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TOP 3, BOSTON’S GASTROPUBS: Places to be single and mingle

Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that you have to sit at home wallowing amongst multiple pints of ice cream, alcohol and self-bought chocolates. Take the chance to check out some of Boston’s gastropubs that feature high-quality fare and cocktails with comfortably casual ambiances that allow for a non-intimidating transition between bar and table. 

Deep Ellum (Allston/Brighton, $$)

Deep Ellum is a cozily unassuming, dimly lit spot with a delicious-looking food and cocktail menu and wide selection of beer on tap. Having originally stopped in for a late-night beer, I resolved to return another day as the smell of my neighbor’s gorgonzola fries and the incredibly friendly, conversational, and attentive bartenders reeled me in. Perhaps I was just waxing nostalgic over my Green Flash “West Coast” IPA, but I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere, which reminded me of some of my favorite spots in San Francisco – a fantastic blend of high-quality food, lack of pretension, and reasonably priced liquor. 477 Cambridge Street, Allston 02134

Foundry on Elm (Davis Square, $$)

Conveniently located in Davis Square, Foundry on Elm serves up some unique cocktails in a chic interior conducive to wandering about tables. Billing themselves as “a cross between an American pub and French brasserie,” Foundry is a fantastic place to sample comfort food with an upscale twist; my suitemate is a particular fan of their truffle fries. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail I didn’t like at Foundry, with my particular favorites being the Ginger Smash (bourbon, mint, lemon, ginger beer) and Natasha Rose (citrus vodka, St. Germain, cassis, cava). 255 Elm Street, Somerville 02144

Toro (South End, $$$)

Toro is an award-winning restaurant in the South End that offers both traditional and creative incarnations of tapas. When I think tapas, I not only think of the food, but also the sense of bustling camaraderie – the kind of place where people are boisterously enjoying food and not afraid to show it. Toro straddles this line of projecting a comfortably classy feel while also retaining the beloved hustle and bustle of tapas bars. I had once gone to Toro with a friend for Restaurant Week Boston, and I think I still have dreams about the decadently delicious “uni bocadillo” – a small uni sandwich grilled with miso butter and picked mustard seeds. 1704 Washington Street, Boston 02188

– Jocelyn Chan

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