There’s no better way to get a taste for a city’s personality than joining in its local traditions, whether that be an annual festival, a fundraiser, or its after-work happy hours. In Boston, the standard serving of a local brew at a classic pub has given way to handcrafted cocktails doled out in stylish lounges. Whether you have to entertain clients or just want to re-hash the day’s events with colleagues, here are our top five picks for the city’s after-work scene.
Boston’s most stylish set heads to this swank spot inside the Five-Star hotel Mandarin Oriental, Boston to unwind after work. Grab a seat along the window wall to check out what’s happening on Boylston Street, or belly up to the bar and make friends with your neighbors. At M Bar & Lounge, the cocktail list changes seasonally, so you’ll rarely taste the same thing twice. The latest concoctions are themed around date nights: try the Ice Breaker (Hangar 1 Buddha’s Hand vodka, ginger liqueur, cilantro and red chili) if you spot someone you’d like to get to know better, or the Letting It All Go (10 Cane rum, Cocchi Americano, limoncello) if you want to throw caution to the wind.
If you’re craving a more sophisticated night out, head to the bar at chef Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park, located in the city’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. You can enjoy the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star French-Italian restaurant’s full menu, or just indulge in a few bar bites. We recommended the puffed cheese balls, as well as the duck confit salad made with escarole, candied pistachio and avocado vinaigrette. For any and all wine aficionados, No. 9 Park has its own red wine that’s created specifically for the restaurant. The vintage and varietals on the extensive list change seasonally, so you’re always bound to try something new.
Drink (another one of Barbara Lynch’s creations in Fort Point) is the one bar that always tops the list of after-work hotspots, mostly because of its industrial vibe (exposed brick, basement location) and simplistic approach to cocktails. Tell the bartender what you’re in the mood for, whether that’s a fruity concoction or a seasonal libation, and you’ll end up with something totally unique and always delicious. You also won’t go home hungry — there’s a light bar menu that includes crab cakes and mini grilled cheese sandwiches (perfect for soaking up what you’re putting down).
Located inside The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Rialto is known for its farm-to-table Italian food and James Beard Award-winning chef Jody Adams’ touch. But it’s the bar that always makes an impact. Rialto’s bar menu is designed for sharing, with signature snacks like the stuffed fried olives or house salumi board. Young Won is the bar’s new beverage director who has had a hand in crafting some of its newest cocktails, including the Twentieth Century (made with Wire Works gin, Cocchi Americano, lemon, and crème de cacao) and the Blood & Sand (Scotch, Cherry Heering, Punt e Mes, orange). Tip: If Rialto is full, head downstairs to Noir, the hotel’s wine bar. You can order up cocktails and wines by the glass while you wait for a seat at Rialto.
Located in the city’s Financial District, this restaurant and lounge at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Langham, Boston appropriately evokes a monetary theme, complete with oversized framed bills bearing the faces of past American presidents. Steps from Boston’s top financial companies, BOND is always filled with suits and ties, creating an ambience that’s ideal for co-workers or clients. Sip cocktails such as the Cash Money (Ketel One Citroen vodka, egg white, fresh mint and lemon, green Chartreuse) while you dine on small plates such as house-made burrata, tuna tartare or sweet soy chicken lollipops. If you stick around on Friday nights, DJs spin the latest tunes from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Photos Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, No. 9 Park and Rialto