Where to Find the Best Bar Pizza Around Boston and the South Shore

With their super-crispy crusts and edges of gloriously charred cheese, these uniquely Massachusetts-style pies are iconic.

Cheese and a pepperoni at Cape Cod Cafe. / Photo by Nina Gallant, styling by Madison Trapkin

In the Bay State, “bar pies” are to pizza what “candlepin” is to bowling: a regional variation that is a source of great pride for true-blue Massholes (show of hands!) and leaves everybody else scratching their head, going, “huh?” If you’re among the uninitiated, we’ll explain. Originally designed as a simple, inexpensive snack to keep you guzzling cold brews at the bar, these pizzas—native to the South Shore, by the way—have spawned an entire local-food culture around their smallish, 10-inch size; thin, cracker-like crusts that get super crispy; and melted cheese that oozes all the way to charred edges. They are glorious.

But where to get the best? We anticipate some food fights over the picks, as everyone has a favorite; here are ours, at least right now.

Last updated May 19, 2024.

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Old-School South Shore Bar Pizza

Alumni Pizza

There’s a fraternal order-feeling fandom that surrounds Alumni, a pair of bar pie joints in Weymouth and Quincy (where the original, now-shuttered location first started cooking things up in 1960). They’re at the head of a working-class tradition, serving hot and cheesy rounds of crispy ‘za—including the Triple Pepper Roni, topped with pepperoni as well as sliced cherry, banana, and roasted red peppers—that are exactly what, after a long day shift, you want to share with buds over a round (or two, or three) of suds.

379 Washington St., Quincy, 617-472-0555, facebook.com/alumniquincy. 836 Washington St., Weymouth, 781) 340-0836, alumnipizzaweymouth.com.

Brockton’s Cape Cod Café, the self-declared “original South Shore bar pizza.” / Photo by Nina Gallant, styling by Madison Trapkin

Cape Cod Café

Pizzas that blueprinted the eventual “South Shore” style started coming out of CCC’s Brockton kitchen in the late 1940s. The still-family-owned biz has since exploded into four locations and a huge frozen-pizza brand, yet the foundation to its success—the fantastically firm thin crust, the quintessentially caramelized edges, the heavy hand with the oregano—remains unshakeable.

979 Main St., Brockton, 508-583-9420; additional locations, capecodcafepizza.com.

Hoey’s Pizza

No quest for the best South Shore bar pizza is complete without a trip to Hoey’s, where the pies—always baked, without fail, to godly perfection—are only half the appeal. Equally destination-worthy is the spirited setting, a red-blooded Bay State barroom inside an American Veterans post where, judging by the outwardly brittle but surprisingly friendly regulars, the pizza pans aren’t the only thing that’ve been seasoning here since the 1950s.

9 Amvets Lane (Amvets Post 51), Randolph, 781-963-7171, facebook.com/southshoreoriginalbarpie.

J’s Flying Pizza

Takeout pizza happens to be a homecooked meal at J’s, housed inside a private house in a residential neighborhood. Here, the Yannone clan has been feeding locals—and, increasingly, in-the-know visitors—at suppertime since the ’70s. The family recipe still holds up incredibly strong, and if the generously sauced crusts seem ever-so-slightly softer than at other South Shore establishments, they also provide better contrast to the crunch of the crisped edges framing this perfect family portrait.

815 South St., Bridgewater, facebook.com/groups/Jspizza/

Lynwood’s bean special / Photo by Nina Gallant

Lynwood Café

The legendary Lynwood, an early (circa 1949) icon of the bar-pie genre, is still, many old-timers would argue, its best. The pizza sets itself apart from the rest with a buttery crust, unctuous cheese blend (primarily Wisconsin cheddar aged in-house for 30 days for sharpness), and, topping-wise, linguiça smoked in the Little Portugal of America: Fall River. The signature pie topped with Boston baked beans, meanwhile, adds to Lynwood’s old-school vibe—as does the wood-paneled dining room with wooden booths and Formica tables.

320 Center St., Randolph, 781-963-3100, lynwoodcafe.com.

The Next Page Café

Saturday nights are live as a wire here, filled with rock, blues, or reggae bands that turn the low-ceilinged horseshoe of a room—a three-sided bar forms the U—into a hopping hootenanny. But at any time (with a day’s notice, that is), you can order a party-size, full-sheet-pan pizza at this jumping joint (originally named Jimbo’s when it opened in 1963), where owner Eddie Page admirably carries on the legacy of his father.

