Get Another Round at the Best Beer Bars in Boston

By Jacqueline Cain

Cocktails and wine certainly compete for our beer money these days, but in Greater Boston, a good beer bar will never truly go out of style. Cozy pubs are what we do, and our region is home to some of the top craft beer-makers in the U.S. Next time you’re looking for a comfortable place to toss back a pint or three, head to one of these five spots for the best beer bars in Boston.

This Brookline classic has set a high standard for beer bars since debuting in 2002, becoming the Boston area’s first gastropub. Inspired by Belgian beer traditions, The Publick House offers a deep cellar of aromatic, herbaceous, and unique bottled imports like Orval and Trappistes Rochefort; but it also features an unparalleled draft selection of American craft beer. (When Trillium brews a hazy IPA in a bar’s honor, beer lovers know they’re in the right place.) Beyond the bar, the beloved PHouse dishes up delicious mac and cheese, frites, and enticing daily specials, plus it recently converted a back alleyway into an idyllic beer garden-patio.

Brewer's Fork

Brewer’s Fork is a lot of things to a lot of people: Top pizza shop and crudo bar, go-to Charlestown patio option, and a weekend brunch favorite, to name just a few. This no-reservations spot in Boston’s oldest neighborhood also curates a gleaming 30-tap draft system to serve up the full range of beer styles to match its food and friendly vibe. Expect to find plenty of popular hoppy selections, of course, but folks excited by elusive sour beers from world-renowned breweries like Jester King and Allagash, or smoky dark beers imported from Germany, will not be disappointed at the Fork.

Lulu's Allston

Credit: Sam Knollmyer

If a dirty pint glass of stale Peeber in a dingy college dive comes to mind when you think of ordering draft beer in Allston, it’s really time to visit Lulu’s. This Cambridge Street barroom has been around since 2014, with a large covered patio joining the party a couple years in. All the while, Lulu’s has offered up a huge selection of craft beer paired with comfort food creations. Hopheads are particularly well-served, but stout fans shouldn’t skip the Mast Landing Gunner’s Daughter Milk Stout, poured on a nitro draft line to enhance the low-proof Maine beer’s creamy, peanut buttery texture. PBR fans, try the Zero Gravity Green State Lager and thank us later.

Interior of Row 34
Row 34

This Fort Point restaurant has an exclusive Island Creek Oyster variety named for it, yet Row 34 is as well-known for its craft beer selection as it is for bivalves. That’s because the talented team running the place takes their pairing job seriously, sourcing light and lively brews from the top producers around the world to complement those clean and briny Row 34s. This is a beer bar guide, though, so it’s not all about dinner—and the scene at Row 34 hits the spot, too. Snag a seat at the large, L-shaped bar or one of the standing-room tables and start sipping: Beer lovers are sure to find something they’ve never tried before.

The Independent

Established in 2001, this low-key pub and restaurant predates most of the attractions in Somerville’s super-cool Union Square; one could argue The Independent put the neighborhood on Boston’s bar map. The Indo does original cocktails worth exploring, but the beer list is an impressive sight for local beer lovers. The 20-strong draft lineup always highlights gems from New England producers, such as an Idle Hands lager, Notch IPA, or Shacksbury Cider. It’s the friendly, cozy atmosphere, however—particularly on the pub side with its warming fireplace in the wintertime—that really keeps us coming ‘round.

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