10 Great Places to Day-Drink Around Boston
Between caffeinated cocktails and tropical escapes, there’s plenty to sip and celebrate.
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Day-drinking: It’s deliciously naughty. There’s something that feels especially decadent about playing hooky from your responsibilities and working up a buzz (probably outside) before the sun goes down. That doesn’t mean behaving like a coed on Spring Break, of course—as a Responsible Adult™, you’ve got to imbibe in moderation, chug lots of water, and slather on plenty of sunscreen. But you know what? Perfect-weather days of late summer and early fall are in short supply, and you absolutely deserve to revel in them before another long winter of COVID discontent. And so, from a Tall Ship-set bar on the Eastie waterfront to a tropical South End patio with shades of summer camp, here’s where to day-drink in Boston today.
When you’re hankering for a beer garden crawl minus the footwork, just drop anchor at the Best of Boston-winning Anchor, a year-round outdoor operation in the plaza of the Charlestown Navy Yard. Here, you can savor a bunch of different libations from local breweries without having to sail all over the region, from the lemony white ale from Bent Water Brewing Company in Lynn, to a bright IPA from Lone Pine Brewing Company, farther ashore in Portland, Maine. Check out the daily events, too, from art shows to live music. After a frozen mango margarita, you might even feel limber enough to join one of their frequent exercise classes.
1 Shipyard Park, Charlestown, 617-286-2404, theanchorboston.com.
From the epic poetry of Luís de Camões to that whole circumnavigating-the-world thing, the Portuguese have gifted lots to the globe. Among the cultural achievements? The unpretentious joy that is sipping cool (and inexpensive) red wine—or tinto—by the carafe from water glasses, which is exactly what you can do at Atlántico. On the Harrison Avenue patio of chef Michael Serpa’s Iberian seafood and small-plates spot, you’ll find people watching and an impressive wine list for pairing with plates of razor clams and sardines. Serpa credits this vinho-serving quirk to Restaurant Casa Portugal in Cambridge, which, by the way, you should absolutely check out when the stalwart Portuguese eatery and its sunny patio reopen on September 16.
600 Harrison Ave., Boston, 857-233-2898, atlanticoboston.com.
The crossroads of Roxbury and Dorchester is already a destination for those seeking craft beer (Dorchester Brewing Company) and spirits (Bully Boy Distillers). Now, though, it’s also a place to find a taproom specializing in organic hard kombuchas and seltzers, all made on site. Flying Embers is the first East Coast location of a California-based concept with designs on giving guests a more gut-friendly buzz. The design inside the sprawling industrial-chic space, meanwhile, is as crisp as their hard ginger kombucha, with origami-like light fixtures over the bar, exposed ductwork, and a kaleidoscope-like (and highly Instagrammable) mural hand-painted by one of the bartenders. This is where you’ll savor flavors like pineapple cayenne hard seltzer, plus a bright lager brewed with probiotics and lion’s mane mushrooms called (you guessed it) Lion’s Mane. Plus, the brewery just secured licensing for indoor and outdoor entertainment, so expect live music, drag performances, goat yoga (yes, really), and more in the coming weeks.
152 Hampden St., Boston, 617-708-8017, flyingembers.com.
Part of the joy of childhood is getting buzzed off sugary cereal. Part of the joy of adulthood is getting buzzed off a sugary cereal-inspired cocktails. But where? Head to Lulu’s patio—early, since the spot doesn’t take reservations and the outdoor area can get bumpin’—to savor a daily brunch menu with cereal shooters. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch shooter, for one, features creamy RumChata and Fireball whisky, while the Honey Nut Cheerios spin sees a mixture of RumChata and Jack Honey. The Reese’s Puffs cocktail, meanwhile, actually comes topped with the sugary cereal and a spoon to dig in. Good news: The spot opens at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays for you to “work” from home. Better news: Catch the queens werking it during monthly weekend drag brunches.
421 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-787-1117, lulusallston.com.
