Best of Boston

2008 Best Nightlife, West

Watch City Brewing Company

In trying to determine a bar’s worthiness, here’s a helpful question: If in the company of the most fantastically annoying people imaginable (say, the combined casts of A Shot at Love and A Shot at Love 2), could you still have a good time? Signs point to yes at this beer hall situated on Waltham’s restaurant row, where the master-crafted suds and a merry vibe take the edge off in a big way. Locals mix with Brandeis types and code crunchers from the 128 tech corridor at the U-shaped bar or in the large open seating area, downing nachos and buffalo popcorn shrimp and, naturally, pint after pint of house brews. Though signature recipes like the Hops Explosion IPA dominate the taps, look for the seasonal, uber-strong Oktolager—a few rounds of which could make any yammering nincompoop at your elbow sound like an alum of the Algonquin Round Table.

256 Moody St., Waltham, 781-647-4000,