If you ask any born-and-raised Bostonian for a 24-hour restaurant, they will tell you to head to South Street Diner. This place is a classic. It’s where your grandpa got eggs and toast at 3:30am on his way back from the rager where he met your grandma. Now a favorite of Greyhound riders and Tufts Medical Center residents coming off the graveyard shift, South Street serves all your typical diner food under the haze of blue lights that look like something Hollywood decided a diner should have. Beware, though: two eggs will run you $3, and the rest of the menu follows suit.
This shockingly affordable vegetarian chain is ubiquitous in Camberville, but only the Central Square location is open 24/7. Those who would mourn the loss of the building’s previous occupant, Hi-Fi Pizza (aka the beacon of greasiness that only appeared after too many tequilas), should get over it, and accept that Clover is way more delicious, even if it is full of kale. The sandwiches and snacks are just as filling as any late-night burger, plus you can get great drip coffee and homemade sodas. Crayons, a pinball machine, and free Wi-Fi will keep you entertained, and there are even farm-fresh eggs and other pantry goods for sale in case you realize your fridge is in particularly bachelor-y condition as you’re walking out the door.
Who could resist a never-closed bowl-o-rama with regular & candlepin bowling, billiards, batting cages, and an arcade? If you’re looking for something to do post-club (or if you ditched the club altogether), you could certainly come up with worse ideas than a few more beers and a couple games of pool. The Boston location even has a set of nightlife-inspired lanes called “Xperience,” with a private bar attached.
This is not a schmancy donut shop. If you want a variety of artisanal flavors and a dairy-free latte, we have recommendations for that, but it’s not here. This is where you go if it’s unspeakably early and you want a donut and a cup of coffee so you can get on with your life and function like a proper adult -- one with enough sugar and caffeine in their bloodstream to power through an extremely long morning. The amount of sugar and caffeine that money can buy here is phenomenal.
If you’re craving a cannoli at 4am, this tiny North End bakery is the only place to go. Grab one of several flavors (and bring cash!) or make yourself a to-go box of assorted cookies and pastries from the giant glass display cases up front. It’s a little cramped, so you’ll probably want to head outside to eat. (Also, “Hey, I know this cute cannoli place if you want to go somewhere a little quieter” is a pretty good pick-up line.)
This place is pretty much an insomniac's mecca. For all your insulin-resistance needs, the Harvard Square IHOP closes at 4am, making it a favorite for students, performers, bartenders, and pretty much anyone who is routinely awake and hungry after Tasty Burger closes. For the full 24/7 experience, cross the bridge over to Brighton, where you can stuff your face full of pancakes all day and night. They won’t be the best pancakes you’ve ever had, but they will be pancakes, and they will be in your mouth whenever you want them to be.
The 75 Francis St Au Bon Pain is open all the time to keep Longwood Medical Center’s doctors caffeinated and fed. If you’re in the area, we recommend that you stop by this establishment to show your appreciation for its contributions to medicine. And also because you’re kinda hungry.
Porter Square (& other locations)
Need to do totally mundane tasks at completely stupid hours? The denizens of the Porter Square Shaws (and its friend, the 24-hour Porter Square CVS) will make you feel like your nocturnal hours and trashy bachelor dietary habits are perfectly reasonable. So if you really need to buy two mangos, a bag of chocolate chips, some gummy vitamins, and tomorrow’s deodorant at three in the morning, this is the place to do it. There’s also one in Fenway.
For when you need to pump some iron at zero dark thirty. Whether you want to snag a treadmill before everybody else, or you feel the need to bench before bedtime, the Downtown Crossing location has you covered.
The one thing a Bostonian needs available at literally ALL TIMES is Dunk’s. It’s mildly amazing that there aren’t more 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts sprinkled around town. But if there’s going to be one, it had better be in the neighborhood where Good Will Hunting was set. Honestly, Ben Affleck delivering Matt Damon DD’s coffee every morning is the most adorable thing in that whole film. And if you don’t think it’s adorable, you probably don’t have a soul.
