Searching for suds
For those of us who view happy hour as a hops adventure, Boston blissfully offers some fabulous beer bars. You could go months, maybe years without making it through the extensive draft and bottle lists at these local pubs and bars. Not that we know from personal experience, of course.
Although this pub’s namesake was a champion of the disaffected, Bukowski is welcoming, loud, and teeming with quality brews. Both locations are great, but we’re partial to the Inman Square location for the big front windows that open into the street on warm days.
Besides the beer: This bar has a very impressive beer list, but if you get overwhelmed, don’t fret — ask your server to spin the beer wheel on the wall and drain whatever sudsy sip of heaven comes your way.
1281 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-497-7077, or 50 Dalton St., Boston, 617-267-5028. bukowskitavern.net
The Publick House
This cozy Washington Square bar offers more than 150 types of artisanal beers, all served at the right temperature in appropriate glassware. Plus, the “cuisine a la biere’’ (food cooked, and made to be eaten, with beer) is off the charts. Think mussels steamed in spices, garlic, and tempting beers. We could go on. And on. Maybe you should just stop by for a few pints.
Besides the beer: Looking for some place to warm up this winter? Cozy up next to the fireplace or order some of the noteworthy macaroni and cheese. This tavern is easily one of the coziest around.
1648 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-277-2880.
Cambridge Brewing Company
This brewery-restaurant, which was featured in GQ’s best beer bars in America, has some of the most original and satisfying beers around. Keep an eye out for this bar’s unique beer-based events, such as the very popular pumpkin beer tasting in October.
Besides the beer:
“Beerunch’’ on Sundays. What’s served at a “beerunch,’’ you ask? Why, malted French toast and fresh corn hushpuppies, of course. Hold onto your tastebuds.
1 Kendall Square, Bldg. 100, Cambridge, 617-494-1994, cambrew.com
Sunset Grill & Tap
The mantra of this Allston watering hole, frequented by Boston University students, is “life’s too short to drink cheap beer.’’ And with 112 taps and about 380 microbrews and imports, you can pretty much drink whatever you want. Stop in to savor a River Horse Tripel Horses and nosh on the mountainous spinach and artichoke dip. If your friends have divergent tastes when it comes to beer, chances are you can satisfy them all at Sunset.
Besides the beer: Going with a group? The “south of the border giant fiesta nachos’’ will leave very few hungry — and with 10 different toppings, will leave very few unsatisfied.
130 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-254-1331. allstonsfinest.com
Tip Tap Room
Does the taste of delicious beer leave you hungry for food? Tip Tap Room (by its very name) implies you’ll get just that — enjoy steak or tofu tips with an impressive variety of beers on tap. Another bonus? The big windows provide fresh air in the summer and a scenic wintery view in the colder seasons.
Besides the beer: Chef Brian Poe’s restaruant and bar opened this summer and has become one of the trendiest spots around. For those looking to be part of the “scene,’’ Tip Tap Room is a fitting choice.
138 Cambridge St., Boston, 857-350-3344, thetiptaproom.com
Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale
This is hard to believe, but not everyone enjoys craft beer as much as we’d like to think. For those few (we hope), Stoddard’s has a wide range of signature cocktails and spirits available. The vintage look and the Downtown Boston location doesn’t hurt.
Besides the beer: The cocktails are just as noteworthy as the beer at Stoddard’s. If you need a break from hops, give one of their mixed drinks a try.
48 Temple Place, Boston, (617) 426-0048, stoddardsfoodandale.com
Wait, is this a bar or a ’60s psychedelic band? This Allston bar is actually named after a culturally rich section of Dallas, and its smallish space belies a big and varied beer selection. There are 28 beers on tap and at least 100 bottles to choose from. Staff members are known for their IPA, Hefeweizen, and porter IQs, so ask for recommendations if you can’t decide.
Besides the beer: Enjoy a taste of Austin in Boston and hop over to Lone Star Taco Bar, which is located right next door (and by the same owners). Enjoy a few tacos before indulging in adult beverages.
477 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-787-2337. deepellum-boston.com
An Opa Opa IPA and baby back ribs? What could be better? Of course, the IPA is on today’s rotating list of 24 microbrews on tap at this Davis Square institution — so your options could be completely different tomorrow. The laid-back barbecue joint also has a nice selection of Trappist ales to wash down all that pulled pork. Bonus: Redbones offers free valet parking for bikes.
Besides the beer: Need a pick-me-up? The corn bread, the sandwiches, and of course, the ribs, make for ideal comfort food, and excellent pairings with their stellar beer menu.
55 Chester St., Somerville, 617-628-2200, redbones.com
Boston Beer Works
Choose your own adventure: Opt for the BBW’s Fenway location to nosh at the next-best place to watch the baseball game other than the park; or head to the Canal Street location near the TD Garden to sip a Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale. Either way, you’ll still have 12 to 16 beers on tap each day to choose from. And the burger selection — top your beef with anything from smoked gouda to spinach — is pretty sweet, too.
