Boston's 7 Hottest Cocktail Bars

By Scott Kearnan  |  October 4, 2013

Boston has plenty of bars - and contrary to Hollywood cliché, they're not all Irish pubs that serve nothing but cheap beer to college kids. Anyone out for something more sophisticated will find a number of moods to choose from in the city's top-notch cocktail scene.

  • The Hawthorne

    This subterranean cocktail den (hidden in plain sight near Fenway Park) looks like the living room of your coolest college professor. But the real beauty is in its beverage program, which offers stiff, deftly balanced cocktails to spirit snobs and wayward Sox fans alike (617-532-9150).

  • Drink

    Deemed the World's Best Cocktail Bar at the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail, Drink is certainly a world-class watering hole. Part of chef Barbara Lynch's group of high-class haunts, it's filled with some of the city's most talented mixologists and, as a result, clamoring crowds who appreciate their handiwork (617-695-1806).

  • OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

    After a substantial renovation that turned it from a somewhat staid hotel drinkery to a Manhattan-esque social spot, OAK is towering above most Back Bay bars. A mixed crowd of hotel guests, young professionals and old Brahmin money keeps the scene interesting and always boisterous. Bonus: the food is fantastic (617-585-7222).

  • Backbar

    The cocktail-focused cousin of prix fixe restaurant Journeyman, Backbar is a not-so-secret Somerville gem that hipsters, industry folks and anyone keen on quality tippling will stand by. Plus co-owner and bar manager Sam Treadway is one of the most celebrated drink slingers in the city (617-718-0249).

  • Brick & Mortar

    This Central Square bar replaced nightspot Enormous Room and breathes new, boozy life into the space. An oval bar keeps things convivial, while the innovative bar bites provide an apt complement to both classic and creative cocktails (617-491-0016).

  • Emerald Lounge

    An über-modern interior with green glowing lights sets the mood at Emerald Lounge, a hopping hot spot inside the Revere Hotel. While the fun drink list accompanied by a nice list of noshes keeps party people happy, the regular DJ nights turn it into a rare thing: a place for clubbing that actually serves fine cocktails (617-457-2626).

  • Spoke Wine Bar

    The new Davis Square wine bar offers an adroitly curated selection of bottles in an unpretentious setting. And locals love that Paul Christie, who previously poured at the former Davis Square jewel Gargoyles on the Square, is back behind the bar (617-718-9463).