Cheers! These are the Hottest Bars in Boston Right Now

From a swanky cocktail bar in a former bank to a cell phone-free wine lounge, here's where to raise a toast.


The Fed’s sexy, carrot-orange Jessica Rabbit cocktail. / Photo by Brian Keith Photography for “The 25 Best Bars in Boston.”

Sometimes you’re looking to dine out at one of the hottest restaurants in Boston. At other times, though, what you’re really hankering for is a killer cocktail, a buzzy bar vibe—and yeah, some really tasty snacks wouldn’t hurt, either. For that, we bring you a timely trip through the bars in the city that have us talking right now. Some of them rank among Boston’s most stalwart spots; others are unique newcomers, or simply mixing things up in interesting ways. We’ll always toast to that.

Cicada Coffee Bar

Any day of the week, this new Cambridge cafe is a perfect place to pop by for pastries, tea, and Vietnamese coffee—perhaps an iced glass of foamy, caffeinated heaven spiked with Maine sea salt and sweetened with condensed milk. It really shines on weekends, though, as Cicada @ Night: That’s when the same intimate, greenery-festooned bar that pulls espresso also pours natural wines, beer, and sake to accompany dinner plates (oxtail in a lemongrass wine broth, for instance, or duck with red wine onions and black rice) that would impress at any much-larger restaurant.

106 Prospect St., Cambridge, 617-714-4766, cicadacoffeebar.co.

Dear Annie. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Dear Annie

Salutations to Dear Annie, a much-anticipated natural wine bar from the team behind Somerville’s superlative farm-to-table restaurant Field & Vine. When it finally arrived in November, the space was everything we wanted it to be: A showcase of exceptional bottles from boutique vintners, all curated by local wine expert Lauren Friel, as well as a charming setting for sharing pescatarian plates from chef Andrew Brady at a single communal table. It feels like a gathering at a best friend’s house, and you’ll probably make some new ones, too.

1741 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, dearanniebar.com.

Drink Fort Point

Drink / Photo by Brian Samuels

Drink

Barbara Lynch’s nationally lauded cocktail bar has it all: a sleek subterranean setting in Fort Point, one of the best burgers in Boston—and now, a menu. That last one might not sound impressive, but bear in mind that when Drink opened in 2008, it was with the then-novel invitation to simply describe your drink preferences to the barkeep (“whiskey, leathery, rich…”), then let them take the wheel. With its relaunch in November after a pandemic-time hiatus, though, Drink has debuted a lineup of predesigned libations like the Bohemian, with gin, elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit juice. Don’t worry, you can still ask for recs, of course, even when ordering 12-ounce to-go tipples online.

348 Congress St., Boston, 617-695-1806, drinkfortpoint.com.

The Fed. / Image provided

The Fed

Old-school Boston class, a dash of New Boston glitz, and really, really great drinks: That’s the Fed, which moved into the Financial District’s Langham hotel just a few months ago. Housed inside a former Federal Reserve Bank, it understandably looks like a million bucks. But we didn’t expect that we’d be so blown away by the cocktails—the sophisticated rye, sherry, Cognac, and candy cap mushroom tincture that is the Fun Guy, for instance—or the upscale snacks. See: French fries dusted with lobster roe seasoning, with tarragon aioli for dipping.

250 Franklin St., Boston, 617-956-8765, langhamhotels.com.

Fool's Errand overall shot

Fool’s Errand. / Photo by Toan Trinh

Fool’s Errand

On one hand, we definitely miss the days when we could pop into star chef Tiffani Faison’s standing-room-only cocktail bar, Fool’s Errand, any time we liked. That said, its pandemic-time pivot to take on private bookings is, well, a really great excuse to pool together some cash with friends, take over the 400-square-foot space, and share a customized wine- or cocktail-paired menu—not to mention, a totally unique experience.

1377 Boylston St, Boston, foolserrandboston.com.

Zuzu’s Petals

Sometimes you just want to skip to the good stuff: Wine and dessert. Zuzu’s Petals gets it, which is why this new Cambridge hang serves up only glasses full of hard-to-find grapes, artisan cheese boards, and sweets (co-owner Alexandra Whisnant is the lauded chocolatier behind Somerville’s Gâté Comme Des Filles, so don’t miss Zuzu’s Tahitian vanilla bean chocolate mousse). What’s more, the place designates itself a cell-phone-free zone, encouraging guests to focus on friends, flavor, and the warm whirring of vinyl records—the best stuff of all.

204 Hampshire St., Cambridge, zuzuspetalscambridge.com.