Chris Olds of PARK
"Trina's Starlite Lounge on the Cambridge-Somerville line. There is something very special about Starlite to me. They have a staff that embodies everything I look for in a bar: great hospitality, great cocktails, great music. They're just as comfortable making complicated cocktails as they are the classics or even just slinging you a High Life and a shot of Fernet. Also, Monday Brunch. For us. With lots of Fernet. Man, I love that place..."
Favorite Dive Bar: T.C.'s
"I have to give a shout out to T.C.'s over by Berklee even though it burned down recently. That place was stupendous. Spectacularly weird video games, amazing jukebox, bartenders I wondered if I should be cutting off and walls covered with photos and memorabilia. That place had lifetimes of blacked-out memories on display. But my mainstay is Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square for Tuesday night karaoke and another great jukebox any other night of the week."
1 Haviland St, Boston MA 02199 (map); 617-247-8109
Favorite Bar For Beer: Deep Ellum
"The crew over there has an incredible program with so many local and international beers that I don't know how to keep up. They also introduced me to cask beer a few years back. I owe a lot of my beer knowledge to them.."
Favorite Bar For Wine: Toro or The Butcher Shop
"For wine I head to the South End and put myself in the hands of my friends at Toro or The Butcher Shop. Toro has an excellent Spanish wine portfolio that perfectly complements their equally excellent tapas. The Butcher Shop pairs fine charcuterie with wines from all over Europe. If I ever have people from out of town looking for another place to have dinner, these two are at the top of my list."
Kevin Martin of Eastern Standard
"I know that when I visit Misty Kalkofen at her horseshoe shaped bar I can count on a fitting cocktail and service with a smile--and listening to vinyl!"
Favorite Dive Bar: The Model
"You can always count on them to be open after a long holiday shift."
7 N Beacon St, Allston MA 02134 (map); 617-254-9365;
Favorite Bar For Beer: Deep Ellum
"They always have something new and unusual to try."
Favorite Bar For Wine: The Blue Room
"I'm into the eclectic wine list including their natural wine offerings. Plus you can also crush sick food sitting on their patio!"
Jared Sadoian of Craigie on Main
"Thankfully there's a lot of great places to grab a well-crafted drink in this area nowadays, but I usually end up at Eastern Standard when I'm in a cocktailing mood. They've got a deep spirits selection at very reasonable prices, plus bartenders that can balance craft cocktails and fast, friendly service with ease. Aside from enjoying their lovely drinks and well-executed brasserie fare, I love sitting at the end of their long marble bar and watching the diverse scene this place attracts. Whether it's well-heeled diners out for a nice night out, a group of twenty-somethings in Sox gear drinking Bud Light, or a couple of cocktail enthusiasts sipping their way through the lengthy cocktail list, ES definitely has something for everyone."
Favorite Dive Bar: The Corner Tavern
"It's more of a simple 'neighborhood bar' than a dive, but Corner Tavern has been the go-to post-work destination for a lot of us here at Craigie. Almost a hole in the wall, it's fun without being deafeningly loud, with attentive yet casual staff, and a good selection of simple and effective food and drink. At 1:30 am though, the bottom line is a cool mix of super-friendly people and ice cold beer. What more can you ask after a long night of service?"
Favorite Bar For Beer: Lord Hobo
"Lord Hobo gets my vote for beer. They have an extensive tap list that covers a wide swath of the beer world, and a great staff that can guide you through the menu with ease. The place is low key, unpretentious, and it usually fills nightly with an interesting crowd of locals that always keeps things lively."
Favorite Bar For Wine: Bergamot
"For wine, I head to Bergamot. They've got a well-curated list that has a lot of overlap with what I'm excited about at Craigie, that is, lesser-known, small production, old world wines. Pair that with a staff that's palpably excited to share their enthusiasm for all this wine and you have a winning combination. Bergamot's food is spectacular to boot, whether you're having absolutely killer charcuterie at the bar or a full-on multi-course dinner at a dining room table."
Rob Macey of Area Four
"If I was telling somebody not from Boston where to get a cocktail, I'd say Eastern Standard because they make their delicious cocktails as correctly as any place in town. Craigie has a great bar program going on and it's very professional, but I gravitate towards places that can do the classics well and are also constantly experimenting with new flavors and incorporate a bit of whimsy. For that reason, Trina's Starlite Lounge in Somerville, and Citizen in the Fenway are my go-to places because they keep the mood light, but the liquor serious."
