One of the many stereotypes about Boston is that if you visit any bar long enough, everyone there will quickly learn your name. It’s an ode to Cheers, the bar that the television show made famous and the perception isn’t that far from the truth. Beantown has a reputation for being quite friendly and if you are looking for a Boston bar where everybody does indeed know your name, here are a couple of options that we stumbled across.
Oak Long Bar & Restaurant
138 St. James Avenue, Boston MA
Located inside of the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, the Oak Long Bar certainly offers an air of nostalgic familiarity. Night after night, bartender Phil Richardson sees many regulars occupy the stools at his bar. He knows them and their drinks by heart. The bartender has been working the Massachusetts area for the past 40 years, starting at the Marketplace Café in the 1970s and then moving to The Palm for another 16. Richardson joined The Oak last summer after it underwent an eight-month, multimillion-dollar renovation. When he made the move, many of his customers jumped with him.
Richardson has been described as the modern-day Sam Malone (from Cheers). He greets his customers by name and often remembers details from previous stories that they have shared with him. In addition to their personal lives, Richardson clearly has a handle on their drink of choice. The friendly barkeep has joked that it is sometimes easier for him to remember the drink of choice rather than the customer’s name.
Although it is located inside of a hotel, hotel guests only make up 30 per cent of its clientele. The majority are walk-in residents of Boston’s Back Bay and office workers looking to relax after work.
21 Temple Pl., Boston MA
In Boston’s Downtown Crossing area, friendly bars used to be the norm, until one in particular rose to differentiate itself among the rest. JM Curley’s initial appeal was its lack of a formal design with bare brick walls and unfinished floors and its hilarious rules like “Thou Shalt Not Covet They Neighbor’s Date” but now attracts a steady stream of regulars.
The bar recently added a back-room steakhouse called Bogie’s Place which has its own little bar as well.
The reason behind Curley’s popularity is its inventive and novel food menu which features high-end pub fare at a modest price.
The bar also attracts chefs from other restaurants around town.
On a typical night, you will see a bunch of 30something cooks and waiters from all over Boston. The reason it is such a favorite among locals is because Curley’s staff also visit the other places, maintaining relationships with workers in the same field.