Sometimes the bar is better. Service can be more personal and the menus more interesting. Bartenders introduce you to cocktails youve never had before. And you get a different perspective on the restaurant its almost like dining at another establishment entirely. Here are five of the best places to pull up a stool.
The Blue Room
Popcorn tastes better after a cocktail or two, and the bar at the Blue Room, near the Kendall Square Cinema, offers perfect pre-movie dining. While the service in the dining room occasionally feels harried, things here are friendly and relaxed. And you can enjoy your food which features local ingredients and international influences without fear: The bartender will make sure you dont miss the previews.
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-494-9034, theblueroom.net
There is no bad cocktail here. The bartenders at the Kenmore Square eatery have the right touch with drinks and with people. Theyll recommend things you might otherwise have passed over, share recipes, and occasionally comp a celebrating couple their glasses of champagne. Sip with some oysters or their incredibly satisfying grilled cheese.
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-532-9100, easternstandardboston.com
No. 9 Park
The bar here is as tasteful and service-oriented as the restaurant, just more fun. This Beacon Hill spot is where to go when you want to eat Gorgonzola fondue, drink great cocktails, and eavesdrop on money old and new. Its also where to go when you feel like putting yourself in the bartenders hands youll wind up drinking something wonderful every time.
9 Park Street, Boston, 617-742-9991, no9park.com
The chefs at the sushi bar are sociable, perfectionist, and eager to please. One minute theyre arranging sashimi with the intensity of brain surgeons, the next theyre laughing at one patrons lousy dirty jokes and letting another handle their most expensive knives. All of the fish at this Leather District venue is superb, and all of it is sliced and plated with care, but when you sit at the bar its served with a bit more love.
9 East Street, Boston, 617-654-9900
Union Bar and Grille
Comfort food in a comfortable South End bar with capable bartenders. On those nights when youre feeling tired and in need of a tasty square meal and a well-mixed drink, Unions bar is a good bet. Theres not too much fanfare here, and sometimes thats just the way you want it.
1357 Washington Street, Boston, 617-423-0555, unionrestaurant.com