1. South Street Diner178 Kneeland St, Boston
2. Clover496 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
3. Boston Bowl820 Morrissey Blvd, Dorchester
4. Doughboy Donuts and Deli220 Dorchester Ave, Boston
5. Bova's Bakery134 Salem St, Boston
6. IHOP1850 Soldiers Field Rd, Brighton
7. Au Bon Pain75 Francis St, Boston
8. Shaws49 White St, Cambridge
9. Planet Fitness17 Winter St, Boston
A legend since 1947, the venerable South Street Diner is the only joint in Boston where you can get grub 24/7. And that’s big-time. The always-packed Worcester Dining Car has been churning out working man’s breakfasts since factory workers crowded the counter, and you can still get the same smile-inducing meals today. Regulars swear by the Monte Cristo, the smoked salmon, and the Diner Special complete with three eggs, two pancakes or French toast, home fries, toast, and choice of bacon, corn beef hash, ham, or sausage. But you really can’t go wrong with anything... just don’t forget to add a side of banana bread or grilled cinnamon roll.
With more than a dozen outposts and counting, Clover Food Lab has gone from the food truck brainchild of an MIT grad to a mini-chain that's redefining how Boston thinks of (and of course, eats) fast food. The company doesn't even have a damn freezer -- at any of its locations. That's how seriously they take their organic, creative, and fresh vegan dishes. Expect dishes like barbecue seitan and chickpea fritters, which, like just about every item on the menu, pair wonderfully with Clover's heavenly lavender lemonade.
Boston's very first ten-pin bowling alley -- it opened in 1959 -- boasts 24-hour regular & candlepin bowling, billiards, batting cages, and an arcade. After you grab your bowling shoes, order a round from Deadwood Brewery (we like the Boston Belgian), located on-site. The same guys are providing the food options, like pizzas, wings, and flatbreads. For a different vibe, grab time on the nightlife-inspired lanes called “Xperience,” which have a private bar attached.
In the era of gourmet donut shops, Doughboy Donuts stays true to its traditional roots. The Southie staple has an unpretentious interior, coffee shop simplicity, and those soft and tender donuts to start your morning (or end your night -- it's open 24 hours a day). Go for the fan favorite -- Boston Cream -- and a simple cup of Joe.
If you’re craving a cannoli at 4am, this tiny North End bakery, which is open 24-hours, is the only place to go. Grab one of several flavors (and bring cash!) or make yourself a to-go box of assorted cookies and pastries from the giant glass display cases up front. In need of something more savory? Bova's also makes calzones, Sicilian-style pizza, subs, and spuckies. It’s a little cramped, so you’ll probably want to head outside to eat.
This place is pretty much an insomniac's mecca, since it is open almost all day long so you can stuff your face full of pancakes all day and night. They won’t be the best pancakes you’ve ever had, but they will be pancakes, and they will be in your mouth whenever you want them to be. The Harvard Square IHOP closes at 4am, making it a favorite for students, performers, bartenders, and pretty much anyone who is routinely awake and hungry after Tasty Burger closes. If you aren't in the mood for pancakes, you can still rely on IHOP to give you all of the breakfast food options you could ever possibly want.
Longwood Medical Center's Au Bon Pain is open 24/7 which means you can get its croissants, salads, soups, and coffee whenever the craving strikes. This counter service spot's doing it part for Boston keeping doctors and hungry night owls well fed and highly caffeinated.
Got the munchies? Good thing this expansive supermarket in the Porter Square shopping center is open late (24 hours a day, seven days a week) and has literally everything you could ever want to eat or drink. This location includes a deli, bake shop, butcher, and large produce section.
Planet Fitness's Downtown Crossing location is open late (read: 24 hours a day, seven days a week) for those times when you need to pump iron at odd hours. Going at 3am ensures no one's gonna snag that coveted middle row treadmill. Score!