Raise a toast to DrinkBoston

DrinkBoston is the best blog in Boston, as judged by Phoenix readers:

Any enthusiastic Beantown imbiber has doubtless stumbled on DRINKBOSTON, this year's well-deserved pick for the city's best blog. Written and run by journalist Lauren Clark, an experienced taproom denizen, both behind the bar and in front of it, DrinkBoston is as comprehensive an examination of the art of drinking as you'll find.

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      The Phoenix misses everything

      not in Boston proper, Back Bay, South End, Brookline, Cambridge or Somerville. Their "Boston" rarely includes Roslindale, Hyde Park, East Boston or Dorchester. They dare to go to Jamaica Plain when they're feeling adventurous.

      Looks like this Drink Boston blog shares the same perspective.

      Great bars in Rozzie, Hyde Park, Eastie, Dot? Where?

      I think if you could name some reasonable candidates, Lauren Clark of drinkboston.com would happily cover them. She'll go anywhere if the place is serious about craft cocktails or has amazing old-time, historic atmosphere. But it's not a general-purpose "bars in Boston" blog: it has a specific focus.

      I thought it was deserving, though I would have been happy if Universal Hub had won, too. It's a readers' poll; I don't agree with some of the choices, had to hold my nose a few times when writing up the Food + Drink winners. (I only wrote the blurbs for the readers' choices, had no input on the editorial picks.)

      Quite right. drinkboston.com

      Quite right. drinkboston.com is a yuppie/hipster blog, so there's just no reason to expect coverage of Roslindale or Hyde Park. There will be no craft cocktails at the Cavan House - no sense sending (what would you call them, drinkies?) down Hyde Park ave.

      The list of "best Boston bars" is a joke

      A website by blow-ins playing for pay, in my opinion. It looks like they're trolling for Improper Bostonian advertisers. I bet they organized a campaign to win the Phoenix online poll.

      They did not win on content, even given the probable ignorance of many Phoenix readers.

      First, any list of "best Boston bars" which does not include Wally's Cafe shows serious ignorance of this city and at least unconscious bias. Some things can be debated as a matter of taste, but Wally's place as one of the best Boston bars can't.

      Historical significance? The list has the Summer Shack on Alewife Brook Parkway (a fine place to eat, to be sure, but as a bar?), but no Jake Wirth's?

      Both Bukowski's? C'mon, they're not that great. Especially the one near the Pru. But neither one of the JJ Foley's, which are true Boston institutions.

      Some of the bars on the list are too small to be classified as "bars" in any but the most literal sense. No. 9 Park, Cuchi-Cuchi? Again, both are nice places to eat, but not really "bars." Most people understand the term "bar" as being more than a place to have one drink while waiting for your table. Restaurants with small bars, OK.

      Nothing in South Boston as good as Bukowski's? The Playwright, Shenanagans? Oddly enough, they have their events at Franklin Southie, but don't list it as one of their Best Bars. What, is Southie still too down-market for you?

      You can get cocktails at DBar and the Blarney Stone in Dorchester. And how about the Banshee?

      Ecco in East Boston? Tangierino and the Warren in Chucktown?

      All in all, a weak website. They're supposed to be the experts, but they have to ask us at UH where the good bars in most of the city are.

      You're missing the point

      I'm not sure what the criteria for compiling that list of "best Boston bars" is, and I agree that many wouldn't make my personal best-of list. I think some get a mention for beer selection, not cocktails, like the Bukowskis: the author is a known beer writer, too. But if places in Southie or Dorchester have been omitted, it clearly isn't about snobbery. Clark doesn't style herself an expert, but an aficionado, hence her openness to suggestions, which you ought to appreciate instead of sneering at it.

      Meanwhile, a lot of the bars you consider worthy of inclusion I think are ridiculous, too: Shenanigans? Really? That run-of-the-mill fake-Irish joint with the $20 cover on weekends? Yes, you can get cocktails at the Blarney Stone, but its cocktails are flavored-vodka junk aimed at rookies. Wally's is indeed a great bar with real historical significance, but you'd be nuts to go there for a serious drink. The Warren has history, but it's a so-so beer bar with a horror of a cocktail menu. You mention some worthy neighborhood pub kind of bars, including my local, but you're clearly missing the point of the blog.

      The site is an advertising-free, regularly-updated, passionately- and well-written journal about craft cocktails in Boston, the bartenders who make them, the venues where they're made, and events around town that focus on them. If you knew anything about that, you'd know that the bar at No. 9 clearly belongs on that list: it was the first bar on the Boston side of the river to focus on craft cocktails, and remains one of the best. The only business it gets of mine is for drinks in its bar. Cuchi Cuchi isn't my kind of hangout, but it deserves recognition for pioneering a certain style of cocktails in town, emphasizing fresh ingredients like muddled herbs and berries.

      It sounds like you have a great idea for a blog: Places Deselby Likes to Drink. You should write it.

      no Boston neighborhood places

      The bars on your list do not all serve craft cocktails, as you point out, and you do not know the criteria for inclusion. You have the Bukowskis, the Brendan Behan, T.C's (was that there for its cocktails, or its beer selection - Lite and Bud?).

      Actually, you do have criteria: "our favorite bars meet some combination of these criteria: great drinks, great bartenders, a genuine atmosphere, and historical significance."

      So Wally's doesn't have "genuine atmosphere and historical significance" enough to be included on your list for those reasons alone? But T.C's up Mass Ave makes the cut?

      Most bars now have a pretty good selection of beers, Master McGrath's has probably ten on tap, for example. And again, beer is a criterion, but no Jake Wirth's?

      And the point wasn't that Shenanigans was such a great bar - it was that it was as good a place as Bukowski's, without the hip name. Bukowski would be drinking at Sullivan's down by North Station, Trainor's in Maverick Square, or Ace's High in Andrew Square anyways.

      It's just that your blog has the Phoenix-style neglect of the "outer boroughs" of Boston.

      Keep obsessing about the list....

      If you like, but I think you'd better understand drinkboston.com's popularity if you instead focused on its essay content, which I imagine is what Phoenix readers were voting for. Any "best bars" list is going to inspire debate, and I agree with some of your issues with Clark's -- "If this one, why not that one?" -- but that's not really what the blog is about. Maybe if you read more of the blog instead of just picking apart the best-bars lists, you won't be so quick to dismiss it out of hand. (Also, it's not my blog.)

      Thanks for the suggestions... I think

      First, MC Slim JB: thanks for your defense. OK, deselby: I appreciate the suggestions. Too bad you think my blog is crap, but I never aimed to please everybody. The best bars list is a work in progress. Yeah, there are omissions, like Jacob Wirth's, and places I'm admittedly on the fence about, like both Bukowskis. Though I try to get out as much as I can, it takes time to revisit bars in neighborhoods all over Boston in order to really get to know them. I wish I had all the time and cab fare in the world to create a definitive list right now, but I don't. As for your comment, "A website by blow-ins playing for pay, in my opinion." I've lived in the Boston area for 17 years, I like to write about Boston bars and my experiences in them, and I don't get paid for what I do. Oh, and I'm not really a "they." Next time you put your opinion out there, try basing it on something other than an ignorant grudge.