Yes, drinking plenty of water is a must if you’re going to stay wide-eyed during a day of drinking—then again, caffeine certainly helps, too. With that in mind, say oui to Paris Seaport for its buzzy patio, craveable sweet and savory crepes, and menu of classic and coffee-based cocktails designed by local liquor legend Brother Cleve. Served daily and during weekend brunch, these caffeinated digestif drinks are all major upgrades from the standard espresso martini. You’ll sip French press coffee with Madagascar vanilla liqueur (called the Café a la Réunion) along with a take on Vietnamese coffee with espresso liquor and Saigon cinnamon. A tip for teetotalers, too: the artisanal mocktails like the French Spritz here are more than just fizzy water.
60 Seaport Blvd., Boston, 617-992-8654, parisseaport.com.
Seize the rest of the delightful weather on Cize Air—the delightful, sun-dappled outdoor dining area with a fabric-draped pergola at Cape Verdean eatery Restaurante Cesaria. It’s a place to relax with stiff drinks like the Paixão, where passionfruit puree balances the botanical bite of gin. Or knock down a few options from a 13-strong martini list (perhaps the Africa Nossa, with vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur, Baileys, and Kahlua). Don’t leave hungry, either. Fill up on feijoada (beans served with pork and spicy sausage), plus other delights dished out in more-than-generous portions.
266 Bowdoin St., Boston, 617-282-1998, restaurantcesaria.com.
Day drinking is like a temporary leave of absence from the responsibilities of real life. And you’d have to work hard to find a better place to go AWOL than Shore Leave, where even the indoor dining feels like a tropical oasis. Rum cocktails served in cheeky mugs? Summer camp-inspired parties and ’90s-themed drag shows? Check and check. The drinks are legit, even if it’s hard to take anything seriously when you’re sipping Japanese sake from a juice-box.
11 William E Mullins Way, Boston, 617-530-1775, shoreleaveboston.com.
Here’s the thing about day drinking: your “hilariously buzzed” BFF is someone else’s “drunk douche over there.” It’s possible to see this tableau play out at Six West—as well as overhear Southie-favorite arguments about how high-rises are ruining every neighborhood, where to get your coffee, etc.—but there’s no debate that the breezy, 4,000 square-foot rooftop bar boasts spectacular, VIP-level panoramic views of both the city and the water, along with delicious cocktails. One other thing everyone can agree on? The tropi-cooling effect of the Painchiller, the spot’s take on a painkiller cocktail, with gin, two kinds of rum, and a dash of allspice. It’s a balm that can squash any beef.
6 W Broadway, Boston, 857-496-0245, sixwestbroad.com.
When you’re in the mood to veg on the couch, find comfort-food bliss in a huge portion of gooey mac and cheese offered by Stillwater’s takeout-only outfit, the Mac Bar. When you’re in a more social space, though, grab your pals and head downtown to its perfect people-watching patio for craft brews and cocktails that turn drinking into a social sport. Take the party-in-a-glass Huge Group of Girls cocktail, a soiree of gin, sweet vermouth, persimmon, rhubarb bitters, and strawberry. The drinks here clearly have a sense of humor—see the Ariana Grande-inspired spicy Ghost tequila sendup called Thank You, Next, and the Afternoon Delight with Aperol, grapefruit shoju, and soda, which is a more crushable take on an Aperol spritz. The drinks are the kind you’ll shove in your friends’/quarantine pod’s faces with an urgent, “you need to try this!”
120 Kingston St., Boston, 617-936-3079, stillwaterboston.com.
Since opening in late June, this newcomer has been making waves in Eastie. Sail over to buzzing Pier One to find the seaside adult playground, where you can down dozens of oysters at a restaurant on an antique 245-foot-long charter boat. Nearby, sip frozen cocktails from two bars converted from shipping containers—then chart a course to the cornhole arenas, shovel in some food from the rotating food trucks, and bob around the artificial turf to the tune of some live music. Or if you’re feeling especially captain-like, you can rent one of the private waterfront lounges—which include a personal server—for up to four hours. Cheers-ing here with your best pals and a few bottles of rosé seems like the best way to watch the last of the summer float off for another year.
1 E Pier Drive, Boston, 617-307-7714, tallshipboston.com.