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The Citizen

Going for drinks with friends? Check out these “Big-Crowd” bars

By Anthony Barrows, MC/MPA’13, Staff Writer

We’ve all been there. We were celebrating a friend’s birthday; then festivities hit a snag. The plan may be to hit a popular (read: trendy and overhyped) spot in the Back Bay for dinner, dancing and drinks. However, the group faces a long line, in the cold, and menacing bouncers at the door. At this moment, I’m happy to redirect the party to somewhere close, less packed, but just as fun. If you’ve got a big crowd hitting the town, consider one of these spots and spare yourself a lot of hassle.

The Red Fez

The Red FezThis restaurant and bar harkens back to the days before the influx of yuppies, when the South End had a huge Lebanese community. Around since the 1940s but renovated in the last decade, the Fez serves Middle Eastern standards like hummus, dolma and kafta. The original outdoor sign now hangs beside their full bar. You can often catch belly dancers there and the night we visited, there was plenty of room to accommodate us despite the private party (including an amazing Turkish singer). For you drivers, there’s even a parking lot out back.

The Red Fez – 1222 Washington St – South End


J.J. Foley’s Downtown

In Boston, we have no shortage of Irish pubs. J.J. Foley’s may be the most plentiful of them. The old-school J.J. Foley’s Café is right doylescafebostonaround the corner from the Fez on East Berkeley Street, and is a fine institution. The JP version (J.J. Foley’s Fireside Tavern) is a great neighborhood joint. The one I recommend for big crowds however is the downtown Bar and Grille. Not far from Downtown Crossing, Foley’s is a big open barroom, with decent pub food, and a good selection of beer and liquor. It’s the ideal place to pre-game with a crowd before heading to the Theatre District clubs.

J.J. Foley’s Bar & Grille – 21 Kingston Street – Boston


Doyle’s Café

Don’t leave Boston without drinking a pint at Doyle’s. A Jamaica Plain landmark for over 130 years, Doyle’s has served generations of jjfoleysbarandgrillBostonians. The massive bar has three rooms that can accommodate almost any crowd. Excitingly for HKS folks, it’s also a political hotbed and is replete with memorabilia from many politicians of note including our school’s namesake. It was one of the first bars to serve Sam Adams beer (whose brewery is close by) and their relationship continues to this day with the courtesy trolley that runs between the brewery and Doyle’s.

Doyle’s Café – 3484 Washington Street – Jamaica Plain