Theatrical cocktails, a cozy sake nook, an all-local public market bar, and more: We adored having a drink at this year’s excellent new spots. (Plus, eight notable expansions and revamps.)
Was 2022 the Year of the Cocktail? It really has been a strong year for dramatically presented, intricately constructed cocktails—and intimate, high-end cocktail bars with nearly impossible-to-get reservations. But we’ve seen some exhilarating new spots in the beer and wine spaces too—and even a couple of sake-focused venues. All in all, a good year to enjoy a drink.
This is part three of our year-end reminiscing about our favorite new openings of 2022; here, we focus on bars and restaurants where the bar program takes center stage. (A special cheers to the brand new Birds of Paradise and Medford Brewing Company, whose openings crept in during the final days of the year and just missed the cutoff for our 2022 love. We’ll see you in the new year!)
See also: Our favorite new full-service restaurants, fast-casual restaurants, and bakeries and cafés of 2022.
Hidden underneath Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s new “coastal Italian” spot Faccia a Faccia (see our best new full-service restaurant roundup), sibling watering hole Bar Pallino is meant to have Parisian wine bar vibes and showcases a large selection of natural wines, plus some small-batch amari, mezcals, and other spirits. There’s a small bar snack menu, but you’ll want to head upstairs if you’re looking for a full meal.
278 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-991-1080, facciaafacciaboston.com/bar-pallino.
One of the toughest reservations of 2022 just might be Farmacia, a nine-seat cocktail bar in the North End where you prepay for a ticket and enjoy a modifiable multi-course cocktail journey. The menu—known here as a “chapter”—changes every few months and might draw inspiration from a certain place, spirit, or other theme. (Currently: The Winter Solstice, featuring drinks like an aged eggnog and a peppermint bark espresso martini. Next: A Pirate’s Life—Flavors of the Caribbean.) Light bar snacks accompany the experience.
5 North Sq., North End, Boston, farmacianorthend.com.
Farthest Star Sake
It’s a bit of a hike from Boston, but Medfield is home to the only sake brewery and taproom in the region, Farthest Star Sake. Make the trip to the family-friendly venue for flights, full pours, and sake cocktails, featuring Farthest Star’s frequently changing selection of sakes; you’ll find filtered and unfiltered varieties, as well as flavored options. Try a Japanese packaged snack or two on the side or bring your own food.
120 N. Meadows Rd., Medfield, fartheststarsake.com.
If you want to drink eye-catching cocktails in a cave-like venue surrounded by hints of mysticism, Hecate’s your spot. Located below its big sibling Krasi, the popular Greek restaurant and wine bar in Back Bay, Hecate feels downright magical with its dark, moody ambiance and leather-bound illustrated menus. Want to get in? You’ll have to work for it—Hecate doesn’t take reservations, and the wait for one of the 24 seats can get long. But give it a try, and you’ll be rewarded with, well…whatever you see here.
Public Alley 443, Back Bay, Boston, hecatebar.com.
High Street Place
This downtown food hall is packed full of places to eat and drink; see some of the food details in our fast-casual restaurant roundup. Most of the restaurants offer some boozy delights, but there are a few dedicated bars worth a visit, too: Head to Alewives Taproom for craft beer, featuring Newburyport Brewing Co. selections and more; sip Champagne and wine at Bubble Bath, which is part of restaurateur Tiffani Faison’s empire; and find expertly made cocktails at Daiquiris & Daisies, which comes from beverage industry veterans Daren Swisher and Joseph Cammarata. (You might remember them as co-managers at the bustling Hojoko bar in Fenway.)
100 High St., Downtown Boston, highstreetplace.com.
The Koji Club
Sake expert Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale offers a varied drink list—plus tons of hospitality and education—at Boston’s only dedicated sake bar, a cozy nook of a space at Brighton’s Speedway marketplace. It started as a fun virtual sake club earlier in the pandemic, but we’re thrilled to actually sit at the bar nowadays, sipping sake (or an intriguing cup of tea!) and snacking on sizzling calamari potato chips or Japanese curry empanadas.
525 Western Ave., Brighton, Boston, thekojiclub.com.
Next Door Speakeasy & Raw Bar
East Boston Italian restaurant Pazza on Porter debuted an adjacent speakeasy-style cocktail bar (secret door and all) this year, and its cocktails are big on theatrics—think smoke bubbles and locked treasure chests—but it feels cool, not gimmicky, and there’s real thought behind those drinks. To eat, there’s a seafood-focused menu: tuna crudo, lobster sliders, shellfish towers, and more.
107 Porter St., East Boston, nextdooreastie.com.
The Pine Bar
Boston Public Market finally has a bar! Operated by the restaurant group behind Ducali and Cunard Tavern, the bar showcases local beers, spirits, and cocktails made with ingredients from other market vendors. (Think an espresso martini featuring espresso from fellow market vendor George Howell.) And yes, you can wander the market drink in hand.
