Boston Bar Grades Week 1
Bell in Hand: A-
BOSTON BAR GRADES: Your city’s nightlife report card
I’m not a Yelper. I’m not a Townie. I have no incentives here. I’m just your everyday millennial who has lived in the Bean for nearly a decade. I’ve been to them all… yes, even the non-fun ones. So it’s time to spread the deets. Here are your grades, Boston Bars.
Bell in Hand Tavern
Overall Grade: A-
Foot Traffic & Popularity: A
Crowd & People: A
Accessibility & Line: C
a) downstairs is like a casual pregame b) upstairs is always bumpin’ like a well-thrown party c) attractive people d) likely the longest line in Boston.
i) Get there before 10:15 or you’ll be watching episodes on Netflix in line.
ii) Grab drinks right when you get in to nurse while you wait in line for upstairs.
iii) When upstairs, it’s much easier to grab a drink in the back room.
We’ll kick things off by exposing the oldest tavern in the country, because age over beauty.
Things aren’t necessarily the prettiest at the Bell. The upstairs has somewhat of a funky layout that makes the popular room a little tight, there’s a second line just to get upstairs that’s awkwardly placed in the middle of the downstairs bar, and did I mention the longest line in Boston? Additionally, a ten-dollar cash cover at the door doesn’t exactly scream ‘tidiness’. However, with all this being said, almost 300 years since its first pour, Bell in Hand is doing more than alright. While unfortunately Paul Revere doesn’t come through for a beer anymore, the Bell is without question one of the most popular and consistent bars in Boston.
Its Faneuil Hall location allows for an easy audible should someone start complaining, drinks aren’t confusingly expensive like some bars in the area, and it’s never dead — regardless of season or weekend. You’ve got two floors with much different vibes to choose from — depending on how adult you’re feeling — along multiple bars on each floor, making it easy to refill when parched.
In terms of the crowd, you’ll often see a healthy mix of Boston millennial folk. For bros you have your bright-colored Vineyard Vines button downs, your skinny jeans and V-necks, and often even the overdressed businessmen who wear their work clothes on weekends. As far as women go, it’s usually a fun crowd looking to get their girl-dance on with friends. Don’t ask me why… I’m just the observer.
Overall, expect to have a fun night at Bell and Hand. And expect people around you to be having fun, as well. With the line, cover, line again, and not-gigantic upstairs bar area, it’s almost impossible to choose Bell as a last second desperation play on a weekend night. Most people upstairs had their plans in order and mentally prepared for a great night. So if you’re going to check it out, or you’ve tried it but something went awry along the way, head back to the drawing board and give ‘er another go. Crew of at least five, 10pm departure, shoes you can boogie in. There’s a start for ya.
By Turner Feeny
CHECK BACK WEEKLY FOR MORE BOSTON BAR GRADES
Next week: The Brahmin