55 Broad St., Weymouth, thenextpagecafe.com.


Sweetly christened with the pet name of the late owner’s wife, Poopsie’s remains the perfect specimen of ’70s and ’80s Bay State bahs. (See: the many shades of brown dominating the interior of its strip-mall setting.) When regulars aren’t gobbling ghosts on the vintage Pac-Man arcade machine, they’re mowing down ghost-pepper cheese pizzas, a spicy standout with the characteristic Poopsie’s crust: even thinner than most and leaning less on laced edges.

243 Church St., Pembroke, 781-826-5282, facebook.com/bestbarpizza.

Tinrays Family Restaurant

Compared to some of the other landmarks on the list, Tinrays flies a bit under the radar. Don’t let that happen, especially if you like your bar pizzas with just a little more chew than some of the other, more cracker-like crusts that abound. The lodge-like joint still offers nice laced (that’s South Shore-speak for “burnt”) edges, though, to support fixings like green peppers, mushrooms, taco-style beef, and more.

9 Winter St., Brockton, 508-584-8900, facebook.com/tinraysfamilyrestaurant.

Town Spa Pizza. / Photo by Thanh L via Yelp

Town Spa Pizza

Barstool Sports bro-trepreneur Dave Portnoy has tried more than 1,500 pies in his viral video series, “One Bite Pizza Reviews.” But his very first stop, back in 2013, was Town Spa, and no wonder: Opened in 1955, the massive square bar is perennially packed with both grizzled vets and newbies popping slices, with the throwback vibe of a place your parents would have turned to in order to feed a whole team of little leaguers. Sliced-pickle-topped pie is a Town Spa signature, as is the famed honey-mustard dipping sauce.

1119 Washington St., Stoughton, 781-344-2030, townspapizza.com.

An apple cinnamon pizza at Venus Cafe. / Photo by Emily W via Yelp.

Venus Café

In the bar-pie galaxy, dessert pizzas help to set Venus apart: we’re talking traditional crusts baked with totally unorthodox toppings like apple cinnamon and crumbled Oreo cookies with powdered sugar. Don’t be fooled by the addition of sweet or gluten-free options here, though. Vibe-wise, the café is one of the saltiest characters in the bunch, a threadbare wood-paneled hangout behind the dark slab of a brown-brick exterior.

47 South Ave., Whitman, 781-447-0494, facebook.com/thevenuscafe.

Buffalo Chicken pizza at Somerville’s Hot Box / Photo by Nina Gallant, styling by Madison Trapkin

The Essential New-School Bar Pies


As a teenager and throughout his college years, Whitman native Robert Carnes worked in the kitchen at Venus Café (see above), considered a pillar of bar-pie culture. Today, as the owner of Crisp, he takes particular pride in pies with superbly burnt edges that rival the South Shore’s best, served in digs that are lighter, brighter, and more modern than the region’s shadowy older barrooms.

955 Turnpike St., Canton and 1049 Main St., Walpole, crispizza.com.

Bardo’s Bar Pizza. / Photo by Reagan Byrne

Bardo’s Bar Pizza

“Bar dough” is a pun hiding in plain sight: This pizza operation, which started slinging pies out of Castle Island Brewing Company’s Southie taproom in 2021, kneads its flour with the beermaker’s Keeper IPA. Last year, Bardo’s started parking a mobile food trailer at Castle Island’s Norwood brewery, bringing its suds-spiked pies—including the super-popular Sweet Dreams, topped with ’roni, ricotta, and habanero honey—southwest of the city, too.

10 Old Colony Ave. (Castle Island Brewing), South Boston, 781-951-2029, bardospizza.com.

57 Lincoln Kitchen

Size matters to bar-pizza purists, who consider 10 inches the definitive diameter of a pie. The rest of us, though, will definitely not complain that this neighborhood fast-casual spot in Newton offers its selection of South Shore–style pizzas a bit bigger, at 14 inches. They also sell them by the snack-size slice, a canny move that would nonetheless never fly with those one-pie-per-person sticklers east of I-93.

57 Lincoln St., Newton, 57lincolnkitchen.com.

Overhead view of a pepperoni pizza with a barely-there, charred crust.

For Pizza’s pepperoni pizza. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

For Pizza

One of the newest bar-pie joints near Boston, For Pizza is forward-thinking. After all, you’d never find its build-your-own menu of nearly 40 toppings on the South Shore, where the options are typically limited to “our way” or “the highway.” Nor would you find such an extensive selection of plant-based pies smothered in vegan cheese, gluten-free crusts for those who want (or need) them, or an unexpected detour into thick-crust Detroit-style pizza.

