You’d expect a city where Revolutionary revolts were plotted in ale houses and which eventually became home to famous sports teams, universities, and some of the nation’s best seafood to have a thriving, vibrant bar scene, and Boston does not disappoint. In fact, it’s home to some of the most iconic bars in the U.S., including…that one. Book a stay at Newbury Guest House and you’re in the ideal Back Bay location to start the best bar crawl in history.
Now probably Boston’s most famous drinking establishment, Cheers served as the inspiration for the hit television show, and its exterior was the star of the show’s opening credits. It was founded as the Bull & Finch Pub in 1969, more than a decade before Cheers’ 1982 premiere. That same year, Boston magazine named it the Best Neighborhood Bar in Boston. And despite its TV fame, it still really is a place where everybody knows your name. Cheers remains very much an intimate neighborhood bar. Grab a stool, enjoy a pint, banter with the locals and maybe – just maybe – achieve glory in the Norm Burger challenge.
84 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108 – a 20-minute walk from Newbury Guest House
The Black Rose
Dubbed “the Fenway Park of Irish pubs” by Boston magazine, The Black Rose is the quintessential Irish bar in a city that’s filled with them. The beloved Boston institution in historic Faneuil Hall on the city’s waterfront has been serving up perfect pints of Guinness 365 days a year since 1976. Known for its lively atmosphere and traditional Irish music (also served up live seven days a week), The Black Rose is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Its dark wood paneling, cozy booths, and extensive beer selection are an invitation to relax and unwind. Pints and Irish cuisine are served by staff with authentic brogues; and should you wish to impress, casually drop the history of the bar’s name: the Gaelic term “Roisin Dubh,” which originates from a line in an anonymous 17th century poem: “Over the highways and byways the pilgrim goes aflame with the name of my small black rose.” And should you wax a little too poetic over a few too many pints, The Black Rose’s Full Irish breakfast’ll take care of the dog that bit ya.
160 State St, Boston, MA 02109 – a 20-minute T ride from Newbury Guest House
Bell In Hand Tavern
The oldest continually operating tavern in the U.S. is a must-visit for bar and history fans alike. The Bell In Hand’s first pour in 1795 was likely for famous patrons including Paul Revere and Daniel Webster. The Tavern’s first owner, James Wilson, refused to sell hard alcohol, but his ale was unsurpassed, a favorite of the printers, politicians, sailors, and students who were early America’s version of regulars; the ale was so thick it was served in two mugs – one for the ale and a second for the froth. You can still drop in today and soak up bar history along with excellent drinks, food, and live music.
45-55 Union St, Boston, MA 02108 – a 20-minute T ride from Newbury Guest House
If your Boston bar crawl leans Irish, a visit to The Burren is worth the short drive or train ride to Davis Square in Somerville; food and entertainment guide Thrillist ranks it among the 21 best Irish pubs in America. A favorite of locals and students (it’s steps from Tufts University), it’s become as well known for its nightly live music shows (Irish traditional, folk, Americana, bluegrass, jazz, rock, pop, and indie) as its drinks and menu. Tip: order the Guinness beef stew, vegetarian shepherd pie or fish and chips. Visitors are guaranteed a great time and great conversation.
247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144 – a 20-minute drive from Newbury Guest House (or just hop the T’s Red Line)
In town for a Sox game? You can’t go wrong with Audubon for pre-game drinks. Perfectly located near Fenway, it serves a truly imaginative lineup of cocktails like the fiery Anchorita or the smooth, slightly sweet Kick Flip. But where Audubon truly shines is its proud offering of ales from beloved Boston breweries including Exhibit A, Night Shift, and Jack’s Abby, perfect for pairing with their upscale versions of stadium stars like grilled wings, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches. And if you’re feeling muy hungry, hit Audubon on Taco Tuesday for crispy chorizo and San Diego-inspired seafood.
838 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02215 – a 20-minute walk or quick T ride from Newbury Guest House
Bar À Vin 1855
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little peace and quiet with your drink, and one of the most delightful options is right here at Newbury Guest House. For wine lovers, Bar À Vin 1855 offers a list of more than 250 different French varieties from Bordeaux and across France. In addition to traditional French classics, Bar À Vin 1885’s sommeliers have assembled an impressive collection of wines from boutique small-batch vineyards and host regular tastings, classes, and special wine events. Bar À Vin 1885 also features traditional French cuisine in the form of delicious shareable small plates in a relaxing, casual atmosphere that itself pays tribute to wine – even the furniture is carved from wine barrels by a local carpenter. Tip: Take a seat outdoors in warm weather and enjoy the excellent people-watching on Newbury Street.
While we’ll never turn down the chance to raise a glass or a mug, Boston bar culture is about more than spirits. It’s part of who we are, and there’s no better way to know a neighborhood than an elbows-on-the-counter evening of jawing about whatevah with its locals. And wherever your crawl takes you, it’s nice to return to another place where everybody will know your name: our unique boutique hotel. At Newbury Guest House, we’re here to make even more great bar recommendations, call you an Uber, and make sure the coffee’s good and strong the next morning.