a pretty extensive array, encompassing everything from grilled kielbasa to Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Hearty appetites, head here. 130 Dorchester Ave., South Boston; 617-345-5495

Blue Line

Aquarium: State Street Provisions. Opened in December, this New American eatery (pictured at page top) offers a late-night menu from 11 PM–12 AM Sundays through Thursdays and 11 PM–1 AM on Friday and Saturday. You'll find everything from Boston baked beans with braised pork belly and brown sugar crumble to a top-notch burger topped with white cheddar, pancetta, smoked onion and housemade pickles on an English Muffin. 255 State St.; 617-863-8363

State: MAST'. In October, the Downtown trattoria rolled out a late-night pizza menu on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; from 1–2 AM you'll find more than 20 pies served in the lower-level lounge, from wild mushroom to Nutella to the spicy salami-topped Alla Diavolo. ​45 Province St.; 617-936-3800

Bowdoin: The Tip Tap Room. Chef Brian Poe must be a night owl. His Tip Tap Room, found on the backside of Beacon Hill, offers offers late diners its full menu until 1:30 AM, including Poe's creative meat tips — just in case you felt like some wild game like elk or antelope before hitting the hay.​ 138 Cambridge St.; 857-350-3344

late night