Best Hotel Bars in Boston

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A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring 48 top hotels in Boston. We slept in the beds, ate in the restaurants, tested the service, and scoped out the neighborhoods, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here's a list of our favorite hotel bars.

  1. Alibi is located in the "drunk tank" of the former Charles Street Prison, where those arrested for public intoxication were kept overnight -- a unique place to relive a little Boston history (hopefully on better terms). Thick brick walls with cell doors and windows, original stone floors from the jail, mugshots of celebrities like Sinatra, Morrison, and Nolte hanging on the walls, and jail-themed cocktails like "the doing thyme," "the walk of shame," and "Gordon Gekko," are unsubtle reminders of the bar's theme. But leather couches, dark wood tables, and candelight make the experience much pleasanter today than it was for its former visitors.

  2. The dark-wood-paneled Oak Bar is evocative of a Bristish Officer's Club in East Asia -- coffered ceilings, mirrors, marble. It feels like the kind of place where dashing men in suits casually make deals over martinis and oysters while eyeing a blonde in the corner. But the venue knows who it's catering to -- a more mature crowd who can splurge on one of the most extensive martini menus in the city.

  3. The Last Hurrah delivers a taste of historical Boston -- literally and figuratively. Located inside one of the country's oldest hotels, the bar has a classy, old-time atmosphere -- leather-cushioned chairs; wood paneling; men in sports coats -- and here you can sample the hotel's famous Boston cream pie, invented at the hotel in the mid-19th century. Or better yet, you can order the Boston cream pie martini from the bar's extensive martini menu. Other drinks, like the Dickens Punch (Charles Dickens read A Christmas Carol for the first time on American soil here), also relate to the hotel's history, and the whiskey menu is one of the most impressive in Boston.

  4. The 1940s-themed Noir has a swanky, lounge-like feel and draws both an afterwork crowd and late-night revelers with its signature cocktails and tasty small plates. The happy hour is especially popular among locals for its discounted drinks and small plates. Signature cocktails, such as the LA Confidential (Stoli peach, Cointreau, peach nectar and champagne) and Black Dahlia (Reyka vodka, triple sec, Pom juice, blackberries and lemon) are inspired by classic film noirs. When the weather is nice, the crowd spills over onto the patio, where outdoor seating is always in high demand.

  5. Sleek and dimly lit, with big leather couches, the trendy City Bar offers some of the best cocktails in the city, made with fresh juices, purees, and house-infused liquors -- the ginger-peach martini (Stolichnaya peach, ginger syrup, and lemon juice) is a consistent crowd pleaser. But it's what the bar lacks that makes it really stand out in Boston -- namely, college students and a TV. Small plates are also available on the Late Night Menu (available until 1 a.m.) like duck confit spring rolls or whipped feta dip with grilled pita.

  6. This visually stunning lunch and dinner spot designed by Jeffery Beers transforms into one of the Financial District's few lively nightspots after dark. The bar makes the most of the hotel's history as a former Federal Reserve bank: The beautiful mirrored ceilings and chandeliers, original moldings and thick stone walls fit for a bank vault mix with modern flourishes like huge abstract renderings of 10-, 20-, and 100-dollar bills.

  7. The W's stylish lobby area, the Living Room, is quiet by day, and a happening bar by night -- a hallmark of the W brand. The cool, modern space has sleek booths, oversize suede chairs, metal curtains, and trickling water panels. But this being Boston, there's also a crackling fire that the the young, attractive crowd gathers around to sip their pineapple martinis.

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