The 13 Best Places To Drink In Cambridge

The best places for beer, wine, and cocktails in Cambridge.
The 13 Best Places To Drink In Cambridge image

photo credit: Natalie Schaefer

Cambridge is a city filled with poets, doctors, lawyers, and scientists trying to figure out how to move human beings from Earth to Mars. Unsurprisingly, these people need a drink every now and again. Thankfully, the city has a lot of great places to get one, so read on to find Cambridge’s best breweries, speakeasies, and bars with drinks named after endangered species.

The Spots



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On almost every night of the week, Lamplighter is either hosting a cheese tasting, screening a movie, or housing a different pop-up kitchen that serves anything from dumplings to waffles. All of that’s great, but not even necessary. The beer is that good and the converted mechanic’s shop space is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. We prefer the funkier back room with the couches and tiger murals, but the Birds of a Feather New England IPA tastes just as good wherever you drink it.

Brick and Mortar is a speakeasy with no sign, no TV, and lighting that makes you feel like a noir detective with a derringer tucked up your sleeve. So you might be surprised that it serves the types of sugary shots you enjoyed when you still had your drinking training wheels on. If you're with a group, try the daiquiri time out (dto)–it's four daiquiri shots for only $20 total. But if you’re not feeling quite that adventurous, you can get a shot of tequila, a beer, and a sangrita for just $14. Whether you’re here to reenact freshman year or sip a more mature cocktail of whiskey, vermouth, and amaro nonino, you’ll drink well.

This spot is Permanently Closed.

Porter Square’s Toad is the neighborhood bar you wish your neighborhood had (unless you, uh, live in Porter Square). It’s a comfortable little spot with a small food selection, craft beer, wine and liquor, and free live music every night of the year. Don’t be surprised if you go in for one drink and end up staying all night.

Shay’s in Harvard Square calls itself both a pub and a wine bar. If you think those terms are mutually exclusive, you’re right, and the pub definitely wins out over the wine bar at this underground spot. It’s covered with beer ads and has a wooden bar that looks like it might’ve been shipped over from Cork. But despite feeling like a place where fiddle music might break out any moment, it actually does have a wine list that’s very much worth exploring since almost half of it features bottles under $40, and it has plenty of half-bottle options as well. Whatever you’re drinking, you should enjoy it on the shaded patio out front if it’s nice out.

photo credit: Emily Kan



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This big, perpetually crowded restaurant in Harvard Square is primarily known for its very good menu featuring things like crispy pork belly and grilled rosemary focaccia. But you shouldn’t only be coming here to share small plates because the drinks may be even better.

Oleana has a wine list so big you’ll feel like you need a bookmark to get through it. If that’s not enough for you, they also have a collection of wine-based cocktails made with things like vermouth, citrus, and mint. This is one of the best wine lists of any full-service restaurant in the city.

Since it’s operated by a brewery, you probably assume that Lord Hobo has good beer. It does, but what you may not realize is that it has good beer brewed by other breweries, too. It’s small, comfortable, and never too rowdy, so you can focus on your drink the way a good drinker should.

Scotch has entire bars dedicated to it, bourbon comes in bottles that look like antique lamps, and certain tequilas are poured for guests at the royal wedding by the distillery owner/Sexiest Man Alive. But rum, on the other hand, kind of gets forgotten (maybe that’s because rum-and-cokes were one of the first drinks that almost all of us had, and they usually ended up on the floor). At La Fabrica in Central Square, though, rum gets the respect it deserves. Here you’ll find a list of rums distilled in 12 different countries, a bunch of tropical rum cocktails, and a fun space where you can drink them while dancing. They also stock a few bottles of David Ortiz’s wine, and any glass of wine that makes you kiss your hands, tap your chest, and point to the sky is a good glass of wine.

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Suggested Reading

The Boston Brewery Rankings image

The Boston Brewery Rankings

A guide to all the breweries in a city that all of a sudden has a ton of breweries.

Where To Drink In The South End image

Unsurprisingly, the neighborhood that does almost everything well has some great places to drink, too.

The Downtown Lunch Guide image

9 Downtown lunch options for when you can’t have another sad desk salad.

Where To Eat And Drink Around Harvard image

All the restaurants and bars near campus that will get you through the school year.

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