NFT Boston Charlestown

Charlestown

Essentials
Yes, Charlestown really is the same neighborhood depicted in Ben Affleck's The Town -- from Irish gangsters to the most bank robbers and car thieves per capita. But despite the public housing blocks that still sit along the edge of town, Charlestown is now an upscale, quaint community. Still, if you see someone in a Nun mask? Look away.

Sundries/Entertainment
Two notable restaurants along Charlestown's City Square are Olives and Tangierino. Check out views of the city from Flagship Wharf. For history buffs, nothing's better than The Warren Tavern, one of the oldest bars in the country.

Transportation
In the middle of winter, it's a long, bitter hike into Charlestown from the Orange Line at Community College or Sullivan Square. Driving is ill advised, but cabs are a quick (but expensive) hop from downtown. Warmer options are buses 92 or 93. In the summer -- just walk! It's a good stroll along the Harbor.See more.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Spectacular Views of Boston

By Emily Doutre
"From Bunker Hill to the Blue Hills, from the Charles River to Charlestown, there are a number of spots to catch spectacular views of the city as a whole, both inside and out of Boston proper.  So kick back and enjoy the views."
Read More...
When the Weather Outside is Frightful

By Sarah Shemkus
Winter in Boston: Scourge of God or Beauteous Overlay Inspiring Indoor Activities? Only Sarah Shemkus can tell.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

The Warren Tavern
Every year, millions of tourists flock to the Union Oyster House to sample the flavor of the oldest restaurant in America. But if you've ever visited that old school shuck house on a day that ends with the letter "Y," you know the odds of getting a table within an hour are against you. In times like these, I suggest the Warren Tavern. Erected in 1780 in Charlestown, Warren Tavern is the oldest tavern in Massachusetts, and perhaps the most historic waterin’ hole in the country. The tavern is named for Dr. Joseph Warren, an important figure in the American Revolution, as well as John Adams' physician (as we all learned in the "John Adams" miniseries). Notable patrons included George Washington and Warren's good buddy Paul Revere. The interior of the building is much larger than its exterior indicates, with a large dining room and bar area, and an ambiance that screams "colonial." The beer selection is decent and inexpensive, though the menu could use a little stimulation in the home cookin’ department. They do, however, make their own chips, and they are awesome. Unlike UOH, where it's all tourist, all the time, Warren Tavern has a cozy, local feeling, and there seems to be a golden name plate on every bar stool. It's also a welcome destination subsequent to pulling every muscle in your legs climbing the nearly Bunker Hill Monument.



Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

USS Constitution Museum
We've all done at least some of the Freedom Trail. Try walking anywhere in downtown Boston and NOT following that big red line. But the Charlestown stops on the Freedom Trail seem to be most often neglected, perhaps because no one who lives here is interested enough to walk the extra mile across the bridge. Which is a shame, because there's some pretty cool old timey stuff over there, like the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship afloat in the ENTIRE WORLD. This big boat, containing copper sheathing forged by Paul Revere himself, first hit the world's waters in 1797 and hasn't looked back. At over 211 years old now, Old Ironsides doesn't go out for voyages much anymore, except on July 4, when it is towed out into the harbor for a short turnaround cruise, followed by a 21 gun salute. The presence of the tugboats that haul the ship along takes some of the air out of the show, but just seeing her in motion is still rousing. There are many historic buildings all along the Freedom Trail, but they're all stationary, with history occurring inside them; the buildings themselves didn't make history. But this ship did, fighting off adversaries and sinking their ships in the Quasi-War, First Barbary War, and the War of 1812. And it's still floating in the water. That's pretty rad.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

USS Constitution Museum
Do you have rickets, gout, or scurvy? Are you willing to eat hard biscuits? Are you willing to sleep next to 200 men who haven't bathed in a while? Yes? Then here's your provision bag, recruit. You're a sailor now. Those are the questions you heard upon enlisting for service on Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution. See the ship first, then come to this fun museum for half an hour. You can try out a hammock and see what kind of disgusting food the 'salts" ate. There's an exhibit that lets you load a mock cannon and try to hit the broadside or sails of an enemy ship. Try to command the ship through battle; or lift panels to see what emotional tests you went through in battle. There are three galleries devoted to the Barbary Pirate engagement, Constitution's first trial. In short, everything you want to know on the oldest commissioned warship in the world is here.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

