Eating Suburbia: Nightlife
Country coziness and urban style are the trademarks of the North Shore's finest.
A | Glory The North Shore isn’t a friendly habitat for disco balls. Which is why Glory is such a peculiar find. Any elegant restaurant-lounge that hangs one has a rare sense of confidence (and more than a hint of cheek). The dark wood bar is packed with a hip crowd that splays on the lounge’s chairs drinking potent Bellinitinis—a welcome splash of city cool, far from the urban sprawl. 19 Essex St., Andover, 978-475-4811.
B | Rockafella’s Few Salem buildings can boast the varied career of this early 19th-century structure, which served as a church, a bank, and a department store before finding its raison d’être as a casual dining spot. After dinner, the bar swells with a buttoned-down crew of locals who come for the mixed drinks and stay for the lively swing, dance, and reggae bands. Cover charges vary. 231 Essex St., Salem, 978-745-2411, rockafellasofsalem.com.
C | Brenden Crocker’s Wild Horse Café & Bar Best known as a romantic dinner spot, this bar sports the best selection of scotch on the North Shore. Antique wooden horses and bric-a-brac create an offbeat charm, but any hint of preciousness is offset by the modern selection of 6-ounce martinis. Wednesday nights feature live bands until 11:30. 392 Cabot St. (Rte. 1A), Beverly, 978-922-6868, wildhorsecafe.com.
Colonial pubs, beach chic, and swank martini bars make for an eclectic, intoxicating mix.
A | Alba Rich, burgundy tones and cherry wood lend warmth to the lounge of this popular restaurant, and the sofa seating fills quickly on weekends with a mature, professional set. The bar rattles up 25 different martinis (try the Bella Donna), while occasional jazz bands add to the conversational purr. It’s an urbane setting for a glass of wine, a bite of crispy calamari, and the feeling that you’re not in Quincy anymore. 1495 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-376-2522, albabarandgrill.com.
B | Stars on Hingham Harbor By day this seaside diner dishes out affordable seafood, but on Saturday nights, locals troop here for live music and an admirable beer list. The fifties-style booths, plasma-screen TVs, and checkered tablecloths squash any hint of pretension. It’s the sort of place where you’re best ordering something from either the ocean, the fryer—or both. 2-4 Otis St., Hingham, 781-749-3200, eatwellinc.com.
C | Lion’s Den Pub Hotel guests make up the majority of weekday tipplers, while a local, younger crowd props up the weekend bar. A downstairs room draws crowds with jazz or standup comedians, but the real reason to visit is the fireplace and quaint charm of this intimate pub. In the summer, trade the barroom for the wraparound outdoor porch. Red Lion Inn Resort, 71 South Main St., Cohasset Village, 781-383-1704, redlioninn1704.com.
A pick of great beer and Irish pubs under broad, open western skies (meaning past Newton).
A | Stone’s Public House A real Irish pub is as happy to pour a cup of tea as a pint of beer, and it takes pride in its toasted sandwiches—making Stone’s as real as they come. Set in a 19th-century inn (rumored to be haunted), the restaurant’s country interiors and exposed rafters set it far above the common “plastic Paddy” pubs. Traditional Irish sessions are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., with blues on Sundays and bluegrass on alternate Wednesdays. 179 Main St., Ashland, 508-881-1778, stonespublichouse.com.
B | The Skellig Patrons of Davis Square’s the Burren pub will feel a twinge of familiarity in this country Irish barroom, the suburban outpost of its musician-barkeeps Tommy and Louise McCarthy. The traditional bar (bare wood) serves traditional fare (blood pudding) and traditional entertainment (live Irish music, six nights a week). The crowd is as mixed as they come, and come they do, unable to resist the Guinness and, of course, the lilting conversation. 240 Moody St., Waltham, 781-647-0679.
C | Watch City Brewing Company A glorious night out requires pleasant company and a limitless supply of gourmet beer. Waltham’s finest brewpub offers at least one of these delights, and, judging by the crowds that pack the U-shaped bar, plenty of the other. It’s an eclectic crowd that includes beerhounds who regularly make the trek from Boston to slug back pints of fresh Titan Ale and Moody Street Stout. 256 Moody St., Waltham, 781-647-4000, watchcitybrew.com.