iStock International
In a city overrun with college kids, it makes sense that there would be no shortage of dive bars. You can join 'em or avoid 'em – it’s entirely up to you. If you enjoy loud music and cheap drinks, you're sure to find a spot that will make you happy (just keep in mind that Boston's bars and clubs close at 2 a.m.). But if you crave something a bit more adult, have no fear. Hotel and upscale restaurant bars provide a quiet place to sip a cocktail, and Boston has a vibrant arts scene, particularly if you’re a music lover.

Boston Nightlife

Boston Sail Loft

The crowd is young, the beers are cheap and the outdoor deck is packed in summer at this waterfront seafood restaurant and watering hole. Don't let the beer get the best of you. Eat something! Luckily, Boston Sail Loft offers a full seafood menu – the chowder is highly recommended.

80 Atlantic Ave., MA, 617-227-7280
Tags: budget | nightlife | great value | waterfront | patio | bar | bar menu

Cactus Club

Beware: If you step through the door of the Cactus Club it means you have surrendered your soul to tequila. Between the sipping tequilas and some seriously tasty margaritas, this Back Bay Mexican restaurant/bar’s fun vibe can turn even the coldest Boston night into one hot tamale. It's not too bad the rest of the year either.

939 Boylston St., Massachusetts, 617-236-0200,
Tags: nightlife | bar | bar menu | tequila | bar food

Cask 'n Flagon

We've gone to this sports bar a bunch of times and still can't decide if we actually enjoy it or if it's just something we do after a game or because we still really dig '80s tunes. We might need another decade or so to decide. Near Boston's beloved Fenway Park, the Cask 'n Flagon’s 60 plasma TV screens will keep you occupied for hours during or after a game (or just cause it's a Tuesday and you couldn't decide what else to do).

62 Brookline Ave., Massachusetts, 617-536-4840,
Tags: nightlife | bar | sports | bar menu | sports bar | beer | bar food


The original Beacon Hill bar that served as the inspiration for the eponymous TV series, and whose exterior was shown in the opening credits, offers a happy hour (Mon.–Fri. 4–6 p.m.) with half-price appetizers. Pub-inspired food is served from 11 a.m. on and children are allowed on premises until 10 p.m. (there’s a kids’ food menu). Stay until closing and everyone is sure to know your name.

84 Beacon St., MA, 617-227-9605,
Tags: family | nightlife | things to do | bar | bar menu

Lansdowne Street

Packed with bars and dance clubs, this alley is a club-hopper’s dream. Moving from one to another is easy, save for the lines. Relatively new to the block are House of Blues Boston (15 Lansdowne St., with its roster of big-name headliners and Tequila Rain (3 Lansdowne St.; with is “Spring Break 52 weeks a year” slogan.

Lansdowne Street, MA,
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | dancing | bar | billiards | college bar | rock & blues


Location, location, location is the mantra here, where the upper crust mingles with the wannabes. Those who want to see and be seen stay upstairs; those who could care less hang in the downstairs lounge and new wine room. In addition to the bar and lounge, Sonsie also has a buzzing bistro helmed by Bill Poirier, the chef who put the Seasons restaurant at the Bostonian Hotel on the map.

327 Newbury St., MA, 617-351-2500,
Tags: nightlife | trendy | lounge | bar | wine | bistro

Sunset Grill & Tap

Whether you're a hardcore beer snob or just want to mingle amongst them, the Sunset Grill & Tap is your best bet in Boston. Legendary for its extensive beer list (we're talking almost 500 varieties – including 112 on tap), this sudsy spot also has a staff renowned for its knowledge of all things brew-related. Leave the book learning to BU and Harvard and head here to get well schooled in beer.

130 Brighton Ave., Massachusetts, 617-254-1331,
Tags: nightlife | bar | bar menu | beer | brewpub

The Black Rose

Locals and tourists alike are drawn to the live bands belting out classic Celtic tunes at this rowdy Irish pub. Show up any night of the week and there'll be someone playing. To complete the experience, order some fish ‘n chips to go with a tap-drawn Guinness. You'll be glad you did. There’s a happy hour and entertainment cover charge on Fri.– Sat.

160 State St., MA, 617-742-2286,
Tags: nightlife | pub | cover charge | bar | bar menu | happy hour | whiskey

Compare Rates to Boston

Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals

Tell Us Your Preferences

To help us understand your travel preferences, please select from the following categories

Check all that apply
Oops, something went wrong.
No Thanks