With this year’s World Series winding down, it’s time for Boston to make that familiar, yet always unwelcome transition. We go from watching nightly broadcasts on NESN to daydreaming about a far-off day in February when pitchers and catchers report. Yes, baseball takes a backseat to those other sports during the winter months, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan for what’s to come in 2010.
To help gear up for next season (and further our denial of this Red Sox season being over), let’s talk about some of the best views in the Kenmore Square and Fenway Park area. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you’ll take in your first few games next April.
First up is a new addition to the Fenway family. I tend to avoid bars and restaurants directly lining the park during the summer — if only to dodge the crowds that descend upon them on game nights. But I find myself making an exception for Bleacher Bar.
Located at 82A Lansdowne Street and nestled beneath the bleachers in center field, this newish bar offers patrons something refreshingly different: a massive window with a view straight into Fenway Park. You don’t need a ticket to enter. The view is all yours for the cost of a Sam Seasonal or a grilled cheese. Snag a table in front of the window to watch the game at field level, a view that’s rare even inside the park.
You’ll never pay a cover at Bleacher Bar, and you can expect large portions of pub-style items when ordering off their menu. The beer selection and the prices are decent. Naturally, everything at the bar pales in comparison to the view. Having been open for two seasons now, the establishment is subject to the same swarming as the park’s more infamous perimeter bars. But if you get there early enough, or linger long enough — you can position yourself in a prime spot.
It’s no secret that the draw of Bleacher Bar is strongest during the season when home games are happening, but the bar is open year round. And it’s definitely worth a visit or two when the Sox aren’t playing. The crowds thin out, and the ambiance of Fenway Park is still palpable. For the Fenway faithful — an insider’s view like that never gets old.
Another locale worth looking into is Baseball Tavern over at 1270 Boylston Street. A five-minute walk from the ballpark, the bar boasts three plasma-flooded floors and an amazing roof deck. It’s another great alternative for fans out to watch (but not attending) Red Sox games.
The explosive grumbles and cheers you hear from the roof deck on a warm summer’s night is the next best thing to being inside the park. If you squint your eyes hard enough, you can even read the Jumbotron from the Tavern’s upper echelon.
With a roof deck that snags a lot of the glory, bar goers sometimes overlook the fun to be had on the other levels of Baseball Tavern. Multiple floors make the mobs after a game much more bearable. You always have options. But with so much room to drink, dance and mingle — the party tends to die down on off nights during the season and over the winter.
The bar equips each of its floors with plenty of high-def, big-screen TVs to quench your sporting thirsts. The lower level of the Tavern is ideal for watching a Patriots or a Celtics game in the upcoming months. Baseball Tavern, without question, offers a high-quality sports bar experience at any time of year.
The food and drink selection at Baseball Tavern is standard for the area. Not stellar, but satisfying. Again, it’s the view from the roof deck that lures me in every time.
If you’re interested in exploring all corners of historic Fenway Park, take a guided tour any day of the week between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tours run every hour, on the hour. On game days, tours stop running three hours before start time. The areas showcased are subject to availability, but in most cases you’ll be guided through the press box and up into the sky-high Green Monster seats, with the potential to access the field. It’s a completely different experience being inside an empty Fenway — and it provides you with array of park views, all within an hour. There are a few perks to taking a tour during the off season, including the ticket price. $12 for adults and $10 for kids! It’s seems like a steal, given what they charge for seats these days.
So there you have it — a brief and subjective account of some spectacular views in and around Fenway Park and Kenmore Square. There are plenty of places to take in a game, so why not frequent a bar where the views extend past the television screen?