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The Citizen

Where to Drink Craft Cocktails in Boston

By Nick Wilson, Staff Writer, MPP’14

Last issue, I challenged you to leave the Cambridge bubble to experience the rich and diverse cultural offerings in our cities museums, which are free for Harvard students. As PAEs, midterms, job and internship searches consume more of our time and spare brainpower, I know this can be a hard sell.

This week I’ll make a simpler cultural challenge: take a break from your local watering hole and sip an artfully crafted cocktail. A proper cocktail can be a window into the past, as we continue to recapture cocktail culture’s pre-Prohibition glory days, or a glimpse into the future with

Bar Manager at jmCurley Kevin Mabry.

Bar Manager at jmCurley Kevin Mabry.

molecular mixology.

Here is a guide to help you start your craft imbibing journey:

5 Essential Spots

9 Sanborn Ct., Somerville (Union Square)
A speakeasy with a constantly changing menu. Cozy and intimate. If there’s a wait, visit nearby The Independent for a beer or cocktail to pass the time.

Brick & Mortar
569 Mass Ave., Cambridge (Central Square)
Speakeasy meets party spot, depending on when you go. Bar manager Misty Kalkofen is one of Boston’s greatest gems.

348 Congress St., Boston (Waterfront)
Don’t expect a menu, but don’t be intimidated. Tell them what you are feeling, and they’ll make you a perfectly-crafted classic cocktail.

Russell House Tavern Bar Manager Sam Gabrielli with Elizabeth Powell, formerly bar manager of ArtBar.

Russell House Tavern Bar Manager Sam Gabrielli with Elizabeth Powell, formerly bar manager of ArtBar.

The Hawthorne
500A Commonwealth Ave., Boston (Fenway)
Elegant cocktail lounge. Also visit sister lounges Eastern Standard & Island Creek Oyster on either side.

No. 9 Park
9 Park St., Boston (Downtown)
Restaurant focus, but among best drinks in town.

Neighborhood Spots

59 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge (Harvard Square)
Extremely convenient and an excellent place to sample local spirits and brews.

Russell House Tavern
14 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge (Harvard Square)
In Grafton Group, along with Park, and you guessed it, Grafton Street.

450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge (Central Square)
Worth visiting for Bar Manager Noon Inthasuwan-Summers

Bob McCoy mixes at Hawthorne.

Bob McCoy mixes at Hawthorne.

Craigie on Main
853 Main St., Cambridge (Central Square)
One of the top 5 Restaurants in Greater Boston.

Green Street
280 Green St., Cambridge (Central Square)

Blue Room
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge (Kendall Square)

West Bridge
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge (Kendall Square)

Hungry Mother
233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave., Cambridge (Kendall Square)

Trina’s Starlight Lounge
3 Beacon St., Somerville (Inman Square)

Highland Kitchen
150 Highland Ave., Somerville

Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar
1310 Boylston St., Boston (Fenway)
A must visit for whiskey and bourbon lovers

Clio Restaurant
370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston (Back Bay)

Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale
48 Temple Place, Boston (Downtown Crossing)
You want cocktails, your friends want craft beer? You’ll both be happy.

Silvertone Bar & Grill
69 Bromfield St., Boston (Downtown Crossing)
Industry hangout. Some classic and modern cocktails are on offer, but Silvertone is about drinking like the bartenders do and try a “Happy Meal”: a Miller High Life and a shot of Jim Beam, Fernet or Chartreuse.

jm Curley
21 Temple Place, Boston (Downtown Crossing)
Bar manager Kevin Mabry will mix you up something special to go with your excellent burger.

Support Local Craft Spirits:

If you want to support local and be rewarded with something delicious, ask for these Massachusetts-produced spirits next time you are at a bar or liquor store:

Berkshire Mountain Distillers

Bully Boy Distillers

Grand Ten Distilling

Privateer Rum

Outfit Your Home Bar

Boston Shaker
69 Holland St., Somerville (Davis Square)

Did I leave out your favorite bar? Email me at

Nick Wilson is an MPP1 who writes about food drink, and culture at