Giving Boston A Quick Poke To See If The Gay Rumors Are True

When it came time to fill up a couple of extra days in New England before returning to Florida this past holiday season, I rerouted my plans to create a brief layover in a city I had not visited in over a decade. It was an opportunity to give Boston a quick hello.

Where To Stay –

Photo from Royal Sonesta website of the hotel on the right overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline

The Royal Sonesta Boston is a prime choice for where to rest your head while visiting Boston.  Located across the river in neighboring Cambridge, Massachusetts, the easy proximity to the airport and the Green Line, the Cambridge locale might as well have been downtown.  But you cannot get the magnificent morning and evening views of the Charles River and the Boston skyline when in a downtown hotel.  Heading out the doors of the Royal Sonesta, all of Cambridge was there for you to enjoy, from the Cambridge Side Mall just across the street to a short 2-mile walk to Harvard.

Map of Boston’s subway system. Notice the airport in the upper right hand corner and the stop for the Royal Sonesta is due west at the end of the Green Line (GL) at Lechmere

The hotel itself has plentiful offerings from the largest indoor pool in Boston to multiple offerings for libations.

Royal Sonesta Boston combines modern style with breathtaking city views right along the famous Charles River in Cambridge. Located right between world-class attractions and straddling both Cambridge and Boston–all you need is easily accessible including Fenway Park, Harvard Square, Faneuil Hall and more.

Treat yourself to a sophisticated, casual meal at our very own ArtBar or Dante — two highly acclaimed restaurants. Start your morning at the Studio coffee shop with a house made pastry. For those feeling active, our fitness facilities are sure to inspire. The atrium-style pool overlooking the Charles river stands out among Boston hotels with pools.

The elevator was my commute to a wonderful breakfast both days at the ARTBAR restaurant. There was a buffet in the AM, but I went with some menu items (the corn beef hash and eggs one morning and avocado toast the next morning – pics at the end of this post). Dinner at night was again, simple, fresh, well put together.  But what was better than the food? The staff at the restaurant was great to watch, interact with, and watch as they worked together, the definition of teamwork. I will go back for the food again, but then maybe stay too long talking with the quality and friendly staff.

Our visit was in the winter time, but I will need to make sure I come back to the Royal Sonesta Boston to enjoy the Riverfront Terrace overlooking the Charles River and Boston Skyline

LGBT Fun –

For over the past decade, I’ve heard that the Boston gay scene had been changing and not for the best. Some of the last bars I had gone to in Boston and always had a great time were Machine and Ramrod and of course when Avalon was around with its gay night, but I wanted to explore a little more variety and an update. Long gone are Paradise and Campus and Avalon. We skipped Club Cafe since they had a cover and … who does those still? I’m sure it’s a great place, but $10 is $10.  Maybe I’ll splurge in 2020. Where did we go to find some gay fun?


This view is well-known by many as it is the side of the Trophy Room most see during the Pride Block Party

Located in the same spot where Fritz was, site of the infamous Pride Block Party, The Trophy Room (trophyroomboston.com) was where we tied a couple on each of the nights we were there.  A stylish bar, mixed about 80/30 men/women for the holiday season and some holiday parties, is a comfortable place to go and be seen and meet friends. The bartenders were friendly, but it seemed a little hard to strike up a conversation in the loud space and friends already knowing friends.  I’ll give it another try to meet someone new.  Also, the food shown on the website (as it is a restaurant by day) looked enticing and worth another visit. 


This looks like it will be fun. A picture I took of Cathedral Station as we arrived

As soon as I walked into this place, it felt simple and home. Bar there, seating there, pool over there.  Get a drink and settle in for an enjoyable night at the bar.  I don’t want to say there were no frills, but yeah, there was no odd theme being forced into the space as everything had its place, was clean, and the men were very enjoyable to look at.  There was a less mix here as there were just a handful of women present, but they seemed to be out in the pool area and most were lesbians.

Photo from Cathedral Station website showing the outside patio area

If I lived in Boston, out of the three gay bars we went to, this would be the place I would hang out the most. Slow or packed, I would be perfectly fine enjoying an Allagash White and passing the time here by myself or meeting someone new.  Head over to the bar’s website to see what new and regular weekly events are offered to their patrons. What I also loved was how active the bar seemed to be within the community.  Going to one page on the bar’s website, you can see that Boston has a great variety of sports teams and groups alive and well.

Screen shot from Cathedral Station website. Go to their page for active links.

 


Facebook photograph of the Boston Eagle

Yes, I’ve been here before, peed on the ice in the urinal trough full of ice, and bought beers from Jack the bartender, who might have been here before Boston was incorporated, but don’t let his rough exterior fool you.  The Boston Eagle is a place where you don’t go to be seen or pick someone up or to just get a beer, but it’s all of that, too. Usually busy just as all the other bars wind down, the crowd grows as hungry and horny men look for that live trick, maybe even while they’re scrolling through the apps.  There’s a bunch of items from your childhood on the ceiling and walls.  It’s a fun dive that’s not looking to be your favorite place, but just a place to be. Ending the night here is a fun and common practice, just don’t be judgy, choosey, or pretentious – there’s no room for that. Jack will let you know if you’ve stepped over those boundaries. 

We rounded a corner and BOOM! There was the Boston Eagle. That facade cannot be misstaken.

What I enjoyed about my stay in Boston was that it was easy and care free. Yes, Boston has a reputation of being expensive, busy, congested, hard to get around, with pretentious gays and a dying scene. Those were not part of my experiences during my December trip to Beantown. I found in just those three bars, the crowds were fun, jovial, and plentiful.

It was great to be back in a city with a culture that was palpable. I’ll go back again and look at some other gay haunts, maybe I’ll pay a cover, and maybe we’ll find the best place to dance/cut a rug. Thanks again Royal Sonesta Boston for being a great hub for my most recent visit to Boston, my walk around Cambridge, my first subway ride in years, and my enjoyment of being on the banks of The Charles River.


As usual, I’ll end with some other pics from my trip.

One of the rooms at The Royal Sonesta Boston overlooking the Charles River
The ARTBAR at the Royal Sonesta was a multi faceted space as it was a bar all day, a great breakfast/brunch spot, and a wonderful restaurant to enjoy a relaxing dinner.
Yes, everyone does avocado toast differently, but I would be happy to eat ARTBAR’s version many more times. The sweet potato tater tots need to be on everyone’s menu.
Anyone for ARTBAR hash? Yes please!
Steak Frites was the choice for dinner one night at ARTBAR


We’ll have to check out some of the daily activities at Cathedral Station

During our two-mile walk through Cambridge to Harvard we stumbled upon this lovely rainbow crosswalk

I did not know this was a thing, but while walking through Boston, we found a memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon right there at one of the bomb sites.

 

What do you think?