I’ve known my friend Morgan since elementary school! While we haven’t always been close, I know we’d always do anything for each other. I was thrilled when she mentioned she wanted to celebrate her big quarter-century birthday in Boston, and more, wanted my advice on where to go to have a good time! All I […]
My sister and my cousin were born on the same day! For their 21st birthdays, I offered to plan them an afternoon out in the city with with family, then later with friends! This is the custom invitation image* I made for them and then texted and e-mailed to all my relatives. I didn’t need […]
Hi! My name is Kayla. I’m an energetic and occasionally awkward brunette who loves good times, better company and great memories. I grew up in New England and I just moved to Boston in the Fall of 2015 after graduating college. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my day job, but if there is one thing college taught me about myself it’s that I like to HAVE FUN. Life is too short to only have an ok time doing something! Since moving to Boston I have been aggressively seeking out new bars, hot gastropubs, good-vibes music venues, and more. So far, I have been doing this just because I want to make sure that I am always having the best time possible. You only live once, am I right!?
I’ve noticed that friends and coworkers have been asking me things like how do you do it? or where are my “go-to” local spots. This got me thinking. I realized that although there are awesome review services out there like yelp, zagat, or spottedbylocals – there is just this trustworthy personal touch missing from all these reviews. Thus the inception of Kayla’s Night Out – an honest resource for reviews, night-out-planning, and more. So whether you live in Boston already or are moving here, whether you visit on some weekends or are touristing this once from far-away, I have the perfect plans, tempting tips, and awesome advice you need!
At this time, since I live in the city, the majority of my reviews are for venues in Boston. However, soon I hope to also review bars in local New England towns such as Newburyport (MA), Portsmouth (NH), and Portland (ME). I’m also a big fan of long-weekend jet-setting that jams in the most amount of site-seeing and local experiences as possible – I hope to share these weekend get-away must-do’s as well. So stay tuned! Lots of honest information coming soon.
I started Memorial Day weekend a little early when we went out on Thursday night for the Celtics semi-finals game (yes.. I did had work Friday, sadly).
Thursday night – dinner & drinks at Lincoln in Southie for the Celtics playoff game.
Friday night – stayed in and watched Troy.
Saturday morning – made blueberry pancakes with this recipe and caught up with a good friend.
Saturday day – walked the Freedom trail from start to finish!
Saturday night – made Moroccan red lentil soup and hosted a pre-game. Went out to Scholars in the financial district and stayed til close! Came home, made fried egg sandwiches and played super smash bros.
Sunday morning – nursed hangovers and edited photos.
Sunday day – met friends in Southie for a couple cocktails in their flat then headed to Lawn on D for some fresh air, live music and brews.
Sunday night – dinner at Monument in Charlestown. Walked to the North End for an espresso martini at Trattoria Il Panino then waited in line for my first EVER Mike’s Pastry: a Florentine cannoli.
(Memorial Day) Monday morning – tidied the apartment and made Deviled Eggs for the first time with this recipe from Pinch my Salt.
Monday afternoon – had friends down from NH; went to Pier 6 then toured the USS Constitution Museum and historic ship. Had biers at Blackmoor Bar + Kitchen.
Monday night – reflected on weekend, planned for week. Leftovers and Netflix.
The first time I heard of city tap was a Friday night among friend’s. Eager for a new local spot, I quickly looked up their menu. While I’d call their menu American, it definitely leans more toward American with a twist, like trout sliders and miso glazed salmon. So on a whim, I didn’t feel it was reliable enough to pick for dinner. And the name “City Tap” just reminded me of a leaky public bathroom for some reason.
A couple months later, I focused on an Instagram post about the Harpoon Brewery Alumni Tap Takeover – ten breweries of Harpoon Alumni would be represented at City Tap. First off, I thought this was a really cool gathering of so many delicious local brewers. Second, I didn’t realize how many of the beers I loved were inspired by people who used to work at Harpoon! Ah, Boston, stealing my heart with every home-made craft brew!