100 Hanover St., Downtown Boston, pinebarboston.com.
Pickleball is enjoying immense popularity at the moment, and while there are a few courts around Boston, you’re going to want to head to the expansive new South Boston venue PKL to play—and to drink. The celebrity-themed cocktail menu will liven up your pickleball match (or cornhole or shuffleboard, because PKL’s got those, too). Celebrate your win or loss with a Cinnamon Toast Crunch shot; it “tastes like Christmas morning,” promises the menu.
64 C St., South Boston, 617-315-7265, playpkl.com.
Roundhead Brewing Company
Operating under the motto “cerveza que reúne”—beer brings people together—Roundhead Brewing Company’s Hyde Park taproom is meant to be a community gathering place. The wide-open, high-ceilinged space certainly feels welcoming, and the creative beer lineup doesn’t hurt. We’re particularly into Quantum Reggae, a dragon fruit Berliner Weisse. There’s pizza, too.
Westinghouse Plaza Building #10, Hyde Park, Boston, 617-360-7070, roundheadbrewing.com.
Like the Koji Club (see above), this bar resides at the Speedway, a fun new-ish marketplace in Brighton. Super Bien is a shimmering pink oasis that feels like Miami and serves up natural wines plus a variety of South American snacks from Buenas. (You may know the name from the empanadas-and-more shop at Bow Market in Somerville.) There are treats from some Buenas friends, too, like tasty La Flanetería flan. Show up at the right time and you can watch Housewives while you sip and snack.
525 Western Ave., Brighton, Boston, thesuperbien.site.
The Wig Shop
The JM Curley and Bogie’s Place team opened a new spot next door this year: the Wig Shop. And while the name suggests otherwise, it’s a cocktail lounge, and a pretty snazzy one at that. (The space used to be home to Wig World, and the front window still makes it look like an actual wig shop operates here.) Serious cocktail craftsmanship is hiding under all the hair puns throughout the menu—settle onto a swanky blue velvet couch and enjoy. Have a snack, too; we love the mini lobster pancakes with harissa butter and tobiko.
27 Temple Place, Boston, 617-338-6333, wigshopboston.com.
This one opened a week or so shy of 2022, but we’ll allow it. The space is stunning—a staircase up to the intricately decorated second-floor tiki bar triggers Legends of the Hidden Temple nostalgia—and the drinks are strong and delicious. Chef and owner Jason Doo’s food menu is an homage to his family’s Chinese-American restaurant from his childhood, featuring cheffy takes on items like crab Rangoon, spareribs, and pork and chive dumplings. (He’s an alum of fine-dining destination Menton.) End with the rum-spiked Cease and Desist Whip—“definitely not D*le Wh*p.”
112 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, 617-528-9125, wusongroad.com.
Notable Expansions and Revamps
These spots may be familiar, but they expanded or underwent some other major change in 2022. Time for a revisit, perhaps?
- Chattermark Distillers: This Charlestown distillery debuted in 2021, featuring bourbon, rye, and gin. This year, the facility added a cocktail bar to highlight its spirits in classic and original mixed drinks.
- Common Craft: This dream collaboration in Burlington brings Salem’s Deacon Giles Distillery, Malden’s Idle Hands Craft Ales, and Brattleboro, Vermont’s Hermit Thrush Brewery together under one roof.
- Fool’s Errand: Tiffani Faison’s tiny, snack-y cocktail bar returned to its full form this year after various pandemic pivots. Now it’s open most nights with fun drinks and light bites like brown butter toasted almonds and fancy ham.
- Fresh: Nantucket’s Fresh has expanded to South Boston. It’s a deli that happens to have a cute bar attached, featuring beachy vibes and refreshing cocktails.
- Lamplighter CX: Cambridge’s Lamplighter Brewing Co. added a second taproom, also in Cambridge—find this one at the Cambridge Crossing development by Lechmere for a busy event calendar, cheese and charcuterie boards, and plenty of beer.
- LTD Bar at Cusser’s: Local bar star Todd Maul has been in residence at the Cusser’s bar in Back Bay (below Mooncusser) throughout 2022, excited to nerd out about the cocktail syrup fassionola, the thermodynamics of ice in mixed drinks, and more.
- New Republik: Cambridge mainstay the People’s Republik closed in early 2021 after over two decades in business. This year, most of the staff came together to open the New Republik elsewhere in Cambridge, bringing over much of the décor and a similar community feel.
- Parla XXI: Intimate North End cocktail bar now has a much larger sibling at Somerville’s Assembly Row. Parla’s popular “Dungeon Master” experience is available at both locations—roll a 20-sided die to determine your mystery cocktail, and eventually work your way through the whole list.