The 12 Best Downtown Boston Theater District Restaurants

These spots set the scene with oysters, Italian classics, and post-show cocktails.


Boston Theater District at Night

Don Riddle Images for the Ritz-Carlton Company

Heading out for a night on the town to see a splashy production that might make it to Broadway one day? You’re going to need something to eat—and probably a nightcap after the show, too. Broadening Boston’s Theater District definition a bit, we’ve picked the top 12 spots in close proximity to Broadway in Boston stages like the Opera House and the Shubert and Wang Boch Center; concert halls like the Orpehum and Royale, comedy venue the Wilbur, and more. Enjoy the show!

Avery Bar

Reopening in mid-October after a summer of renovations, the Ritz-Carlton lobby bar is now even more like a chic, urban living room: The new, marble and brass bar has moved off to the side, which opens up more sumptuous leather seating around the floating fireplace. Tuck in for a classic Avery martini and pre-show snacks like buffalo-fried oysters, sweet chili tiger shrimp with rice noodles, and more shareable plates.

10 Avery St., Boston, 617-574-7100, ritzcarlton.com.

The "snug" and bar at Democracy Brewing

The “snug” and the bar at Democracy Brewing. / Photo by Toan Trinh

Democracy Brewing

To quote Hamilton’s compatriots, here’s where to raise a glass to freedom: The business plan at this Downtown Crossing brewpub calls for livable wages and ownership stakes for employees. It’s a beer hall that takes the best parts of European pubs (namely classic ales and a cozy snug for private dining), and combines them with seasonal New American grub. Chef Ben Waxler’s menu of salads, flatbreads, and proper drinking food like sausages with house-made mustard pairs with brewmaster Jason Taggart’s clean styles, such as the Consummate Rioter IPA and 1919 Strike Stout.

35 Temple Place, Downtown Crossing, Boston, 857-217-BREW, democracybrewing.com.

Explorateur

A “California-French” café in the heart of the Theater District, head here for continental classics like onion soup gratinée, tarte flambée, and a bistro burger with Brie. The historic, gigantic, former Masonic Temple offers a myriad of comfortable seating options with reservations, and also features a La Colombe coffee counter and a lively bar. Bonus for serious theater nerds: The A-list attracting Big Night Entertainment Group is behind this spot, and it’s where the cast of Moulin Rouge! watched the 2018 Tony Awards.

186 Tremont St., Boston, 617-405-5053, explorateur.com.

The 4th Wall

This playful gastropub is a solid choice for pre- or post-show sandwiches, salads, snacks, and plates like Statler chicken with root vegetables and chive gravy, and lobster mac and cheese—the full menu is available until last call every night. Friendly and relaxed, the bar offers a handful of craft beers and fun cocktails, including a large-format option for a group—and boozy gummy bears, for those who need a little kick before getting the show on the road.

228 Tremont St., Boston, 857-957-0909, 4thwallrestaurant.com.

Haley.Henry Wine Bar.

Haley.Henry Wine Bar. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Haley.Henry Wine Bar

Catching a show with a few friends? Groups of four or more can reserve seats at this fun and quirky wine bar to try new juice, pop tins of seafood, and nod to the soundtrack of deep-cut hip hop. The Best of Boston winner opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays and for lunch on Saturdays, though, so smaller groups can also snag a couple stools to pre-game with pét-nat.

45 Province St., Boston, 617-208-6000, haleyhenry.com.

The bar at JM Curley

The bar at JM Curley slings great pre-show drinks and serves food until 1 a.m. most nights. / Photo by Joe Greene

JM Curley

In its eighth year in Downtown Crossing, Curley’s has a brand-new menu by chef Adam Sherburn perfect for a pre-theatre nosh. The Best of Boston-worthy burger remains, along with classics like duck poutine—but season ticketholders will enjoy new options like hoisin-sweet chili-glazed “hog wings,” and rotating cheese and charcuterie selections. For after-show snacks, order food from the bar until 1 a.m. every night but Sunday. This small, lively spot doesn’t take reservations, but its classy, hidden steakhouse sibling Bogie’s Place does.

21 Temple Place, Boston, 617-338-5333, jmcurleyboston.com.

Legal Crossing

This large and lively location combines longtime menu favorites from the stalwart Legal Sea Foods, plus new and modern items like sake-miso mussels with crispy rice noodles, and “everything” tuna with risotto-style cauliflower. Post-theater crowds should make note of the late-night menu, always available until an hour before close; and during summer series, diners can take advantage of the street-side patio overlooking the Opera House.

558 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 617-692-8888, legalseafoods.com.

Montien Thai Restaurant

For more than 30 years, a generous menu, convenient location, and speedy service has made this spot not only a Thai standby but also a reliable pre-theater favorite. There are rice noodles and coconut-y curries aplenty, but the real stars take center stage on the menu section specifically dubbed “authentic.” Try the spicy, coconut milk-free jungle curry, hot and sour lemongrass noodle soup, and a bright and fresh papaya salad.

63 Stuart St., Boston, 617-338-5600, montienthaiboston.com.

Pabu sushi. / Photos by Jenna Skutnik

Pabu

Here’s a surefire way to make sure you don’t forget the tickets: Flash any Boston-area theater passes here to get a complimentary appetizer, like spicy edamame or Tokyo karaage (fried chicken). World-renowned chefs Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga’s upscale izakaya is a strong choice for fresh sushi and Japanese whiskey cocktails, but it has many options for hot dishes and aperitif-style drinks, too.

3 Franklin St., Boston, 857-327-7228, pabuboston.com.

Shōjō

Head to Boston’s pioneering Asian gastropub (and Chinatown’s first hipster haunt) for smoked pork bao, salt and pepper calamari, kimchi fried rice, and fun energy. Reservations are strongly encouraged to ensure the timing works out, but note that owner Brian Moy—a second-generation neighborhood restaurateur—has expanded with family-style Chinese restaurant and a hyper-modern noodle shop, two other great options nearby.

9A Tyler St., Boston, 617-423-7888, shojoboston.com.

Teatro

Pre-show dining is this trattoria’s calling card: The Italian name literally translates to “theater.” Share a grilled, thin-crust pizza, or dig into house-made pastas, fresh seafood, and charcuterie. The casually glamorous space sets the scene for illustrious chef Jamie Mammano and his team to work their behind-the-scenes magic. Alternatively, Mammano’s elegant seafood spot Ostra, located just five minutes’ walk away, will make the night out a truly special occasion.

177 Tremont St., Boston, 617-778-6841, teatroboston.com.

Bavette steak “Mirabeau” with anchovy butter and caramelized olives at Yvonne's in Boston

Bavette steak “Mirabeau” with anchovy butter and caramelized olives. / Photograph by Anthony Tieuli for “Restaurant Review: Yvonne’s

Yvonne’s

The glittering crystal chandeliers, gold fixtures, and luxurious velvet decor are fit for any A-lister, but the globe-spanning menu proves this place isn’t just for show. From “crispy tater cubes” with Dutch-style Joppiesaus, to wasabi lobster toast, to a fork-tender bavette steak “Mirabeau” that wouldn’t be out of place at predecessor Locke-Ober—a bastion of Boston fine dining for 150 years—refined revelry is the main event here.

2 Winter Place, Boston, 617-267-0047, yvonnesboston.com.