Bars in Dedham

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Lorenz Island Kuisine’s roots are immediately visible on its ceiling, where a Jamaican flag proudly hangs. A few more steps inside the warmly lit eatery and more roots begin to show. There’s the orange walls with green trim, and the smell of Jamaican food wafting from the open kitchen. There, the kitchen staff cooks curry goat and plates crispy, brown pieces of jerk chicken. Other dishes include oxtail, plantains, rice and beans, beef patties encased in flaky crust, and almond cake made with rum and topped with icing. Many of the dishes double as loveable characters in the eatery’s recipe book.

657 Washington St
Dorchester Center,
MA
US

Like Mr. Rogers dressed in a banana-yellow zoot suit, American Craft's menu gives comfy American fare a tasty artisanal twist. Each of its appetizers ($8–$11) conceals a variety of inspired tastes, from the butternut-squash risotto to the pulled-duck hash with root veggies. Fresh salads and a trifecta of soups (du jour, oven-roasted tomato, and onion) will appease dainty diners, though they also go really well with a build-your-own burger of beef, turkey, or veggie served on a hi-rise challah roll with hand-cut fries or mixed greens. Once all the palate's previews have played, it's time for the main movie: American Craft's heartier plates include a grilled flat-iron steak au poivre with grilled asparagus and gorgonzola mashed potatoes, a veggie-friendly grilled tofu steak with broccoli rabe, and stout-braised short ribs with whipped potatoes. Entrees range between $14 and $24, and sandwiches are $9 to $12.

1648 Beacon St
Brookline,
MA
US

Though Yelpers have mixed feelings about the sometimes-noisy atmosphere, they praise The Playwright’s food and give it a three-star average. Nine Citysearchers give it an average of four stars.

1960 Beacon St
Brighton,
MA
US

The Shanghai Social Club fashioned to conjure a classic 1920s speakeasy, but with a twist—in addition to bootleg whiskey and old-fashioneds, you can order fishbowl-sized drinks, which come filled with rum, honey, and exotic fruit juices. It's just one of the ways this stylish Asian restaurant melds old-fashioned sophistication with a carefree, tiki-bar vibe, an atmosphere that helped Zagat named it one of the hottest restaurants in Boston.

The restaurant's menu draws inspiration from traditional dinner entrees and streetside vendors in Shanghai. Bite into a steamed bun filled with gingery pork belly or crispy chicken skin, or dig into steaming noodles topped with Peking duck. Specialty dishes range from savory Mongolian beef to sweet honey shrimp. Meanwhile, the low-key decor—low lights, Buddhist statues, and colorful cushions—does little to distract from the cuisine.

1277 Commonwealth Ave
Allston,
MA
US

For Chef Alex Zarifan, freestyle is not a type of swimming stroke or genre of music. It's a culinary method, one that encourages experimentation and multiple flavorful influences on the menu at 404 Tapas Bar and Lounge. Alex looks to New American and French traditions when crafting 404's signature tapas, but they often end up in an entirely new category.

Diners might not know how to classify spicy buffalo meatballs or tomato-infused lamb sausage, but they'll definitely know how to eat them. A selection of larger plates are available, too—slices of swordfish, seafood paella, and roasted Cornish hen are a few available entrees. Desserts include deep-fried Oreos, which are a far more professional version of microwaved Oreos.

404 Harvard Street
Brookline,
MA
US

Matt Murphy’s Pub

Matt Murphy’s Pub has authenticity down, from the Irish bartenders, to the live folk music to the soda bread, shepherd’s pie, and oxtail soup. “It’s food you would find in Irish farmhouse kitchens,” said the Boston Globe in a 2005 review that also named the pub Boston’s most authentic Irish restaurant. Of course, the real test of an Irish pub's authenticity is its drink menu. Along with on-tap brews directly from the Emerald Isle—Magner’s Cider, Guinness—the staff has created cocktails like the Immigrant, a spicy glass of mango-infused whiskey, and the Wee Donkey, which gets its kick from tequila, amaretto, and orange juice.

14 Harvard St
Brookline,
MA
US