Gone Country: Boston’s Best Southern-Style Bars

January 17, 2013 6:00 AM

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(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

The modern country scene featuring such names as Tim McGraw, Trace Atkins and Kenny Chesney is bigger and more popular than ever, and what many older generations considered true country (think Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Hank Williams) has endured to find a new audience so many years later. With the branching out of country music has come an expansion in country bars and theme nights throughout the area. These are the best ways to go country any day of the week.
(credit: cantab-lounge.com)

(credit: cantab-lounge.com)

Cantab Lounge
738 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 354-2685
www.cantab-lounge.com

Although Cambridge’s Cantab Lounge is known primarily as a dive bar, the club’s dedication to live music also lends itself to bluegrass nights – perfect for any true country music lover. Cantab is so often packed to the gills on these bluegrass nights that the bar has become a true testament to the music’s growing popularity amongst Bostonian youth. Elsewhere, the Cantab’s cheap beer and no-nonsense attitude ensures that this loud ‘n proud dive keeps customers coming back week after week.

Related: Boston’s Best Bars with Heated Patios

johnnies Gone Country: Bostons Best Southern Style Bars

West End Johnnies
138 Portland St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 227-1588
www.johnniesontheside.com

Saturday nights here at this downtown hotspot bring the Digger Dawg band in to rock the house with its own brand of outlaw country jams. Located near the TD Bank in North Garden, West End Johnnies has always been a popular grub ‘n pub destination for those hitting up a sporting event or concert. This Saturday-night party has brought in its own brand of clientele, the kind that desires nothing more than to kick up its heels with good friends and cold beer. Great food, attentive service and relaxed atmosphere make West End Johnnies a winner.

(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill
275 Patriot Place
Foxborough, MA 02035
(508) 543-8629
www.countrybarma.com

This one may be the most obvious and well-known pick in the area, given that Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill resides smack dab in the middle of Foxborough’s Patriot Place, one of the area’s go-to shopping meccas for sports fans. The staff does its best to look the country part, while the grill’s cuisine consists primarily of comfort food and bar grub. Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill is still likely to do the trick for those hankerin’ for a healthy dose of country on a Saturday night.

Related: Boston’s Best Craft Beer Bars

(Credit: James Coletta/www.jamescoletta.com)

(Credit: James Coletta/www.jamescoletta.com)


The Greatest Bar
262 Friend St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 367-0544
www.thegreatestbar.com

Twisted Thursdays mean country night at this Friend Street joint, a four-floor affair that embraces its inner redneck on a weekly basis, indulging in the latest country hits. It’s guaranteed to get the hip and hot cowboys and girls out on the dance floor. There’s a stronger emphasis on pop country here at Twisted Thursday, so no crying in your beer allowed. Expect instead sexy, semi-rockin’ tunes that make the best of The Greatest Bar’s spacious dance floor. This place can get packed when a TD Bank North Garden show gets out, so get here early.

(Photo Credit: British Beer Company)

(Photo Credit: British Beer Company)

British Beer Company
120 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 879-1776
www.britishbeer.com/

As opposed to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, which tries its best to provide a specific voice and theme for country-starved bar folk, The British Beer Company’s decor and dining fare scream Jolly Old England. Still, the BBC isn’t afraid of letting loose with a bit o’ country when its mates aren’t looking, with most Wednesday nights serving as country night. Here, live country and bluegrass music provide mood music and down-home ambiance while guests munch traditional pub fare like fish and chips, and bangers and mash. An arguably odd mix, but a great one for long, semi-sober country nights.

George Pacheco has been writing professionally about arts and entertainment for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George currently resides in a humble New England home with his wife, cat and massive music and film collection. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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