Where To Drink In The South End
Unsurprisingly, the neighborhood that does almost everything well has some great places to drink, too.
Ask people what the best neighborhood in Boston is, and the South End might end up being the answer you hear the most. It’s gorgeous, it’s home to a lot of great restaurants, and it’s the city’s best place to go when you want to look into windows and steal design ideas from people who have subscriptions to Dwell. What it isn’t though, is a party neighborhood - not compared to Allston or Central Square at least. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have great places to drink. From old school pubs to wine bars, here are the best places to get a drink in the South End.
Ideally, a great tiki bar would serve at least 51% of its drinks in glassware that looks like it might be cursed. Shore Leave actually fails on that account, but it succeeds everywhere else. This underground den off Harrison is the dark, tropical escape you need to get you through a Boston winter. Don’t come here just for drinks, though, because you’ll miss a small but good Asian fusion menu (start with the gochujang wings).
Anchovies looks like a standard little pub that you can find in just about any Boston neighborhood. But standard little pubs usually aren’t filled with people housing burrata ravioli and linguini with clams at one in the morning. Is this place a dive? An Italian restaurant? A little of both? It doesn’t matter, because it’s the type of easy-going and fun place where you might make new friends by the end of the night. It’s hard to have a bad time here, and that applies whether you’re there for the chicken parm or to sit at the bar by yourself with a beer.
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If Anchovies is packed but you still want a tiny, old school bar that seems out of step with its current neighborhood (in the best way possible), head to The Delux. It’s a retro-looking place with strings lights, Christmas trees made out of PBR cans, and a bunch of Elvis memorabilia on the walls. A lot of people will be eating here (surprisingly for a place that looks like it only sells bags of chips, it operates a full kitchen and keeps the menu fresh every few months), but you won’t feel out of place if you grab a booth and just drink for a few hours.
photo credit: Natalie Schaefer
For the most part, the Southern-ish food at Beehive is just OK. And yet, we love coming here and frequently recommend it to people looking for a cool spot to take out-of-towners. That’s because going to an underground music venue, splitting several bottles of wine, and ordering just enough food so that the server doesn’t get pissed at you while a Latin jazz-funk band plays is always a good way to spend an evening. There aren’t a lot of big places where you can party in the South End, but this is one.
Five Horses Tavern
This wood-paneled spot on Tremont has an expanded pub menu (tacos and pizzas in addition to the requisite burgers and wings), and close to 30 beers on tap, including one rotating cask option. If you haven’t had cask ale before, it’s a little warmer and less carbonated than what you might be used to. It also tends to feel less filling than keg beer, so you’ll at least think you’ll be able to try the other 29 beers for a moment before realizing what a terrible idea that would be.