The Best Bars to Hit if You’re Single in Boston
Grab a drink and have a meet cute at the same time.
So here’s a crazy data point: About a year ago, Boston was ranked as the second-best city in the country for singles. Wait, what? Even with the cards (allegedly) in our favor, it can be tough to find your next true love (or person of the moment).
Enter our list of the best bars for singles in Boston. With seductive decor, adventurous crowds, and potent (or cheap) drinks, each of these spots makes it easy to put yourself out there and hard to leave—unless you’re leaving with someone else.
Why is this place packed at all hours of the night? Blame the enormous horseshoe-shaped bar area, which attracts as many after-work city singles as it does middle-aged couples enjoying cocktails and tapas. What makes this place especially appealing? The relative maturity—behavior-wise, not age-wise—of the crowd, which might restore just a bit of your faith in humanity.
Boston Sail Loft
Yes this one has a nasty little nickname—and no, we’re not going to share it. Suffice it to say, the moniker pays homage to this harborside bar’s raucous hookup scene. Order the potent rum punch and then let your eyes roam. What they’re landing on: ladies and dudes who definitely own their fair share of Lily Pulitzer and Nantucket reds (and probably docked their boats nearby).
Legal’s flagship by-the-sea goes overboard with its posh indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge and appropriately named Promenade Deck; the crowd is similarly decked out in its sexiest, most over-the-top outfits, even in winter (thank you, retractable roof and giant fireplace). Catch the sunset while slurping infinity oysters, and treat your friends to pitchers of punch to improve their own odds.
Pull out your one true designer outfit and otherwise clean up as best you know how, because The Liberty is ground zero for well-heeled hookups. Your best bet is to scope out the four main bar areas (Liberty Bar, Alibi, The Yard, Scampo) and their respective clientele before committing to a location. But, generally speaking, The Yard and Alibi are for the young’uns, and Scampo and Liberty Bar lure in a 30-something crowd.
Lolita Back Bay
Sure, there’s another outpost on the water in Fort Point that’s a lovely spot for daytime drinks and above-board socializing. But when darkness falls and it’s mischief you seek, Lolita’s original site in the Back Bay—thankfully reopened after two years—is your joint. The subterranean lair is dark and moody, lit primarily in red, giving it a boudoir flair. The bar is where the after-work action is at—order a frozen margarita and the bacon guacamole and offer to share with a future boo.
They don’t call it Lucky’s for nothing. There’s something charmingly throwback about the scene here—close your eyes and you can almost imagine a hookup scene before there were dating apps, or even cellphones. If you strike out? Nothing the bar’s lauded painkiller can’t cure.
Shyness is no match for daiquiris, which Mariel has in spades, along with many 20- and 30-somethings looking for love. We don’t know whether it's the 1950s Havana decor or simply the Financial District location, but Mariel attracts slews of gussied-up professionals looking to decompress and go a little crazy. Order yourself a flaming mojito and just wait for the wooers to flit over.
Oak Long Bar & Kitchen
Ever since its reinvention almost a decade ago, Oak Long Bar has lured in all manner of well-heeled singles on the prowl. Its allure is partly in the name—the long copper bar, with its plush seating, invites you to settle in and enjoy a few while surreptitiously checking out the crowd. And let’s be honest: there’s something especially seductive about a hotel bar; you never know who you’re going to meet on a given night.
What was once Locke-Ober, a wood-paneled restaurant that hosted a million three-martini lunches, is now a supper club that’s indisputably sexy. With endless lines, the implied to-the-nines dress code, and the celebrity sightings, Yvonne’s is a see-and-be-seen (and-maybe-hook-up) mainstay. Start with a glass of wine at the bar before dragging your new love interest into the lounge for a large-scale cocktail.