Bar Graph

Rating the fantasy and reality of Boston bars

whitehorse_cb-1Photo: Cara Brostrom


By Dan Forward


uick, what’s the worst beer you can think of? Time’s up! I don’t care what you said. The answer is “all of them.” Or so I assume, having never had a drop of alcohol in my life. I’m also recently single (hey there, ladies), and am now experiencing for the first time what it’s like to socialize as an adult while fully encumbered by my inhibitions, of which I have very many. The meetings of Bostonian Irish Teetotalers Anonymous are pretty lonely, as you might imagine.

So, where to start meeting new girls? Bars, right? It hasn’t changed to the library while I was out of the loop, has it? No? Oh, well. Never one to jump headlong into anything ever, I’ve spent the past six weekends in my room making up a comprehensive spreadsheet listing the best spots in town to get in, meet someone new, and get out with maximum efficiency and minimal shame. The results were … discouraging.

Classification: The College Bar

Examples: Mary Ann’s, Roggie’s

Types of girls you go to meet: Impressionable communications majors; girls still possessing a small spark of life you feel you lost long ago; drunk girls

Who you actually meet: Disapproving bouncers who know exactly what you’re up to; middle-aged men you desperately don’t want to become but fear you are save for the gray hairs and Hawaiian shirts; college guys

Classification: The Sports Bar

Examples: Cask ‘n’ Flagon, Game On!

Types of girls you go to meet: Girls who will go home with you on Saturday night and wake up with you on Sunday to watch the game; girls who use spittoons, but in a sexy way; girls you thought from behind were Gisele Bündchen; drunk girls

Who you actually meet: Perpetually angry Red Sox fans, girls you thought were Matt Light from behind, girls who use spittoons in the normal, unsexy way

Classification: The Yuppie-Hipster Bar

Examples: Drink, T.T. the Bears, Great Scott

Types of girls you go to meet: Girls who appreciate Nabokov almost as much as you do, but who are still in need of some sexy tutoring on what you believe to be his underappreciated masterpiece, Invitation to a Beheading; drunk girls

Who you actually meet: People under 80 wearing suspenders; people who “just got off of work”; people who just got off their “fixies”; people who are so socially anxious they look like they could vomit up PBR and lentils at any second

Classification: The Upscale Bar

Examples: Top Of The Hub, Bristol Lounge, No. 9 Park

Types of girls you go to meet: Girls who recognize that humor columns are high literature; girls who are through with boys and are ready for men like you; classy broads; drunk girls

Who you actually meet: A bunch of other poser slob humor columnists; bartenders who think your Superman T-shirt isn’t appropriate attire, even if it is very form-fitting; your mother, on a date with Larry, who always wants to call you “son” when he’s drunk

Classification: The Dance Club

Examples: Tequila Rain, Royale

Types of girls you go to meet: Girls who know how to move; girls with fashion sense; girls who live “in the now”; drunk girls

Who you actually meet: Men with thin mustaches; men with too much gel in their hair (which is defined as any amount of gel beyond what I use in my own hair); girls whose emotional health hangs by an ever-fraying thread; people who like to dance, who are just the worst people on earth

Classification: The Cambridge Graduate-School Bar

Examples: Daedalus; John Harvard’s, Grendel’s Den

Types of girls you go to meet: Girls who actually want to have a conversation instead of just dancing mindlessly the whole night; Minnie Driver types, who, if not beautiful, have presence; drunk girls

Who you actually meet: Girls who want to have conversations about neuro-electro-physiolo-I-don’t-even-know-so-whatever; girls who don’t want to dance, but somehow that’s annoying now; angry, aimless hobos who snuck in from Central Square

Classification: The Bar With Live Music

Examples: The Burren, Church, the Middle East

Types of girls you go to meet: Girls with tattoos and non-conventional piercings (seriously, two words: tongue ring)

Who you actually meet: Overworked and terrified MySecretBoston columnists furiously covering the music because they’re one more blown deadline away from getting the can; people who insist over rhythm-less fiddling that the Boston music scene is ascendant; band members who swear that if one more BU kid shouts “Shipping Up To Boston!” they’ll kill everyone in this place

Classification: Your Hometown Watering Hole

Examples: Your local Uno’s; your local Chinese restaurant and karaoke bar; your high school’s parking lot

Types of girls you go to meet: The one girl you never got over from high school who you think might be visiting home this weekend because of a small but vital clue you noticed on her friend’s cousin’s Facebook page

Who you actually meet: Your friends’ underage siblings; that guy from middle school who friended you last month on Facebook but you must not check it that often and do you have any pot he could score?; the one girl you never got over from high school—who got sort of fat

I am eternally grateful to Gabe Durán for suggesting names of bars to use for this list, which initially consisted of only two entries: “that bar from Cheers, what’s the name again?” and, “Is Boloco a bar?” Please look out for my next two catalogs in this field of inquiry, respectively entitled, “The One Type of Girl You Find at Gamestop” and, “How Old Is Too Old: The Sluttiest Nursing Homes in the Greater Boston Area.”

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