When it comes to dining destinations across the Northeast, Massachusetts has a particularly impressive portfolio. This storied commonwealth has mastered the art of succulent seafood ranging from lobster rolls to clam chowder, and even serves as the birthplace of the chocolate chip cookie—yet one of the Bay State’s most valuable hubs for fine drinking and dining tends to fly under the radar with tourists.
Spanning from northern Suffolk County to the New Hampshire border, the Boston-adjacent North Shore is renowned for its high concentration of gorgeous beaches and charming seaside towns—and if you’re hoping to unwind with a crisp lager after a long day in the surf and sand, there’s no better place to be.
In Beverly, Coastal Mass. Brewing has perfected the art of Bay State beer, even earning a spot on the 2019 USA Today Best New Breweries list. In spite of its small size, this cozy brewery packs a king-sized amount of flavor into its products, offering a diverse array of brews to choose from. Sours are another specialty around here, ranging from cranberry-loaded to piña colada, and there’s ample opportunity for porter and IPA fans as well.
If you’d prefer to stick closer to Boston, Bent Water Brewing Company is just under half an hour north of the city. This brewery has gained abundant acclaim across Massachusetts for its dazzling can art and hoppy brews, with the popular Sluice Juice NEIPA and Super Sluice DIPA being two particular must-trys. Further north, True North Ale Company is a master of all trades, dishing out beer from 20 taps. Whether you spring for a refreshing Mexican lager or a juicy DIPA, be sure to take advantage of the massive facility, a space that comes complete with board games, soft pretzels, and regular live music.
If you’re not much of a beer fan, there’s no need to worry—the North Shore also offers a stellar spirits experience in the form of Deacon Giles. Gin, vodka, and absinthe are all on the menu around here, while there’s ample opportunity for rum lovers to find a new favorite bottle, with solera-aged amber, vanilla loaded-spiced, and traditional varieties to sample. Prefer to sip your spirits in a cocktail? No worries—the on-property Speakeasy Lab has all of the complex concoctions that you’ve been dreaming of.
Of course, you’ll be in need of a hearty meal after some top-notch Juniper Point Dry Gin, and fortunately, the region is loaded with incredible restaurants. It’s a bit far from the shore, but Byfield’s Rusty Can is an absolute must-visit for barbecue lovers, slinging up decadent brisket, St. Louis pork ribs, and the best spicy mayo-slathered fried chicken sandwich in the Bay State—and the incredible dining doesn’t stop there.
Perched on the Merrimack River, The Modern Butcher has become an Essex County favorite thanks to its incredible array of fresh pasture-raised meat, each slice sourced from nearby New England farms. Beef tenderloin, pork crown roasts, and a wide array of savory sausages are all up for grabs, but don’t miss out on their daily sandwich special either. These massive meals are absolutely loaded with fresh meat, produce, and sauce, and offer a wide range of flavors that are difficult to find elsewhere in the region, with past iterations including Korean reubens and chicken adobo.
If you’re more of a seafood fan, Nightshade Noodle Bar offers a spectacular tasting menu that rotates daily, each dish infused with a superb French-Vietnamese culinary flair. Though there’s no guarantee which specific items will be on the roster each day, preserved wild mushroom claypot, bay scallop noodle soup, and bone marrow bánh mì are just a few all-stars that have appeared in the past, with no shortage of top-tier wine and cocktails to pair them with.
While most visitors to Boston spend their time in the heart of the city, the North Shore is a particularly idyllic destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking to stroll along some of the Bay State’s most scenic beaches, find a new favorite IPA, or stuff your face with succulent Show-Me State barbecue, this region is sure to leave you with a whole lot of lasting memories.