Party Earth Review A Boston landmark dating back to 1795, The Bell In Hand Tavern – named after founder Jimmy Wilson, Boston’s last town crier – claims to be America’s oldest tavern. Housed in the same building since 1844, modern upgrades... ... read full review
45-55 Union Street
Boston, MA 02108
Green Line: Haymarket Station
Daily 11:30am–2am (Main Bar), Tu–Sa 5pm–2am (Rest of venue)
Downtown / Financial District, Boston –
A Boston landmark dating back to 1795, The Bell In Hand Tavern – named after founder Jimmy Wilson, Boston’s last town crier – claims to be America’s oldest tavern.
Housed in the same building since 1844, modern upgrades have transformed the multilevel venue into equal parts pub and club.
Low lighting, polished mahogany furnishings, and a traditional wooden bar greet a relaxed daytime clientele of business people, tourists, and wayward students looking for good beer and New England comfort food, while later on, the downstairs area hosts raucous live acts that draw wild crowds of flirtatious twenty-something beer hounds ready to rock out to everything from traditional Irish folk music to high-profile cover bands.
A spiral staircase leads patrons upstairs to a spacious dance floor, where the weekend crush of party girls and club kids indulges in some drunken karaoke or grooves to whatever the nightly DJ decides to spin.
Two smaller bars on the upper level make it easier for patrons to drink and mingle without fighting their way through the masses.
Although the crowds are relatively sparse on most weeknights, weekends see lines of hip partiers waiting to flood into The Bell In Hand Tavern, a place whose something-for-everyone attitude makes it one of Boston’s coolest party spots.
Business people during the day and early evening, 20s to 30s, and fratty post-college types, Emerson students, and tourists later on, mostly 20s.
DJs spin a mix of rap, rock, and pop Tuesdays through Saturdays. Karaoke on Tuesdays. Live cover bands and singer/songwriters Thursdays through Saturdays.
Menu of New England fare and typical bar grub, including clam chowder, burgers, and a seasonal lobster menu.
Cover charge $5–$10/F–Sa from 9pm. Appetizers $7–$10, soups and salads $4–$10, entrées $8–$16. Beer $4.75/.33 liter or $7.75/.5 liter, wine $7–$10, cocktails $8–$12.
Upscale casual: jeans, heels, and dresses for women, and jeans, button-downs, and nice shoes for men.
Fridays and Saturdays for the biggest crowds and a packed dance floor.
Several venues within short distances of each other on and around Union Street make the area perfect for a pub crawl before or after a night at The Bell In Hand Tavern. Pit stops include Purple Shamrock (1 Union Street), Green Dragon (11 Marshall Street), and Paddy O’s (33 Union Street).