Besides the beer: The sports, of course. Televisions are located throughout the bars and the locations are usually packed on sports nights. Instead of the usual, head here for some craft beer while rooting for your team.
61 Brookline Ave., Boston, 617-536-2337, or 112 Canal St., Boston, 617-896-2337, beerworks.net
This dimly lit, homey pub is a little off the beaten track (read: off the T, gasp!), but the bike or cab ride is worth it. They offer Allagash White on tap, an ever-changing oyster selection, and a delicious artichoke dip at this neighborhood find. It’s a great place to watch the game or hear a DJ spin tunes while toasting rare brews.
Besides the beer: The neighborhood feel is alive at this local spot. The location (Union Square) and the friendly bartenders will make it easy to become a regular at this comfy spot.
75 Union Square, Somerville, 617-440-6022, theindo.com
The Lower Depths
Oblige us for a minute. Stop bemoaning the loss of the greasy Deli Haus (it closed years ago, people!) and submit to this Comm. Ave. basement’s new gig: The Lower Depths. Sidle up to the bar and order a beer from the tattooed and mohawked tenders — or pick a spot on the patio when the weather allows it. And while we may be beer snobs, we can’t resist the $1 hot dogs with creative add-ons at this tap room.
Besides the beer: It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Fenway Park. Take a break from your usual haunts and head to this bar after catching a Red Sox game. After spending money on snacks at the ball park, what’s a few more on really good beer?
476 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-266-6662, thelowerdepths.com
With a 40-tap beer selection, it’s no wonder this medieval-themed bar is the recipient for awards from Dig This and Improper Bostonian. Follow this Central Square newcomer on Twitter and get near-daily updates on their revolving list of draft beers. Can’t find a beer on tap that suits you? Lord Hobo offers more than 30 bottled beers to choose from.
Of course, with all this to drink you’re going to need something to eat. Try their truffle fries accompanied with parmesan aioli for dipping.
Besides the beer: Odds are you’ll find yourself seated next to a real beer aficionado at this spot, which is nestled between Kendall and Inman Square. Lord Hobo requires a little more from its patrons, but it’s well worth the effort — the result is a bar mostly full of real beer fans.
92 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-250-8454, lordhobo.com
John Harvard’s Brew House
Who knows beer better than a place that brews their own? John Harvard’s uses only four ingredients to hand-craft a full line of brews, ranging from an All American Light Lager to a Nut Brown Ale. No matter the time of year you visit, John Harvard’s has a seasonal beer on tap.
Besides the beer: The art of brewing isn’t restricted to beer only. Their Spent Grain Pizza incorporates the grain used in the brewing process.
33 Dunster St., Cambridge, 617-868-3585, johnharvards.com
The bar is fully stocked at Cambridge Common with 31 beers on tap, 16 of which are always rotating out. If you’re having trouble choosing, let the staff help you out with one of their favorite daily picks. Try the Cambridge Common burger for only $4.95, but don’t miss out on their famous sweet potato fries either.
Besides the beer: Take a break from the beer and enjoy some live music by local bands at Lizard Lounge.
533 Mass Ave., Cambridge. 617-547-1228, cambridgecommonrestaurant.com
We suggest you start drinking soon if you ever want to be a member of the Parish “Mug Club.’’ Order all 100 beers on the menu within six months and you will receive a commemorative beer mug that you can drink out of whenever you visit. Sip your way to the “Mug Club’’ at the outdoor dining area (pictured) available during the spring, summer, and fall months.
Besides the beer: If you’re a fan of seasonal beer, you’ll be a fan of this eatery’s food menu, which also abides by seasonal changes.
361 Boylston St., Boston. 617-247-4777, parishcafe.com
Jacob Wirth Restaurant
Jacob Wirth prides itself on having the largest selection of imported draft beers in the New England area.
Besides the beer: Sing-alongs and trivia nights are just a couple of the the entertainment options available at this Boston favorite, in operation since 1868.
37 Stuart St., Boston. 617-338-8586. jacobwirth.com
Are you a woman who is interested in beer? If so, you’ve come to the right place. BABES, or Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts Society, provides beer-loving women with the chance to explore different flavors, learn about beer styles, and hear from various guest lecturers. Men who support women who love beer are also welcome. The club meets the second Tuesday of every month at this Kendall Square spot. Meadhall offers 100 beers on tap on the first floor, plus 10 more on the second floor.
Besides the beer: If you’re looking to mingle after work, the ample bar space will allow for just that. Strike up a conversation about your favorite beverage with other folks who head there after their work day.
4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge. 617-714-4372, themeadhall.com
Five Horses Tavern
This tavern’s tagline is “built on craft beers from around the world.’’ With 37 rotating drafts and more than 130 bottles available, this bar doesn’t disappoint. Let’s not forget the brie grilled cheese or the mac and cheese– if you need a night of comfort, the beer and food selection will provide it.
Besides the beer: For film buffs — after heading to the Somerville Theatre and enjoying a beer with your movie, continue the drinking at this tavern, located just down the block.
400 Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-764-1655, fivehorsestavern.com/