Boston's Hip Nightlife

See Travel Channel's picks for the Boston's Top 5 spots to explore after dark, including Sweet Cheeks Q, Scholars, and The Hawthorne.

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Photo by: Hamza Daoui, flickr

Hamza Daoui, flickr

Think Boston’s nightlife is as puritanical as its history? Think again. Although the city does shut down relatively early (most bars close at 2 a.m.), it still has plenty to offer visitors searching for hip restaurants, bars and lounges. When the sun sets on your daytime obligations, head to one of these hot spots to see what locals are buzzing about.

Located along Boston’s historic Freedom Trail, this 1-year-old bistro and cocktail lounge provides a welcome respite for those working or shopping in the busy Downtown Crossing area. With 2 stories and multiple entertainment choices, Scholars is a more spacious and varied alternative to Beantown’s typically cramped clubs and pubs. Guests have the option to shoot pool in the billiards lounge, dance to the DJ’s tunes, nosh on fried pickles and whiskey short ribs,or sip locally inspired cocktails like the Granary Ground (bourbon, bitters, and peach puree) and Boston Tea Party (house-blend honey peach tea infusion, lemon, and soda). Scholars is located at 25 School Street near the Downtown Crossing stop on the Red or Orange Line. Call 617-248-0025 for more information.

Sweet Cheeks Q
A barbeque joint may seem unexpected in the shadow of hallowed Fenway Park, but this tasty newcomer has hit a gastronomical homerun. Headed by Top Chef finalist Tiffani Faison, Sweet Cheeks Q sports classic down-home fare, including pulled pork, beef brisket, hush puppies, fried okra and sweet potato pie -- a perfect way to fill up before watching the city’s beloved Red Sox do battle. Sweet Cheeks sits conveniently close to the club scene on nearby Lansdowne Street where you can dance your cares away if Sox players like Big Papi or Dice-K break your heart with a loss. Sweet Cheeks Q is located at 1381 Boylston Street near the Fenway stop on the Green Line. Call 617-266-1300 for more information.

If your travels take you to the Seaport District be sure to visit Drink, a cocktail geek’s dream come true. The brainchild of prolific local chef Barbara Lynch, this must-see bar specializes in bespoke cocktails. Pull up a stool at the large, open rectangular bar and watch as your mixologist creates a unique concoction based on your specific tastes, incorporating freshly squeezed fruit and muddled herbs. Far classier than the haunts in Cocktail (or Coyote Ugly), the uber-interactive, theater-in-the-round experience still entertains. Hungry for more? Head next door to Lynch’s restaurant Sportello for an Italian-inspired meal. Drink is located at 348 Congress Street --about a 10-minute walk from South Station on the Red Line. For more information, call 617-695-1806.

Lone Star Taco Bar
We know: you’re in Boston, not Austin. But don’t let that stop you from sampling what’s been called some of the city’s best Tex-Mex food. Open since January 2012, Lone Star Taco Bar requires a trip to the nearby neighborhood of Allston, downtown Boston’s younger, trendier sibling. Fill your tacos with everything from homemade chorizo to braised tofu, and wash it all down with a 20-oz. “mug-arita” or a michelada (beer, lime, and tomato juice). Don’t miss the grilled “street” corn topped with cotija cheese and cilantro -- or the chance to get the scoop on the neighborhood scene from local hipsters at the small, shared tables. Lone Star is located at 477 Cambridge Street in Allston. It's about a 10-minute walk from the Harvard Ave. stop on the Green Line. Call 617-782-8226 for more information. No website available.

The Hawthorne
For a more elegant vibe, stop by The Hawthorne, the Hotel Commonwealth’s new cocktail lounge. Located right near the “T” in Kenmore Square, the space can get crowded but never feels hectic, even on weekends. Whether you’re seated at the bar or relaxing in one of the wing-backed chairs, it’s impossible not to enjoy the tasteful and convivial atmosphere. The focus is on high-end craft cocktails, such as the Paper Plane (bourbon, bitters, and lemon) and the pink Belle du Jour (cognac, benedictine, and bubbles). Even so, the bar also offers a selection of fine wines and beer. Order the deviled eggs, soft pretzels with bourbon mustard or other small bites to share. If you’re in the mood for dinner, try one of the hotel’s 2 restaurants, Island Creek Oyster Bar or Eastern Standard. The Hawthorne’s award-winning mixologist also runs the bar programs at those popular restaurants. The Hawthorne is located at 500A Commonwealth Avenue near the Kenmore stop on the Green Line. Call 617-432-9150 for more information.

While a trip to Boston should include visits to the usual historic sites and famed museums, after dark, continue your city education with a tour of these new and notable watering holes -- all accessible by subway.

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