Bell In Hand Tavern


27 Ratings
Bell In Hand TavernBell In Hand Tavern

Type: Bar, Eatery

45-55 Union Street
Boston, Massachusetts, 02108-2409
United States

(617) 227-2098 | map

The Tavern has been around since 1795. A gathering place for printers and politicians, sailors and students, it quickly became the most famous alehouse in the city.

Jimmy Wilson was the first owner. Everybody in Boston knew Jimmy. Not that they had much choice. Jimmy was Boston’s town crier for fifty years. Good news or bad, Bostonians heard it all from Jimmy. He reported on everything from the Boston Tea Party to the birth of the nation. When he retired, he decided to open a tavern. He was proud of his former occupation and that’s why he called the place the Bell-in-Hand.

Added by clarkm04 on 08-04-2010

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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of DerwinWentworth
5/5  rDev +55.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of jeschaefer
5/5  rDev +55.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Shellynix
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.25

Photo of scxcrunner
3.48/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.25

Good for what it is. its a typical Boston bar. food is not thing special and the beer selection is standard. they usually have live music and is a pretty cool building but thats about it.

 190 characters

Photo of costanzo_mike
3.09/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3

Photo of drrone
3.98/5  rDev +24%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

I figured i would check out this place as they advertise it as America's oldest tavern, which according to wiki is not true. Anyways, i went to this place early evening and it was cool. A decent band and a decent draft list. They did have grapefruit sculpin on tap though and i was very excited about that. I guess at night it turns more into a party crowd, but i would suggest dropping by if you are the area.

 410 characters

Photo of SM00TH_H0PERAT0R
4.06/5  rDev +26.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of 03fatboy
3.58/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25

Great place to see in Boston get the (Brick Red Ale) only in Boston

68 characters

Photo of TBonez477
3.08/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 2.75

Photo of caffeinateme
2.28/5  rDev -29%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 2

Photo of rjp217
2.81/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3 | selection: 2.25 | food: 4

Photo of harsley
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of StrayteEDGE
1.5/5  rDev -53.3%

Photo of Resuin
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Boston71
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of neil2me
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Knapp85
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of jpcamp
1/5  rDev -68.8%

Photo of jwps214
3.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of santhealana
2/5  rDev -37.7%

Photo of Kruja5
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of lehows
3.5/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped in one afternoon as part of an informal pub crawl. Dark typical pub atmosphere but this place is steeped in history. One of the oldest continually operating pubs in the country, maybe even the oldest I heard. Friendly bar staff and patrons in here enjoying a pint and chatting with anyone who walked through the door. Selection was the usual suspects with seasonal offerings from Harpoon and Sam being the best of the bunch. All in all, definitely worth a stop if you're walking through the area but not exactly a beer bar destination.

 543 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.28/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5

A convenient stop on the freedom trail, the oldest tavern in the USA (apparently). Triangle shaped layout with cobblestones outside, feels authentic despite the "Winking Lizard" feel to the interior. Mostly BMC products on tap, although I did find Sam Adams Brick Red (only distributed locally). Food was normal pub fare, decent price and taste.

The lack of quality taps was a disappointment, still this place has neat history. No need to go here twice but as a tourist I was glad to go once.

 494 characters

Photo of morebeergood
3.16/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5

OK, let me state this now: I know this is not a hot spot for beer lovers. My wife and I were showing a relative from the west coast around downtown, and we cruised through Faneuil Hall. We stopped at the BIHT because it was freezing, and I thought it was sorta cool to have a drink with the guy in America's oldest tavern. Brick and stone interior. A few bars, tvs, music stages, and a dance floor upstairs. Who hasn't spent a night partying at this strip of pubs? They're all the same really, one fratboy bar after another. Decent crowd on a Sat afternoon, even with no local sports events on tv. Bartender was friendly enough, served us quickly. Beers were $7.50, but come in 24oz glasses. Selection was pretty weak. Four Harpoons, three Sams, and a whole bunch of macro. I went with the Harpoon Celtic Ale. There's only two reasons to come here: as a tourist to say you had a pint here, or as part of a pub crawl.

 916 characters

Photo of asabreed
3.06/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5

Didn't try the food here, to get that out of the way, but they did have -- like a lot of places in the area -- a lot of lobster specials.

It's apparently the oldest tavern in the U.S., which it has going for it.

It's on the corner of two streets, so the best way to describe it would probably be as an A-frame, and the night before, someone in the top of the A was playing guitar and doing a weird cover of Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire."

Normal pub-type atmosphere. A lot of folks after working having a brew since it was a Monday.

Not much else to say. A cool place to visit for the history, but with not a very big beer selection, it won't be someplace I frequent when I come back.

 691 characters

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Bell In Hand Tavern in Boston, MA
3.21 out of 5 based on 27 ratings.
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