Favorite Dive Bar: The Independent
"*DISCLAIMER*--I don't really frequent "dive" bars, because to me, "dive bar" signifies sawdust on the floor, the unmistakable odor of different bodily fluids, and the possibility of some guy starting a fight because you looked at his girlfriend. This is an old school look/approach to dives, and that stigma has been lifted for the most part; now I view dives as a basic place to get a beer and a shot. I suppose the less classy half (left side) of the Independent in Union Square would be my vote for best dive bar. For a small bar they have an incredibly diverse tap/bottle list, and although they do everything well and the customer service is excellent, it feels like they don't really care. And if anyone from the Independent is reading this, I mean that in the best way possible. Tavern At the End of the World in Charlestown is a close second. It's a townie bar that turns into an industry bar for the last hour of the night. Decent beers, and you have to work really hard to get cut off there. The Red Hat in Boston is close to my heart also. I'm old friends with a bartender there, and I can try all the crazy Pinnacle/Van Gogh/Three Olives vodka flavors without buying a bottle, because they have them all."
Favorite Bar For Beer: The Publick House
"The Publick House in Brookline is hands down the best place to go for beer in Boston. Every different beer has its own specific glass, there are the classic and the eclectic Belgian selections, powerhouse American breweries that supply the old favorites as well as experimental one-off brews, and the bartenders are so well versed in beer that they can converse with the 21 year old beer neophyte just as well as the seasoned homebrewer. Lord Hobo in Cambridge comes close, but there's no taking down the superstar that is The Publick House."
Favorite Bar For Wine: Neptune Oyster
"This may sound odd to some, but Neptune Oyster in the North End of Boston is my favorite place for a glass of wine. Unlike cocktails and beer, I usually have something to eat with my wine, and I'm crazy about raw bars. Neptune has the most brilliant seafood-paired wines in town. Even their red wines are thought of in the context of seafood, which is somewhat of a challenge. They have big beautiful stone fruit tinged whites for those briny British Columbian oysters, and they have a plethora of drier, more vegetal whites to accompany the melon flavors of a Kumamoto. For a nice glass of red, I'd choose Bistro 5 in West Medford. They have a nice rustic Italian vibe there, and the wine list is engineered to mirror that vibe with a small list of elevated Italian table wines."
Joe Corrado of Abe and Louie's
"I’m a huge fan of Franklin Café in South Boston. Just seeing Chad Fox behind the bar makes the trip worthwhile.."
Favorite Dive Bar: Daisy Buchanan’s
"Two words: cash only!"
Favorite Bar For Beer: The Parish Café
"You can usually find me at The Parish Café for a good beer fix."
Favorite Bar For Wine: No. 9 Park
"Barbara Lynch’s iconic No. 9 Park. They have a great by-the-glass French selection and a knowledgeable bar staff."
TD Sidell at Tasty Burger and Zuzu
"I have to split my cocktail vote in two, the Cambridge classic Green Street Grill has been a cocktail stalwart for years. Their long and (sometimes too) narrow bar always promises a rotation of well made cocktails and swift affable bartenders. The decor is clean and simple with unobtrusive music and televisions (a rarity in sports crazy New England) giving you a chance to focus in on the great drinks and, hopefully, good conversation. I've definitely spent at least a few nights staggering home from there on the strength of a handful of Monkey's Glands. On the other side of Mass Ave is my new favorite, Brick and Mortar. Kind of like a younger hipper cousin to Green Street, their oblong copper bar houses some of my favorite bartenders in the city (hey Crystal!) and meshes the kind of high/low culture of the cocktail that is often missing in the vest infested world of mixology. The lights are a little darker, the music, which is often top notch, is a little louder, but if you go on a night for drinkers, Monday-Thursday, you will encounter a bar that will welcome you with open arms (the act, and possibly the song)."
Favorite Dive Bar: Charlie's Kitchen
"My real favorite dive bar in Boston is a completely nondescript hotel bar that lacks any ambiance whatsoever and there is no way I'm telling you about it because it's where I go when I want to drink alone. I do have a deep affection for Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square, another Cambridge institution. Charlie's is where I learned to drink, consuming far too much gastrointestinal-ruining cheap beer and whisky during my early 20s. Though I have gotten older and wiser about what I put in my body it remains a great place to have a beer and test your iron stomach on the food that comes out of the kitchen. In an increasingly gentrified Harvard Square (now featuring two Starbucks) Charlie's keeps it real.
Housed in a building featuring no sign whatsoever—and one of the few places in Boston that I have felt genuine menace—is the South Boston bar Whitey's. It is old and dank and features many of its liquors poured from handles rather than the traditional fifths in liberal portions. If you can handle the occasional dirty, dirty look from a regular patron you will appreciate its lack of any pretense whatsoever; I certainly do. My only regret is that the Southie home of this bar is long to far to travel for me to crack the code of becoming a true regular there."
Whitey's: 268 W Broadway, Boston MA 02127 (map); 617-464-4869
Favorite Bar For Beer: The Independent
"The Independent in Somerville is a great place to have a beer, there is almost always a spot to be had and a long but not intimidating list of beers on tap. Once again, friendly bartenders and a relaxed atmosphere rule the day for me. They do a great job of keeping the frills off while still providing enough information for the regular and newbie alike. I'm not a real chaser of the most elusive beers to be had but I'm always up for a new discovery and the Indo is usually where that happens."