BEST 2013: Best Bar for Sipping Cocktails

Boston's been characterized as a beer city since before Sam Malone was pouring pints for Norm, a cityscape of Irish pubs and discarded PBR tallboys. But the revival of mixology sweeping American drinking culture has reached Boston. These nominees represent the best Boston has when it comes to shaking and stirring, from hipster dens like Backbar to tony establishments like Eastern Standard.

__Eric Twardzik


Well-crafted cocktails can cost you an arm and a leg, but the folks at Green Street missed that memo. The restaurant and bar's cocktail list, featuring offbeat creations like the Fort Washington Flip (laird's applejack, benedictine, vermont maple syrup, whole fresh egg and nutmeg) has no drink above $8.50, and includes several below the $7 mark. Next time you shill out $12 for an oversweetened margarita from instant mix, think about how far that money would have gotten you at Green Street.


Drink, Barbara Lynch's foray into the cocktail biz, is as close a bar can get to being a choose-your-own adventure book. You won't be relying on cocktail lists or drinks-of-the-day in this fort point speakeasy, but your own creativity to build one-of-a-kind cocktails. You can tell your sever what components you like in a cocktail, like absinthe or egg whites, or let your left brain take the lead and tell them how much you enjoy winters in Maine. Whatever you answer, a you will soon be holding a drink mixed out of your own imagination.


This Kenmore restaurant and bar was inspired by the grand train stations of old, and its vast dining room, high ceilings, and 46 foot bar evoke the scope of Grand Central. Their cocktail list exhumes forgotten drinks of yesteryear alongside fresh creations, and the list features some of the best drink descriptions we've ever read. (take the Periodista, described only as "rum for the intrepid reporter. Once city's homage. One man's quest.") In fact, Eastern Standard is superior to the grand terminals it recalls, as there's no train to keep you from spending the whole day sipping.


Brick and Mortar, which occupies the Central Square space that was once the Enormous Room, knows what's in a name. Take the "Streets of Gettysburg" (Sherry, Rye, Benedictine, Ristretto, Bitters), or the "Sentimental Gentleman" (Douglas XO Scotch, Benedictine, Nux Alpina). Their tendency for awesome naming carries over to the food menu, where you can order a "Devil on Horseback," which is a much cooler way of saying you just stuffed dates with bleu cheese and wrapped them in bacon. But don't think the titles are trying to make up for something - with unique elements like lemon oil and cocchi, you'll remember what went into the drinks just as much as the name.


We always knew a cocktail bar would be a far better Wi-Fi campsite than the corner Starbucks. The folks at Union Square's Backbar have caught on, and offer free wireless from 4 to 6 pm every day for aspiring screenwriters and laptop laborers that want something stiff to finish the work day. You'll want to stick around when genius hour ends in order to siptheir Mexican Gin (juniper-infused tequila, aveze, and cocchi americano), or prudently imbibe with their trio of "tradesmen" cocktails, priced at $7 each.


in 2011 the team responsible for Eastern Standard and the Island Creek Oyster Bar revived the Commonwealth Hotel's old Foundation Space, transforming it into the cocktail lounge the Commonwealth always deserved. The Hawthorne is the place to get cozy with your drinks, where you can take the paper plane (bourbon, aperol, nonino quintessentia and lemon juice) to any of the bars, chairs or sofas that make up its two lounge rooms. To emphasize the classic lounge setting, there are no TVs in the Hawthorne- just cocktails and conversation.

Get drinking, and then get voting! And don't forget that if you don't see your favorite bar repped here, you can write it in! 

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