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Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

wisconsin
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Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

My wife and I are Wisconsinites looking forward to our dream vacation to Boston and Salem in October.

We will be staying several nights at the Harborside Inn near Faneuil Hall.

Since we are always looking for good company and possibly partaking in a few adult beverages at night, we were wondering if there are any neighborhoods we should be sure to steer clear of in this area?

Also, I was curious if there are any good sport bars close to this hotel so we could catch some NFL games on Sunday.

Frog Pond
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Cambridge, MA
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1. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

The Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall area can turn rowdy and sometimes violent as the hour gets later and its many drinking establishments close. It's mostly fights between intoxicated males, but there's been the occasional shooting or stabbing too. The adjoining Downtown Crossing neighborhood is more foreboding after dark than actually dangerous, but its streets are mostly deserted once the stores have closed and the office workers have headed for home. Thanks to the Suffolk and Emerson campuses and its central location, Tremont St stays bustling later. Beacon Hill and the North End are safe sections of the city at any time.

Technically, every bar in Boston becomes a "sports bar" during the baseball and football seasons. But for a place with multiple wide-screen TV's you'd have to travel a bit. Here are the locals' favorites:

Champions, in the Marriott Copley Place, either despite of or because of its being part of a national chain;

The new "Game On" complex, and the Cask & Flagon, near Fenway Park; and

The Sports Depot in Allston.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

Faneuil Hall can get a little rough and tumble in the hours after the bars close, but I wouldn't worry about it. I've walked home from there late at night when I lived on Beacon Hill and never had an issue.

Spensworld is right about any bar turning into a sports bar per se, especially when the Sox go deep into the playoffs. Sundays is all football.

Here's a few I would recommend:

The Bell in Hand - on Union Street @ Faneuil Hall (a bit of a meat market on Thursday nights)

The Fours - Canal Street, North Station

The Harp - Causeway Street across from the New Garden

The Sevens - 77 Charles Street, Beacon Hill (small, dark and you'll need a shoe wedge to get in)

The 21st Amendment - top of Bowdoin Street in the shadow of the State House - it's OK; filled with state pols after the day of heavy government work is over.....

The Red Hat - Corner of Cambridge and Bowdoin Streets, Beacon Hill. This was my neighborhood place when I lived on the Hill. Used to be a little scruffier (read: more character) than of late. There are two levels, the upstairs has dining and a bar, and it's rather sedate. The walls used to have interesting murals of the old West End. The downstairs is the bar - small and dark, with black and white photos taken before and during the war. This place is one of the last to survive from the old Scollay Square neighborhood, which consisted mainly of cheap rooming houses and burlesque theatres. (There's a great pic of The Old Howard just as its days were coming to an end.)

I suspect that the upstairs was where ladies were allowed and the basement was where the hard drinkers were. But they are one of the few places left that I know of where they still serve drinks in pitchers - Mudslides like you read about!

Their menu is pretty good - you can get served both upstairs and downstairs. I still have fond memories of that place - especially on hot summer nights when my 4th floor flat was just unbearable.

Boston, MA
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3. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

The Faneuil Hall area is certainly rowdy late at night, but I definitely wouldn't call it dangerous. My girlfriends and I have spent tons of time there over the past five years and have never felt the slightest bit threatened or heard of any incidents. It does get very noisy and crowded with young folks in various states of inebriation at night on weekends, so if that kind of thing bothers you, you might want to consider another location. A lot of the bars in that area are geared more toward the single, "meat market" scene, and I'm not sure if that's the kind of thing you're looking for. It's all pretty innocuous though.

One place right in Faneuil Hall that is a bit more adult and is very cute with live Irish music is the Black Rose. It's a pretty popular spot and gets packed early. Another great place close by in Government Center is the Kinsale Pub, which has great food. On Tremont Street in between the State House and Downtown Crossing, there's a place called the Beantown Pub with good food, a bunch of pool tables and big screens for watching the game. I also really like Tia's on the waterfront, but October might be a bit too cold to hang out at a bar that is mostly outside.

beansandcod, have you been to Red Hat recently? Maybe I just always catch it on a bad night, but I've been there several times over the past few years and was always pretty turned off. I've ordered food there a couple of times, as well as mudslide pitchers, and it was all pretty awful each time. I've also had issues with atrociously bad service and once, we actually had to leave because of a heinous smell coming from the kitchen. I'm pretty easy to please and really never have any problems anywhere else I go. Maybe I just have strangely bad luck there!