51 High St., Medford, forpizza.com.

Hangin’ at Hot Box in Somerville. / Photo by Nina Gallant

Hot Box

It’s always a Shore vs. Shore culinary smackdown at this equidistant takeout operation within Somerville’s vendor-packed Bow Market. Representing the South: bar pies, natch, from a crisp-edged classic cheese to a brunch-for-dinner pie featuring two over-easy eggs, bacon, and black-pepper gravy. Representing the North: roast-beef sandwiches, the cheap-eats pride of that region. Who wins? Anyone with an appetite.

1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, eathotbox.com.

Landmark Public House

If you find yourself craving a South Shore bar pie after a night out in Boston, where they’re hard to find, take note: This city tavern serves ’em till the clock strikes 12. Whether you’re swinging by for last call or letting your DoorDash fingers do the double-tapping, nothing polishes off a party—or, for that matter, fuels a late-night work grind—like a crispy carb wheel topped with bacon, pickles, or Buffalo chicken.

772 Adams St., Dorchester, landmarkpublichouse.com.

Sidedoor Sally’s. / Photo by Nina Gallant

Sidedoor Sally’s

Blending the standard bar-pie cheese, cheddar, with stretchy mozzarella is one way Sally’s puts a more-Italian, North Shore spin on a South Shore tradition. (See also: toppings of shrimp scampi with a creamy garlic spread.) Find the spot’s discreet entrance around the corner from sibling restaurant Bonefish Harry’s, where the surf vibe and taco menu are inspired by yet another coast: the Pacific.

214 Cabot St, Beverly, www.facebook.com/sidedoorsallys.


The modern Israeli restaurant’s menu may announce them as “flatbreads,” but make no mistake: Chef-owner Avi Shemtov, a South Shore native, modeled these after bar pies. He sticks to tradition by spreading the sauce and cheese to the edge. But he bucks it by crisping his ’zas—from the lamb and za’atar-topped signature to “of the day” specials—in a wood-fired oven instead of an electric one.

Sharon, simcharestaurant.com, temporarily closed through July 31, 2024.

Photos courtesy of Cape Cod Café and Getty Images

Where to Get Frozen Bar Pies

Four pies representing the next frontier for the bah-pizza biz.

The Next Page Café

Varieties: Cheese; pepperoni

Find ’em: In a locked freezer near the rear of the Weymouth barroom. (Ask to have it unlatched so you can retrieve your cheesy treasure.)

Hot tip: Not only are the edges already laced, but Next Page offers home delivery of its frozen pizzas to parts of the South Shore—including a weekly and biweekly “subscription” service that’ll ensure your freezer never goes hungry again.

Cape Cod Café

Varieties: Cheese; pepperoni; mushroom; onion and pepper; Buffalo chicken; barbecue chicken

Find ’em: Just about everywhere. Since going frozen in 2011, Cape Cod Café has moved into freezers in more than 1,200 grocery, convenience, and big-box stores, and ships direct via Goldbelly. Make way, Celeste.

Hot tip: Bar pies typically go in electric ovens, but many customers cook these on their grills, says co-owner Jonathan Jamoulis.

Johnny Kono’s Bar & Grill

Varieties: Cheese; pepperoni

Find ’em: This new entrant to the frozen bar-pie race is only available at the Key West–themed restaurant in Weymouth. Saunter up to the self-described “five-star dive bar” to order, and they’ll grab them from the kitchen.

Hot tip: After you’ve picked up your frozen pizza from Johnny, grab a frozen treat from neighboring Jenna’s Drive-In, a seasonal snack shack that’s popular for ice cream in flavors like cotton candy, maple walnut, orange sherbet, and more.

Emma’s Pub & Pizza

Varieties: Cheese; mushroom; onion; pepper and onion

Find ’em: At Emma’s two Bridgewater restaurants—look for the oversize bobblehead of “Crazy Ron,” the owner, perched by the roofs—and in New England supermarket chains such as Market Basket, Roche Bros., and Shaw’s.

Hot tip: Nothing beats the convenience of a frozen pizza at home, but nothing beats the deal Emma’s offers in-restaurant on Wednesdays and Sundays, when small cheese pizzas are just $3.99 if you buy one with a drink.

A version of this was published as part of a feature in the print edition of the May 2024 issue with the headline “How Do You Say Pizza on the South Shore? Bar Pie!”