So I threw my prior hesitations and public bathroom distaste out the window and drove over to Fort Point; I parked on Summer Street and walked to City Tap (make sure you use the staircases on A Street and Congress if you do this). I walked in and it felt like another Fort Point bar – the big windows of Tavern Road, the wood-panel walls of Chalet, the dim lights of Drink. But it is bigger than all three of those venues, but not as big as Farm House, if that helps you picture it. The venue wrapped in wood and ironwork save of one large 1950s-esque, black-and-white, mural beside the dining room and the three giant TVs behind the bar. Chalkboards sprinkle the walls displaying quotes, event ads, and daily specials. The wood tables and chairs mirror the wood paneling and is complimented by a blacksmith and barn-house décor incorporating pieces such as antique Edison light bulbs and small shrubbery.
I thought it was pretty busy for a rainy Monday after the dinner rush. The bar was full end-to-end and a lot of people were gathered by standing tables in the back, but there were tables open in the dining room area. The atmosphere was casual and inclusive.
Finding a seat at the community table, I ordered a flight of (left to right) Castle Island’s Jetty Sour, Dorchester’s Staple Saison, Exhibit A’s Cat’s Meow and Cambridge Brewing Co.’s Sargent Pepper ($22 with tip).
The community table is my favorite part about City Tap. I know, this sounds cheesy like we’re all going to sit around and break bread over our friendship or something but this ‘community table’ is really just like a high-top extension of the bar that a couple waitresses come around and serve. It seats at least a dozen people comfortably and the idea of being at the bar without having to elbow my way in for a beer or awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the bartender is awesome. The community table also makes this bar good for groups.
While I was soaking up the seen (and the brews), I had some cool conversations with a few people gathered around the community table; definitely shaping up to be a welcoming place, even if you’re alone. While I didn’t dine myself, the patrons who I talked with had no problem sharing that the food was good…but a bit over-priced for what you get. This is important because its remarks like this that I feel differentiate bars from gastropubs. In my opinion, if the foods exotic but not that great and you feel like you’re paying too much, that definitely doesn’t warrant the elevated title of “gastropub.” But that’s just me and City Tap Boston is still new so head Chef AJ Beaulieu still has time to step it up.
As mentioned in my quick-look review of City Tap, this bar is going to be best enjoyed by people working in or visiting the Fort Point area or Seaport district for the day – reliable for a lunch with coworkers or crushing a few craft beers after the days out. Good for sports – but not big games, not enough TVs on enough walls. I wouldn’t go for bunch until its good enough that word of mouth prompts me to go. There is also a large outdoor patio that I look forward to enjoying at this Spring weather heats up!
Breweries represented at City Tap for the Harpoon Alumni included: Dorchester Brewing, Exhibit A Brewery, Blue Hills Brewery, Castle Island Brewing, Barrel House Z, Mystic Brewery, Mayflower Brew, Cambridge Brewing Co., Berkshire Brewing Co., Winter Hill Brewing Company, and of course, Harpoon Brewery.
I don’t always wander over the bridge to the City of Cambridge, but when I know, I know I’m not in Boston anymore! Here are a few of my favorites in Cambridge:
Paradise Rock Club
Pre-dinner drinks at Drink.
Dinner at Blue Dragon.
Night-caps at Bastille Kitchen
Pier 6 on the waterfront
Blackmoor near the N. Washington Bridge
Monument Restaurant & Tavern downtown
The Warren Tavern historic & downtown
Brewer’s Fork look up at the Tobin Bridge
Do you work hard all week? Ya!
Do you deserve to have a great time? Ya!
Do you wish there was a better to way to guarantee that great time? YA!!
I couldn’t agree more! We all work so damn hard, we deserve a great night out every time we go out. I don’t mean to brag, but there aren’t too many nights that I didn’t have a good time – I want to share that luck with everyone! My hope is that by sharing my experiences and honest reflections, you can plan to have a better night out!
I am working on describing all of my best nights out at a variety of bars, gastropubs, music venues, and more! As I am working on writing these reviews for the 100+ bars in Boston alone that I’ve already been to, please feel free to message me about specific bar reviews, additional opinions, and night-out coordination.
Off to the bar,