Boston After Midnight: A Dining Guide

By Scott Kearnan  |  December 6, 2013
Credit: Wayne Chinnock

Proving that life in Boston doesn't have to end at midnight, this week the MBTA announced a one-year pilot program for late-night weekend subway and bus service. Starting in the spring of 2014, all subway lines and the 15 most popular bus routes will run until 3 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, the announcement  begs the question: Where to take advantage of our generously extended curfew? Boston's not known as an after-hours city, with many bars closing by 2 AM and most restaurant kitchens winding down well before. There are, however, a few insomniac souls currently willing to put out hot plates into the early hours. We've rounded up a handful of notable late-night options, and though there are additional darlings that offer limited or special late-night menus (Eastern Standard comes to mind), we focused specifically on some  of the spots that keep their full menus available, each night they're open. Dig in. 


Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar. A ribeye steak before bed? Why not. The Fenway-side favorite among the cocktailing set also keeps its kitchen open late; after 1 AM there are additional snacks until 1:30 (617-450-9000).

Parish Café. Both the Back Bay and South End locations offer their full menu late, including the array of inventive sandwiches: each created by guest chefs from other Boston restaurants (617-391-0501).

Sunset Grill & Tap. Buffalo wings, burgers, nacho platters and the city's biggest beer selection (617-254-1331).

Charlie's Kitchen. We're bending the rules slightly here. The vintage, diner-style hangout for Harvard Square hipsters keeps its kitchen open until 12:40 AM on Sundays through Wednesdays, so that the place can close at 1. But Thursdays through Saturdays they stay open until 2 AM, and stop serving at 1:40 (617-492-9646).


UNTIL 1:30

The Abbey. Pub-style New American (and a slew of Scotches) make this Brookline tavern an excellent pick for satisfying the late night munchies (617-730-8040).

Anchovies. Casual and delicious Italian in cozy, dimly light environs filled with bric-a-brac and friendly locals (617-266-5088).

Estelle’s. Get your po' boys and hushpuppies at the South End's late night destination for Southern-inspired cuisine (857-250-2999).

Franklin Café. The dark and sexy Franklin Cafe in the South End, and its sibling Franklin Southie, are both open late for nightcaps and noshing with comfort food like the fried chicken and Manhattan pairing, above (617-350-0010). 

Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake. Chef Brian Poe's Boylston Street spot serves spicy Southwestern food until 1:30 (617-859-8555).

Tip Tap Room. He must be a night owl. Poe's Tip Tap Room, found on the backside of Beacon Hill, also offers late diners his creative meat tips — including wild game like elk and antelope (857-350-3344). 


Bova's Bakery. Open 24 hours, the North End bakery has a huge assortment of cannoli, cookies and spuckies served whenever you want them. Like, right now (617-523-5601).

El Triunfo. Get your Mexican fix at the South End location of El Triunfo, where closing times range from an 2:45 AM to 4:30 AM (617-542-8499).

Hong Kong. You'll have to deal with drunken college hordes and karaoke crowds, but the famous Faneuil Hall play palace keeps the Chinese food coming until 2 AM, and sometimes crab rangoon and a Scorpion Bowl is what you really need at night (617-864-5311).

Peach Farm. Open until 3 AM nightly, Peach Farm is a largely under-the-radar foodie favorite in Chinatown. Everything is great, but nothing beats picking a live fish from the tank and then devouring it smothered in ginger-scallion sauce at 2 AM (617-482-1116).

South Street Diner. It needs no introduction. Boston's landmark 24-hour diner has no airs of being gourmet, but as far as greasy spoons go: it's absolutely grand (617-350-0028).

Tasty Burger. A double-stacked gorgonzola burger isn't everyone's idea of a midnight snack — but what about 2 AM? That's how late the Fenway location is open, and Harvard Square keeps flipping patties until 4 (617-425-4444). 

Wok n Talk. The Jamaica Plain destination for noodle dishes, stir fry and more wok-made wonders serves until 3 AM nightly (617-487-8262).