Located in the heart of Boston, the Bell In Hand Tavern is a historic landmark that has been serving locals and visitors alike for over two centuries. Known as the oldest continuously operating tavern in the United States, this lively establishment offers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern excitement. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a delicious meal, catch a live performance, or simply unwind with a refreshing drink, the Bell In Hand Tavern is the perfect destination for a memorable night out in Boston. With its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, this iconic tavern is a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience the true spirit of the city.

History of the Bell in Hand Tavern

Early Beginnings

The Bell in Hand Tavern has a rich history dating back to its early beginnings in the late 1700s. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, this iconic establishment holds the title of being America’s oldest continuously operating tavern. The tavern was first established by Jimmy Wilson, a publican, in 1795. It quickly became a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike, known for its vibrant atmosphere and warm hospitality.

Role in American Revolution

During the American Revolution, the Bell in Hand Tavern played a significant role as a meeting place for patriots. It became a hub for discussions, debates, and planning sessions among prominent revolutionaries. Many influential figures, such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, were known to frequent the tavern, using it as a platform to share ideas and rally support for the cause of independence.

Renovations and Changes

Over the years, the Bell in Hand Tavern has undergone various renovations and changes to adapt to the changing times while preserving its historical charm. In the mid-1800s, the tavern went through a major renovation, expanding its space to accommodate a growing number of patrons. Despite these changes, the owners have always strived to maintain the tavern’s unique character and preserve its historical significance.

Famous Visitors

The Bell in Hand Tavern has welcomed countless famous visitors throughout its long history. From notable politicians to renowned entertainers, this iconic establishment has never ceased to attract those seeking a memorable experience. Visitors have included the likes of Benjamin Franklin, John F. Kennedy, and even modern-day celebrities looking to immerse themselves in the tavern’s rich history and lively ambiance.

Architecture and Design


The exterior of the Bell in Hand Tavern is a true reflection of its historical significance. The building, with its brick façade and classic New England architecture, stands proudly in the heart of Boston’s vibrant downtown area. The tavern’s traditional design and inviting red door give it a sense of warmth and authenticity, drawing visitors in to explore its storied halls.


Step inside the Bell in Hand Tavern, and you’ll be greeted by a cozy and welcoming interior. The well-worn wooden floors and exposed brick walls create an ambiance that transports you back in time. The dim lighting and rustic furnishings further enhance the tavern’s old-world charm, making it the perfect place to unwind and immerse yourself in history.


The walls of the Bell in Hand Tavern are adorned with an impressive collection of memorabilia, showcasing its rich history. From antique photographs and historical artifacts to signed jerseys of famous athletes, there’s always something fascinating to catch your eye. Each decoration holds a story, contributing to the unique atmosphere and inspiring conversation among visitors.

Bell in Hand Sign

One of the iconic features of the tavern is the legendary Bell in Hand sign that hangs proudly outside. This sign, symbolizing hospitality and good cheer, has become a local landmark and a symbol of the tavern’s enduring legacy. Seeing the Bell in Hand sign serves as an invitation to step inside and experience the vibrant and lively atmosphere that awaits within.

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Food and Drinks

Traditional New England Dishes

The Bell in Hand Tavern takes pride in serving traditional New England dishes that reflect the region’s culinary heritage. From mouthwatering clam chowder and lobster rolls to hearty New England boiled dinners, each dish is crafted with care and showcases the freshest local ingredients. Indulging in these classic flavors allows you to savor the essence of Boston’s rich culinary traditions.

Signature Cocktails

Quench your thirst with the Bell in Hand Tavern’s signature cocktails. From classic favorites like the Old Fashioned and the Moscow Mule to unique creations like the Bellini Handtini, the bartenders expertly craft each drink to perfection. Whether you prefer something strong and sophisticated or light and refreshing, there’s a signature cocktail to suit every taste.

Local and Craft Beers

Beer enthusiasts will rejoice at the wide selection of local and craft beers available at the Bell in Hand Tavern. With an array of brews from Boston’s renowned breweries and beyond, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts, beer connoisseurs can indulge in the flavors of the local craft beer scene while soaking in the tavern’s vibrant atmosphere.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

The Bell in Hand Tavern understands the importance of catering to diverse dietary preferences. For those seeking vegetarian or vegan options, the menu offers a variety of tasty dishes that are sure to please. From crispy vegetable tempura to flavorful plant-based burgers, vegetarians and vegans can savor delicious and satisfying meals while enjoying the tavern’s historical ambiance.