Boston
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4. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

Spensworld, Give me a break!!

"The Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall area can turn rowdy and sometimes violent as the hour gets later and its many drinking establishments close. It's mostly fights between intoxicated males, but there's been the occasional shooting or stabbing too."

How can you be considered a local expert?! This place is fine and not to be worried about. It's only the biggest tourist attraction in the city.

boston
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5. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

I would slightly disagree with Spens world as well. I have gone to Fanueil Hall for the last 4 years and have never felt uneasy walking around. In fact, the bars there are some of my favorite ones in the city..The only bars I do not prefer to go to are The Purple Shamrock and Sissy K's (again, in the Fanueil Hall area). Young crowd, usually in their early 20's and rowdy. Other than that, feel free to explore all of the other bars in that area, Ned Devines, The Black Rose, Durgin Park, and The Bell in Hand....you can easily make a "pub crawl" out of a night and I can promise they will ALL be showing "the game".

Cambridge, MA
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6. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

I don't think "rowdy and sometimes violent" is a departure from how Quincy Market is on weekends. That's not saying it's a place to be avoided at all times and all costs. Being a city person, that sort of stuff fazes me no more than it does the two who've challenged my earlier post and I've never run into problems over there. My own neighborhood in Cambridge gets the same way on Friday and Saturday nights, and I wouldn't live anywhere else. But the scene's probably not one that a Midwestern couple, whether they're in their 30's or 90's, would go for. I think we can all agree on that, at least in terms of after 10 or so at night.

Charlotte NC
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7. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

If you are looking for a true "neighborhood bar" I would recommend the Warren Tavern in Charlestown. It is right off the Freedom Trail in Charlestown - and is pegged as the "oldest tavern in America." Boston has a lot of the oldest what-nots in America, but I think this one is worth checking out. Also, Boston is a great walking city so you would definitely be able to walk to Charlestown from where you are staying (15-20 min walk).

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

Celebrien.

Admittedly it's been a quite a while since I was at the Red Hat. Perhaps my memories are a bit hazy with nostalgia..... yes, there was always a bit of an unseemliness to it - perhaps I just thought of it as character (?). I will agree that the Kinsale is a definite - I tend to overlook that one due to its location.

And yes, the Warren tavern is a great neighborhood pub, but a bear to get to. I like to stick with places you get into and out of on foot if need be. Sometimes it's safer that way. Another place is Harvard Gardens across from Mass General, and although these days are long gone, I recall nursing a beer or two at the grubby Beacon Hill Pub watching Bruins games. Of course, when the place has a reputation of "a bar scene straight out of Star Wars', it's perhaps best avoided...... LOL

Boston...
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9. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

First, let me state that unless you make a pointed effort to go out of your way to find trouble, you're EXTREMELY unlikely to find it in such a popular venue as Quincy Market. Sure, "stuff" happens, but no more here than anywhere else where students, tourists and sports fans congregate... this is NOT a place habituated by "gang-bangers, pimps and drug dealers".

Now, since Salem has been missing in the dialogue so far, and assuming you'll be seeking refreshment while there, you may ask locals about what's going on at either "Major's" or "Dodge Street". They're both close to the places I'm sure you'll be visiting while in Salem. Dodge Street, in particular, occaisionally gets some very good live entertainment.

Not knowing your ages and tastes, my very best advice would be to simply ask a local... we have a rep here for being cold and stand-offish, but we're actually THRILLED when people approach us for stuff like that... besides, you're from a Blue state, so you'll be welcomed like family.

Boston, MA
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10. Re: Neighborhoods and Sport Bars.

I actually almost recommended the Beacon Hill Pub myself, but I think that's one of those places I love because of fun memories there and not necessarily because it's for everyone. It's pretty shabby.

However, there is an outstanding Thai restaurant either next door or right across the street on Charles Street called King and I. It's not usually the kind of crowd I prefer (a little on the pseudo-intellectual side), but the food is completely underpriced and the service is great. It has to be the best overall value in all of Boston.