Best spiked hot chocolate
MET Back BayAddress and Info
Sure, you can microwave your Baileys, but you’re far better off heading to MET for not one but four different melted Taza varietals, each spiked with a different liqueur (amaretto, espresso liqueur, white creme de menthe, and the aforementioned Baileys).
Local 149Address and Info
While Boston has plenty of bars with fireplaces in them, we’re partial to Local 149 because it’s a genuine wood-burning entity. Plus, you can hang out approximately six inches away from its grate.
Best hot cocktails
Russell House TavernAddress and Info
Lots of booze havens around town experiment with gourmet hot toddies, but Russell House turns up the heat (yes, HA. HA. HA.) with a hot toddy-Old Fashioned hybrid called the Fashionably Hot (see, they’re funny too!). Russell’s canny barbacks start with rye, add some amaro (and a black tea tincture for a smoky flare), and then top that sucker off with cinnamon and vanilla syrups before heating the whole thing up to gut-warming level.
Bristol BarAddress and Info
It’s nicknamed “Boston’s Living Room” for a reason. The bar within the lounge is equipped with oversized plush sofas, mood lighting, and plate glass window views of the passersby outside. Of course, as great as the couches are, the martinis are even better. And sure, we’re definitely not complaining about the food.
Best dark beer list
Lord HoboAddress and Info
Kendall Square/Inman Square
Is there a Boston bar that doesn’t pour a passable Guinness? Among them all, Lord Hobo does right by the lesser-known stouts and porters, from a lower alcohol Irish stout to one called Tart of Darkness. All we know is that each one goes down like a warm milkshake.
Best spot to watch winter sports
Parlor SportsAddress and Info
A lot of bars that cater to the football crowds pull way back after the first week of February. Parlor, however, is a four-season, four-sport kind of hangout -- and a no-nonsense one at that. No buzzy restaurant crowd distract you from the game; just five screens tuned to the basketball and hockey games of the moment, best chased with a $9 classic cocktail.
Best comfort food bar menu
MarliaveAddress and Info
Marliave understands the thrill of rich, gooey, old-school pleasures slurped down barside on a glacial winter day. Translation: cheese-rich classics like French onion soup and macaroni and cheese... with black truffles.
Best bar to wear your ugliest sweater
JJ Foley’sAddress and Info
Yeah, none of us are looking our best right now (and if you are, we don’t want to hear about it). JJ Foley’s motto? Drink before dress. OK, not really, but Foley’s is one of those places where you can sport soiled Uggs and a mess of a pullover and not feel an iota of self-consciousness.
Best post-workout bar
Blu RestaurantAddress and Info
Working out is a surefire way to combat seasonal affective disorder. Working out, then hitting the bar without ever leaving the gym? We swear, if everyone knew that the Downtown Equinox contained a full-service bar within its four walls, membership levels would skyrocket. There is a singular pleasure in hauling your ass out of the yoga studio and into the bar space, only to spot your instructor already sucking down a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.