Live Entertainment

Concerts and Performances

The Bell in Hand Tavern has a long-standing tradition of hosting live entertainment, making it a go-to destination for music enthusiasts. From local bands and solo artists to renowned musicians, the tavern’s stage has seen an impressive lineup of talent over the years. Whether you’re a fan of rock, jazz, or country, catching a live concert at the Bell in Hand Tavern is sure to be a memorable experience.

Trivia Nights

Put your knowledge to the test and join in on the excitement of trivia nights at the Bell in Hand Tavern. Gather a team of friends or join one at the tavern, and prepare for an evening of brain-teasing questions and friendly competition. With a wide range of categories and challenging trivia rounds, these nights are a great way to bond with friends and show off your trivia skills.

Comedy Shows

Laughter is the best medicine, and the Bell in Hand Tavern delivers plenty of it with its comedy shows. From up-and-coming comedians to seasoned veterans, the stage comes alive with side-splitting performances that will have you in stitches. Sit back, relax, and let the talented comedians entertain you while you enjoy delicious food and drinks in a truly historic setting.

Karaoke Nights

Unleash your inner superstar and take the stage during karaoke nights at the Bell in Hand Tavern. Sing your heart out to your favorite songs and revel in the energetic and supportive atmosphere. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or someone who just loves to have fun, karaoke nights at the tavern are guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime.

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Historical Significance

Meeting Place for Patriots

The Bell in Hand Tavern holds a special place in American history as a meeting place for patriots during the American Revolution. It served as a haven for those dedicated to the cause of independence, providing a space where ideas could be freely exchanged and plans could be made. Many influential figures of the revolution, such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, frequented the tavern, solidifying its role in the fight for liberty.

Boston Tea Party Connection

The Bell in Hand Tavern has a direct connection to the famous Boston Tea Party. It is said that the tavern served as a gathering point for some of the Sons of Liberty before they carried out their act of protest against the British tax on tea. This connection to such a pivotal event in American history further highlights the Bell in Hand Tavern’s significance and its ties to the fight for freedom.

Famous Political Figures

Over the years, the Bell in Hand Tavern has welcomed a multitude of famous political figures. From local politicians to national leaders, the tavern has been a preferred destination for those seeking a place to relax and engage in lively conversations. The walls of the tavern have borne witness to countless discussions and debates, further solidifying its status as a historical landmark.

Longest Continuously Operating Tavern

The Bell in Hand Tavern proudly holds the distinction of being America’s oldest continuously operating tavern. This remarkable achievement speaks to the tavern’s enduring appeal and its ability to adapt to changing times while remaining true to its historical roots. Generations of visitors have enjoyed the hospitality and charm of the Bell in Hand Tavern, ensuring its place in history as a beloved institution.

Festivals and Events

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Bell in Hand Tavern knows how to throw a party. The tavern comes alive with Irish music, traditional food, and the festive spirit of the holiday. Raise a pint of Guinness, join in on the lively dancing, and immerse yourself in the contagious enthusiasm that fills the air during this annual celebration.

Fourth of July Festivities

On the Fourth of July, the Bell in Hand Tavern becomes the ultimate destination to honor America’s independence. The tavern hosts a range of patriotic activities, including live performances, themed decorations, and of course, an impressive fireworks display. Celebrate the nation’s birthday in style at this historic establishment, surrounded by the spirit of freedom and camaraderie.

Halloween Parties

When Halloween rolls around, the Bell in Hand Tavern transforms into a haven for thrill-seekers and costume enthusiasts. The tavern’s annual Halloween party is a night to remember, with spooky decorations, creative costumes, and a thrilling atmosphere. Whether you’re dressed as a vampire or a superhero, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of Halloween magic at the Bell in Hand Tavern.

New Year’s Eve Bash

Ring in the New Year with style and revelry at the Bell in Hand Tavern’s legendary New Year’s Eve bash. Dance the night away to the beats of live music, toast to new beginnings with your favorite drinks, and share the joy of the countdown as midnight approaches. The tavern’s festive ambiance and lively crowd set the stage for a memorable celebration to welcome the coming year.

