historical bars in boston

5 Best Historical Bars in Boston

Boston is a great mesh of old and new, it’s also swarming with bars. Every corner on every street you can find a bar, from the upscale, uber trendy to the dark, dank pub scene. Some of these bars and pubs have survived over a hundred years and are still in operation today. These historic pubs have a long history attached to them often involving some of our founding fathers. It’s actually a pretty cool experience grabbing a beer knowing that some years ago our rebellious American leaders were planning the revolution in the very same place.

Bell in Hand Tavern

Bell in Hand Tavern in Boston

The Bell in Hand touts itself as the longest continuously operating bar in the United States. That is, of course, excluding Prohibition when all bars were officially shut down. Boston’s last official Town Crier, Jimmy Wilson, built this tavern in 1795 after he retired from crying.

Back in the day, the Town Crier ran through the streets with a bell in his hand shouting out the day’s news. This is where the “Bell in Hand” gets its name from.

Some famous figures who’ve patronized this bar include Paul Revere and Daniel Webster.

Today Bell in Hand is a full service restaurant as well as a bar and happening nightspot. They offer full lunch and dinner menus and at night they have live music and DJs every night of the week.

Bell in Hand is located at 45 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108.

The Warren Tavern

The Warren Tavern gets its claim to fame as the oldest tavern in Boston and the oldest tavern that’s still in its original building and location.

It was built in 1775 as the first building to be built after the English burned down Charlestown in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Captain Eliphelet Newell built The Warren Tavern and named it after his dear friend.

Many of the Patriots made famous by the revolution frequented here such as Paul Revere and George Washington.

The Warren Tavern serves brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s a great spot to grab a drink after the Freedom Trail or maybe a visit to John Adams house.

It is located at 2 Pleasant Street, Charlestown, MA 02129.


Established in 1890, Amrheins is famous for having the oldest hand carved bar in the States. They also were the first to have a draft beer pump in Boston. While not that old in comparison to the prior two bars, it’s still an interesting piece of history.

Today, Amrheins offers upscale dining using locally sourced ingredients. It’s a great place to stop for lunch, dinner or late night drinks.

Amrheins: 80 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127

Jacob Wirth

Jacob Wirth is the second oldest German-American restaurant in the city, founded in 1868. The founder, Jacob Wirth, grew up in Germany in the same town as the Anheuser family.

This restaurant’s claim to fame is that it is the first restaurant which served products by the Anheuser Busch company. Today it is a critically acclaimed restaurant winning 13 Best of Boston awards. It also features live entertainment (including traditional German bands).

Jacob Wirth is located at 31 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116

Green Dragon Tavern

Historical drawing of The Green Dragon Tavern

The Green Dragon Tavern has a long history starting all the way back since its founding in 1654. This tavern has moved many times throughout its life and the original building no longer exists.

The Sons of Liberty held some of their meetings here with its most famous members – Paul Revere, John Adams and Samuel Adams – in attendance. They met here so often that it got the nickname of being the headquarters of the American Revolution. It is also said the Boston Tea Party was planned here.

The Green Dragon Tavern has a full kitchen and serves lunch and dinner. At night it turns into a bar with a great nightlife scene. It features a lot of talented live music as well as live comedic shows. It’s a great place to go afterhours.

They are located at 11 Marshal St., Boston, MA 02108.

Photos all sourced from Wikimedia Commons

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