As the craft and artisanal beer scenes have taken off, with the flavors and nuances of the regions, the seasons and even the water sources, being taken into consideration, it’s clearly a new era for brews. If the Boston-based television show Cheers was filmed today, Norm just might be sipping a limited-edition Sam Adams or a little-known small-batch beer from a local brewer. Local or not, when you’re craving a pint in Boston, you don’t have to go to the local dive bar, not when there are so many upscale settings.
Avery Bar is just off the lobby at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common. Settle into a leather chair by the innovative raised fireplace or take a spot at the 13-seat, arch-shaped bar and enjoy a Mayflower Porter from the Berkshires or a Fisherman’s Brew from Gloucester. The décor, classic mid-century modern, seems ready made for a scene from Mad Men. Semi-private alcoves are great for small parties or discreet conversations. The charcuterie board or the petite meatball hoagie is a perfect accompaniment to any beer.
Oak Long Bar and Kitchen
Fairmont Copley Plaza’s Oak Long Bar and Kitchen has long been a Boston destination in the city and, like everything else in the elegantly appointed space, its bar and beer menu is well thought out. On tap, there’s the establishment’s own Oak unfiltered white, as well as a Mystic Saison “table beer,” a Harpoon pumpkin ale and other local pours. The hearth-baked bread, with rosemary, pretzel salt and honey butter (made onsite), or the fried barbecue ribs are ideal for soaking up the suds. And keep an eye out while you nosh; you never know which Hollywood celebrity or sports figure might be seated next to you at the enormous bar.
The Bristol Bar
The Bristol Bar, which connects to Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Boston’s The Bristol restaurant, is another old-school, high-end spot for sipping and snacking. Steps from the Public Garden, the bar offers cushy leather chairs and a comfortable vibe where you can sip on a Harpoon IPA or a Pretty Things Jack D’Or while enjoying blue crab dip, ahi tuna tacos or other bar bites. Sofas and booths provide more privacy if you want, but there’s a reason that so many people seem to gravitate to the backlit bar.
The Tip Tap Room and The Tap Trailhouse
If you want to have more options at a bar specifically focused on beer, The Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill and the Tap Trailhouse in downtown’s Faneuil Hall, might be right up your alley. Brian Poe, a local chef and restaurant industry veteran who owns The Tip Tap Room, keeps three dozen beers on tap (and another three dozen in bottles), as well as a variety of fork-ready “tips,” like steak, lamb, turkey and even tofu. The upscale pub is an easy place to lose track of time. The same can be said for The Tap Trailhouse, a throwback of a venue with a very Boston-centric colonial theme. The bar has two-dozen beers on tap — try the beer flight to sample several — and serves dishes like warm pretzel sticks and stuffed quahogs.