Olives
There are a few places in the city that are so famous, you end up carrying a suitcase full of everyone's reviews and expectations all the way to your table. Olives, thankfully, stows said luggage immediately upon arrival leading you to realize it's worth the hype. Arriving early, we headed to the bar and were immediately welcomed by a throng of regulars, all there for dinner and discussion with their favorite bartenders and neighbors. This is always a good omen for the meal ahead. I can't find an adjective good enough to describe how incredible the food is. An appetizer of freshly made pasta with a creamy red sauce, tossed with crab meat was so delicious it would have been an entree in most other restaurants. The steak frites, cooked to utter perfection, required a pause after each bite to savor the flavor and juices. Saying I was blown away would be an understatement. Perfect food, comfortable waiters dressed in jeans, and as a final recommendation, the final bill was nearly half what we expected it to be. Being treated to a meal like this makes it pretty easy to see why Todd English got his start here, and why you must go.



Posted By:  Alex Steed
Photo:  Alex Steed

Chow Thai Cafe
The folks who work here are so nice that it's painful to suggest that the food isn't that appetizing. Unfortunately, it's not unappetizing in an interesting, maybe/kinda tasty when you're stoned sort of way, either. It is unappetizing in a 'it's probably better to hold off and walk 20 minutes to Inman Sqaure for something better' sort of way. There is also an older gentleman who speaks with an affected English-sounding accent who talks very, very (read: uncomfortably) closely. The atmosphere is nice, though, and when you're getting takeout, it's nice to get a beer because their servers are pleasant. And if you're bored while waiting for takeout, you can read the travel books shelved by the door, some of which are decades out of date. The Pad Thai is next to atrocious and many of the other dishes are strongly mediocre. If you're going to give it a try, though, do check out the pineapple-fried rice. It's one of the few tasty items on the menu.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

The Warren Tavern
After touring the Charlestown Navy Yard and Bunker Hill Monument, you may want some libations. To keep on your history pages, go over to The Warren Tavern, a landmark since 1780. It was probably one of the first buildings put up after Charlestown was burned by the Redcoats. The tavern was named for Dr. Joseph Warren, a general at Bunker Hill. The first Masonic Lodge in Charlestown, then a separate municipality, was set up in 1783. Paul Revere was the first Grandmaster. President Washington paid a call in 1789. But I don’t want to exhaust the venerable building’s history. Go and experience it for yourself. The hand-hewn beams are intact; and the place really feels old, unlike some other ersatz “Colonial” pubs around. The angus burgers are good, and the Shepard’s pie is a tavern favorite. There’s a reasonable selection of brew. But, this being Boston (since the incorporation), why wouldn’t you choose Sam Adams? Who knows, the beer may conjure up the ghost of your favorite patriot.



Posted By:  Alex Steed
Photo:  Alex Steed

Bunker Hill Liquors
Bunker Hill Liquors is one of the best liquor stores in miles, which is saying a lot considered there are about 30 liquor stores per block in this area. The walls are lined with wood paneling and the lighting is terrible but for a little, little place the beer selection is great. They have a decent set of wines, too. It is actually a very similar experience to going to one's drunk uncle's den in order to buy whatever booze one is looking for. The folks at the register are usually cheery and despite often having to navigate through the day-time alcoholics, it's often a great pre-crunk visit.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

O! Deli
You know those places that are pretty unremarkable yet still manage to do one thing incredibly? That’s what you get when you roll into the O! Deli, which is non-NYC deli food, with one notable exception. That exception happens every Thursday, when the friendly family that churns out sandwiches the rest of the week switches gears for Chicken Parm Sandwich Day. To those in the know, it’s also called, “Getouttamywayit’snearlynoon” day. A rather odd name, granted, but on CPSD if you’re not there by 12:30, you’re pretty much stuck with Olive-loaf. Why is this sandwich so good? I have absolutely no idea. It looks normal, seems like pretty standard fare for a downtown work lunch eatery, and is cheap as hell, but for some reason it’s just damn delicious. A perfectly breaded chicken chunk, slathered in melty smelty cheese and with a touch of a slightly sweet marinara to offset the salt, all thrown on a pretty normal bun for some reason equals lines out the door at 11:55 Thursday afternoon. I say try it once, and then forget I mentioned it, so I don’t have to start going at 11:30 to get my parm on.



Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Goody Glovers
I thought this place was going to take off. It doesn’t seem that it has, which is a shame. Brought to you by the same folks who run one of Boston’s best tapas joints, Tasca, Goody Glovers is their Irish Pub-influenced restaurant. With prime space on the corner of Salem Street and the soon-to-be-finished park, I suppose that they’re biding their time, waiting for the summer crowds. But one has to wonder how successful Irish cuisine will be, when most folks are heading to the North End to eat Italian. The menu might not make you pause (it is a pub at heart after all) though it should. Certainly, in the top 10 chowders of Boston, the smoked haddock chowder is the stuff the tourists want and never find. And though hardly Irish, the enormous crab cake is one of the best I’ve eaten outside of New Jersey. Seriously.



Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Bunker Hill is a quintessential Boston tourist stop. I’m bringing it to your attention for a couple of reasons. First, now is the ideal time to make the climb to the refurbished Monument as it’s too early (and too chilly) for school field trips. The last thing you’ll want is to be stuck 128 feet up in the narrowing stairway with obnoxious, screaming children. Second, the new Bunker Hill Museum has opened on Monument Square updating the dusty battle dioramas with new and better displays. If you come over on the T, you’ll walk pass the 99, scene of the 1965 mob murders. If you walk over from the North End, you’ll likely want to stop for refreshments at the Warren Tavern, Paul Revere’s local.



Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Not to be snarky, but there is only one reason to go to the Tavern on the Water. And it’s not the amazing view of Boston Harbor and the city, but rather to drink beer and look at boats. Sure, folks will be there going ga-ga over the city skyline, but why one earth would you make a trip all the way out to the edge of Charleston if you weren’t going to pad around the docks like Gilligan looking for the Skipper? It doesn’t have the best marina, its beers are overpriced, the view, the view, the view… But what it does have like no other place in the greater Boston area is boats on the dock (way too down-home for Rowe’s Wharf) and crew that are ready to drink beer. If anything, I’d like to see the whole place get just a little more Gloucester and have some cheese sticks.



Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Charlestown Navy Yard
With summer slipping away, it’s worth a quick trip to Shipyard Park to practice your parkour. For those of you that don’t know, parkour is a French version of self-defense that involves jumping from building to building like one of those ninjas in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Shipyard Park provides the quickest one-stop parkour environment I’ve seen anywhere, built as it is around an old warehouse. Exposed steel beams, stairs up and down, open windows, and just high enough to be completely dangerous but not induce vertigo. Be sure to bring your video camera to film your crazy stunts and you could be the next big thing on YouTube. If an afternoon of Parkour seems too extreme, you should know that one of the best wadding pools for the kiddies is also right here overlooking the Korean War Memorial. But if extreme is what you’re after, what a better way to do it than hop, skip and jump through the urban environment like a suburban Frenchie chasing Daniel Craig.



Posted By:  Shalini Srinivasan
Photo:  Shalini Srinivasan

O'Natural's
Okay, this one is really for my people, the herbivores. Yes, my fellow grazers, O’Naturals is a great option for us. It’s not cheap, and the portions are European, but they do provide vegetarians with one thing that few other restaurants can: choice. You decide what you want on your sandwich, with your spicy Korean noodles, or in your salad. Quit trying to stick the vegetarian with a salad? I feel your pain but, in this case, the salads are delicious. The hefty mixes almost pack enough calories to put fast food to shame. The free WiFi’s pretty nice too.



Posted By:  Macy Raymond
Photo:  Macy Raymond

Tangierino
Houkas. Cigars. International Cigarettes. Cordial Martinis. Belly Dancers. People wearing sunglasses indoors, at night. Waitresses with heavy black eyeliner. Waitresses with skin so shiny, when they walk by you see your own reflection in their legs. Waitresses who aloofly ignore you, making you feel kind of cool, because aloofly ignoring is always cool. A man in the corner seat, smothered with Moroccan pillows, who’s most certainly Elton John, winking at everyone. The kindly smell of shisha smoke flavored with mint, apple, jasmine, and rose. Your boyfriend sucking the houka lip in a way that makes you believe he needs more from you physically that you thought. A woman with suede thigh high boots looking perplexed when you light your cigarette. You offering her a drag. You asking her to please return your cigarette, it is your last one. You watching as she devours it, as pleased as a swine in mud. You saying, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” You realizing she doesn’t get the joke. The night lasting late. The belly dancers slinking around, keeping you awake, clanking their silver bells near to your ears. You, the next morning, feeling jetlagged, having traveled so far away. But your passport dusty is still in your junk drawer.




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Restaurants (15)
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