Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Eight Neighborhood Joints in the Boston Area That Serve Good Food

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Some borderline dive bars that are worth going to if you're hungry.

photo of Cronin's Publick House, Quincy, MAOne thing that you often hear is, a dive bar can't really be considered a dive bar if it serves decent food--or in the case of some purists, food of any kind. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, but there are some local watering holes in the Boston area that happen to serve some excellent food, be it wings, pizza, burgers, steak tips, or sandwiches. Below you will find a handful of such spots, all of which are super-casual and some of which look a bit intimidating from the outside, but don't let that fool you, as all of these are welcoming to non-locals.

1) Seapoint Bar and Grill, South Boston
Located high up on a hill overlooking Boston Harbor--and underneath a legendary function hall--this nearly completely unknown drinking spot is about as unpretentious as you can get. Upon first entering the slightly dark and well-worn place, you might wonder if it's even worth ordering any food, but it is, as the pizza, steak tips, and wings are all excellent along with some of the other bar food offered.

2) NewBridge Cafe, Chelsea
If you're not from the local area and happen to be driving by this longtime spot near Route 1, you might think that it's a place to order a stiff drink and not make eye contact with anyone. But this is actually more of a restaurant than a bar, and the steak tips at the NewBridge are often considered to be the best in Eastern Massachusetts (just don't ask for the recipe for the marinade, because you'll never get it from them).

3) Costello's Tavern, Jamaica Plain, MA
Boston's outer neighborhoods are still home to a lot of old-school bars, including Jamaica Plain, which may continue to gentrify at a rapid pace but which is home to several such drinking joints. Costello's is certainly one of them, and this dark but comfortable spot is known in part for its tremendous burgers which are sometimes compared to some of the best in the city.

4) The Village Manor, Dedham
Nearly impossible to find (unless you're lost and stumble upon it that way), this roadhouse-type spot near the Boston line resides in an area that is part residential and part industrial and is almost exclusively a local place. The front of The Village Manor can be a wild place at times, but the quiet back dining room is actually family-friendly, and you can get great takes on burgers, pasta dishes, and seafood here.

5) Cronin's Publick House, Quincy
A popular bar in an out-of-the-way section of Quincy by the old shipyard, this still feels a bit like a "factory" bar where working-class folks go for beer, whiskey, and the like in the front while diners head to the back for a bit of peace and quiet. Steak tips are front and center at Cronin's, while the chili, bar pizza, burgers, and wings are also worth getting, as is the red-hot Cajun chicken soup.

6) Dudley Chateau, Wayland
While not all that far from Boston, this former fishing lodge feels like a rural bar that's a million miles away from the city. Hidden away by a pond in the woods off Route 27, the "Chat" is full of character (and characters) and can get loud and boisterous at times, but it makes for quite an experience, while the wings, burgers, and onion rings are just a few of the mostly-excellent options here.

7) Cafe Venice, Norwood
A place with a bit of a split personality, this South Norwood spot is part dive bar and part Italian-American restaurant and could be seen as a bookend to the NewBridge in Chelsea, with its local following, questionable-looking exterior, and old-school feel. The Venice is a great place to go for a classic Boston-area dish--prime rib--along with Italian-American classics such as lasagna, chicken parm, and stuffed shells.

8) Four Winds Pub and Grill, Lynn
Between the Lazy Dog Sports Bar just down the street and this place, the Wyoma Square section of Lynn has some good eating if you like down-and-dirty bars. Four Winds has the added advantage of a beautiful waterside deck complete with sunset views, though the inside area is extremely small, making this mostly a warm-weather option. Highlights are many, including solid takes on pizza, burgers, wings, chicken fingers, and steak tips.

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