When you turn 30, you can start investing in the important things: Sox season tickets, end tables that are not from Urban Renewals, and beer that comes in real glasses. What you can’t invest your time in are the same bars you went to in college. Save yourself the painful flashbacks and leave these 10 Boston bars to the next generation of drinkers.
1. Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree is one of those bars that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Between the dance music that no one is dancing to, the Formula-1 racing on the TV, and the vaguely schizophrenic lighting, it feels like you’ve walked into a 9th-grader’s idea of what a nightclub should look like, complete with Tufts students pounding watered-down well drinks and hard ciders. Local co-ed dodgeball teams invade on Monday nights to chug saccharine whiskey like it’s their job, because they did not get those branded knee socks by NOT drinking.
Patron’s seems to exist solely to steer BU bros away from Sunset, the considerably more dignified establishment downstairs. Sunset boasts hundreds of beers on tap, hearty portions of pub food, and stupidly delicious dessert nachos. Patron’s boasts foosball, Wednesday night karaoke, and a stairway perpetually littered with red Solo cups.
3. White Horse
White Horse is so packed with students during the school year that you’re guaranteed to be the oldest person there if you’re a day over 25. The lack of cover charge barely makes up for the smell of stale beer and sweat, which can only be escaped when the patio is open. Unfortunately, you’ll have to fight your way through crowds of stumbly patrons loitering on the small and sticky dance floor to get there.
Common Ground is where BU seniors go when Patron’s is full, the lines at White Horse are too long, and they just saw their ex at TITS (Tavern In The Square to the layperson) so they can’t go there because, well, drama. It’s cool though, they have Downeast on tap.
Dillon’s is where you go if your priorities are energy drinks, vodka, and ancient LL Cool J songs. Expect to feel totally out of place if you’re not sporting the mandatory popped button down or jersey dress, and shouting to your friends about how so-and-so didn’t text you back and daddy cut off your credit card, and maybe you should just give up and go to Daisy’s, but it's closed! Noooo!
The Pour House is so familiar with fakes, there’s a scanning machine at the door to weed out Berklee and Emerson students with dodgy IDs. This should be enough to convince you to leave, but if it’s not, just inside the door is a prominent sign reading “Please seat yourself at a clean table,” because clean tables are in short supply, and the harried bartenders don’t want to hear you whine when you drop your coat in a puddle of sour cream. Décor highlights include an oversized statue of a pirate in a belly shirt, several incarnations of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story, and ropes of cheese artfully stuck to the bar by the one over-30 person who is staring sadly into their plate of nachos and trying to remember whether they're at The Pour House, Lir, or McGreevy’s, because they’ve all melded together in their brain.
7. The Burren
In summer, the Burren is arguably OK. There's serviceable food, drinks, beer, and sometimes better than decent cover bands in the back. But come September, the place is so crawling with obnoxious frat boys that paying a cover charge to brave the throngs of loud, hostile 20-somethings, who seethe at you if you so much as glance at their table, is just not worth it.
8. Mary Ann’s
Any bar that needs TSA-levels of security should raise a red flag, but especially if it’s as gross as Scary Ann’s. You don’t go to SA’s to unwind or get to know the pretty girl from the gym. You go because you want to get hammered on $2 Narragansett tall boys in a windowless room full of people singing "Sweet Caroline," play a round or two of Big Buck Hunter, and start a fight with anyone who isn’t wearing a Boston College sweatshirt. It’s more of a coming-of-age ritual than a bar.
9. The Tam
The Tam is the definition of a dive, but without the legendary status of Scary Ann’s. It’s cheap, cash only, covered in a patina of beer, and filled with Emerson students who don't know what to do with their lives.
10. Hong Kong
Affectionately known as “The Wrong Kong,” or just “The Kong,” Hong Kong is where Harvard kids go to slam test-tube shots, sing awful karaoke, and fish plastic figurines out of the blistering house scorpion bowls (those long straws will inevitably end up all over the floor). Unless you want to pay $5 for a plastic cup filled with coconut vodka and listen to the entire Harvard rowing team talk about their dead lifts, you probably don’t need to be here.
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