Four nights in Boston, MA (USA)

So, this one will be a bit different. I recently found myself in Boston but unlike all the other trips I’ve ever been on, this time it was for work. With that in mind, I knew I wasn’t going to get to the bottom of the city in the way I might like – there would certainly be activities I wouldn’t get a chance to do – places I wouldn’t get to go. So I decided not to worry about it. Go to Boston, do my thing, come home.

However, while I was there I did a hell of a lot of eating and drinking. This will be a rundown of the bars and restaurants I ate at while I was there, as well as other logistical type things that I found when I was there.

So, I stayed in a place called Hi Boston Hostel. It’s on Stuart Street, near the Tufts medical centre and Chinatown. Great location, decent hostel. It’s very conveniently located for the parts of town I found myself in. Set on six floors with two large communal areas, I was in a six person mixed dorm. There are showers separate to the room as well, which is good in case you have a queue in your room for the toilet.

the view from Hi Boston Hostel

Food:

So, the first night I found myself out and about until 1am and walked back toward Chinatown. I might be wrong about this, but in that part of town it seemed pretty damn dead on a weeknight. The only thing I found open was the Black Seed Cafe & Grill on Tremont Street. Ordered a burger and fries and it was amazing. Maybe it was the beers in me, but for about $8 it was fresh and delicious. Nothing to shout about, but if you find yourself in that area, late at night, on a Wednesday, you could do a lot worse.

The next day I stumbled into a Wendy’s for lunch. I know it’s just fast food, but we need these back in the UK. Much more enjoyable than BK or McDonalds.

The Boston Kitchen Pizza place is right next to Hi Boston Hostel in Chinatown and it’s definitely worth a visit. If you’re on a budget you can’t do better in this city than these slices. One slice with toppings is about $4 and a cheese slice is $3.50. But one is enough. On my first trip there I got two slices and just about finished them. It was about the same as eating an entire pizza back home. Served on paper plates with loud, friendly staff and a mix of blue collar and tourists as patrons, this is my favourite spot to eat in Boston. New York Pizza is just around the corner and serves the same basic food but for a higher price. BKP isn’t open late whereas NYP is on weekends.

Also on Tremont Street, but closer to the hostel was Maria’s Taqueria. Cheap and delicious tacos – I had carnitas with everything. Served on corn tortillas these are more authentic than we typically get in Europe. I went to El Pelón Taqueria a few days after and had a couple of the chicken tacos. These were even nicer than the ones at Marias, so if you’re near Fenway then it’s definitely worths stopping in here!

Chicken tacos at El Pelón

So far it’s all been paper plate food. This was what I ate for 95 per cent of my food in Boston as I was on a serious budget, but I did pop into Rock Bottom, a bar and grill on Stuart Street that was tremendous value for money. The burgers were top notch. Mine had a lot of spice on it and was much larger than I was expecting. Overall, would definitely go back and recommend it to anybody looking for an affordable meal.

Drinks

So, when I arrived in Boston I wanted the bar experience that I had seen on television numerous times. Sat at the bar talking crap with the bartender and any number of people drinking their evening away. I dropped my stuff at the hostel and began wandering.

I wasn’t short on choice – but that made it harder. I wandered and wandered, looking for the perfect spot. Eventually I realised that there would be no such thing, and I entered a bar called Broadside. It seemed exactly what I wanted. Sports on the TV. Guiness on tap. I ended up staying in here the whole night chatting with the bartender – a good chap called Eric, with a lot of strong views on television shows, and some of the locals. It was a great first night and I was sad to not get the chance to come back. It was over by Boston Harbour, and I never found myself there again.

The next day I went to a couple of spots. The first was The Tam, a place really close to the hostel, which I found myself in a few times over the long weekend. The bartender was a good laugh and the ice cold beer was cheaper than anywhere else I drank. Gets busy in the evenings but nice and quiet for a lunchtime pint.

The Tam

Later that first night I met some friends at their hotel bar. A gay-friendly spot connected to the StayPineapple hotel. Not much to write home about but it was a cheap spot in a relatively up-market looking part of town. They played Ru-Paul’s Drag Race on the television while we drank and it was a pretty loud and exciting vibe.

The Corner Pub was the bar of choice for the next evening. It was exactly what I expected from an Irish Boston pub. It was full of locals watching sports on the screens and playing strange bar games I didn’t understand. The drinks weren’t too expensive but the music was very loud. This wouldn’t be an issue for me normally, but it seemed too loud. We couldn’t hear each other at all. Still though, it had a great atmosphere and the bar food looked tremendous.

The Rock Bottom bar and Grill was worth mentioning on the drinks front. $4 for the beer of the day was the cheapest deal I saw while in the city. I was lucky enough to get a smores flavoured beer. I did not know what that would be, but it was damn tasty.

The last day in Boston I stopped by Fenway for a little look around. To escape the heat I went in the BEERWORKS. A huge bar that serves craft beer (at craft beer prices). Nice to get out of the heat, and I imagine on game-day it’s a good atmosphere.

Fenway Park

On the way back to the hostel, (after which I was heading for the airport) I stopped in at Lir. Another Irish bar with a colourful cast of characters tending the bar and propping it up. This was my favourite bar of all the ones I went in because it was part of the Arsenal USA supporters group. Not for everyone, maybe, but had a great view out onto Boylston Street.

Lir Irish pub

Other Stuff:

Firstly, you can walk this city. I only took the T (the subway) in order to get to and from the airport. I walked to the main sites of interest and to my work stuff without any problem at all. Fenway to Chinatown is only 45 minutes and that was about the longest walk I had to do while I was there. It’s definitely a walkable city.

The Freedom Trail is a good way to pass a couple of hours (do it before 5pm if you want to go into some of the museums). It’s basically a great tour of the city taking in the major points of interest of the revolutionary war. There’s a brick line in the pavement starting at Boston Commons that takes you the whole 2-3 miles.

The T to and from the airport is a breeze. $2.75 at the machines and you get a ticket. The airport is on the blue line. You can change between the lines to get to your destination without any trouble.

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