MassNightly: Are Boston Bars More Expensive?



The general public perception (from suburban towns) is that Boston’s bars and restaurants are far more expensive than those in suburban towns. But is that really the case? The staff here at MassNightly crunched all the data and found that it may not be true! Although Boston does boast some of the finest restaurants in the country, it has a suitable atmosphere for young professionals that budget from week to week. First, let’s dive into a Massachusetts law that requires bars and restaurants to hold drink specials for one week, thus eliminating “Happy Hour.”

Under the Massachusetts Law 204 CMR 4.00:

PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN PRACTICES – (g) increase the volume of alcoholic beverages contained in a drink
without increasing proportionately the price regularly charged for such
drink during the same calendar week;

While bars and restaurants were forced to abide by the law, they were able to get creative to be “known” for certain drink specials. Bars in Boston such as Coogan’s and An-tain are notoriously known for the $1 draft beer specials, which is a young professionals dream, to be able to save money but also enjoy their night. Another location known for their live entertainment, Wild Rover, boasts $1 Coors Light Drafts. Side Bar – a great place to watch the game located in the middle of Downtown Boston, offers $2 Bud & Bud Light Drafts.

We compared pricing in several suburban towns such as Foxboro, Bellingham, Salem and even Worcester. The comparison was few and far between…

Bar Louie – Foxboro: $1 PBR’s on Tuesdays (Along with their $1 Burgers)
Rock N Coal – Bellingham: $3 16oz Bud Light Aluminum
Sea Level Oyster Bar– Salem: $3 Coors Banquet and Narragansett Lager
Opus– Salem: $3.50 Narragansett Lagers everyday
O’Connors -Worcester: $4 Bud, Bud light, Coors light and Miller Lite

Bottom line – Not many bars and restaurants outside of the city can afford to have drink specials as low as $1. In fact, even finding $3 dollar specials were few and far between. So how does Boston afford to essentially give beer away?

The main reason Boston bars are able to offer such low prices is because of the volume at which its sold. $1 drafts will go at a quicker rate than a $5 draft, which in turn flips the kegs and increases orders. Because suburban towns are less dense with people, beer distributors are more hesitant to offer a beer deal if they’re not going to be able to flip the keg.

The “expensive” aspect of going into Boston comes mainly from the parking and the food you may order – all which can be heavily reduced if you know your way around Boston (Future blog post coming your way!). So download our free mobile app “MassNightly” in the IOS and Google play store and enjoy a great (inexpensive) night out!