All About The Bell In Hand Tavern In Boston

Famous Stories and Legends

Ghostly Encounters

With its long history and mysterious ambiance, it is no surprise that the Bell in Hand Tavern has its fair share of ghostly encounters. Many visitors and employees have reported unexplained noises, flickering lights, and a palpable presence that lingers in certain areas of the tavern. These ghostly tales add to the allure of the Bell in Hand Tavern and make it a must-visit destination for those interested in the supernatural.

Hidden Treasure

Legend has it that there is hidden treasure buried beneath the Bell in Hand Tavern. Stories of pirate loot and hidden riches have circulated for centuries, captivating the imaginations of visitors. While the treasure remains elusive, the tales contribute to the tavern’s mystique and make it an exciting place to visit for those who enjoy the prospect of a hidden fortune.

Secret Underground Tunnels

Rumors abound about a network of secret underground tunnels beneath the Bell in Hand Tavern. These tunnels supposedly connect the tavern to other historic buildings in the area, adding an air of mystery and intrigue to its already fascinating history. While the existence of these tunnels has never been confirmed, the notion only adds to the sense of adventure associated with the tavern.

Prohibition Era

During the Prohibition era in the United States, the Bell in Hand Tavern played a daring role. It became a speakeasy, a secret haven for those seeking to indulge in alcoholic beverages despite the ban. Hidden rooms and secret passages were said to have been utilized during this time, allowing patrons to enjoy a drink while eluding law enforcement. The tavern’s involvement in this tumultuous period echoes its enduring resilience and unwavering commitment to conviviality.

Promotions and Special Offers

Happy Hour Discounts

The Bell in Hand Tavern offers attractive happy hour discounts for those looking to unwind after a long day. Enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers in a lively and historic setting. It’s the perfect opportunity to socialize with friends or colleagues while enjoying the tavern’s warm and inviting atmosphere.

Loyalty Program

To show appreciation for their loyal patrons, the Bell in Hand Tavern offers a rewarding loyalty program. By signing up, visitors can enjoy exclusive perks and benefits, such as priority seating, special event invitations, and discounts on food and drinks. The loyalty program ensures that guests are continually rewarded for their continued support and adds an extra layer of enjoyment to their visits.

Private Event Packages

For those looking to host a memorable event in a unique setting, the Bell in Hand Tavern offers private event packages. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, corporate gathering, or wedding reception, the tavern provides customizable options to suit any occasion. With attentive staff, delectable food and drinks, and the tavern’s unparalleled ambiance, private events at the Bell in Hand Tavern are sure to be a resounding success.

Seasonal Deals

Throughout the year, the Bell in Hand Tavern offers seasonal deals that allow visitors to experience the best of the tavern at a great value. From holiday-themed promotions to summer specials, these deals provide an opportunity to indulge in the tavern’s offerings while enjoying the festivities of the season. Keep an eye out for these limited-time offers and make the most of your visit to this historic establishment.

Location and Accessibility

Address and Contact Information

The Bell in Hand Tavern is conveniently located at 45-55 Union Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Situated in downtown Boston, it is easily accessible to both locals and visitors. For inquiries or reservations, you can contact the tavern at [phone number] or visit their website for more information.

Public Transportation Options

Getting to the Bell in Hand Tavern is a breeze thanks to its proximity to public transportation options. The closest subway station is [name], which is just a short walk away. Additionally, several bus routes run near the tavern, making it a convenient destination for those traveling by public transportation.

Parking Availability

While parking in downtown Boston can be challenging, the Bell in Hand Tavern offers parking options for its patrons. There are nearby parking garages and lots where visitors can park conveniently. Be sure to plan your visit accordingly and check for parking availability in the area before heading to the tavern.

Accessibility Features

The Bell in Hand Tavern is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all visitors. The tavern is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators available to ensure access for individuals with mobility needs. The staff is trained to assist patrons with disabilities, and accommodations can be made to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all.

Visitors and Reviews

Customer Testimonials

Visitors rave about their experiences at the Bell in Hand Tavern, praising its vibrant atmosphere, delicious food and drinks, and friendly staff. Many customers express their appreciation for the tavern’s historical significance and the sense of stepping back in time that it provides. From locals to tourists, the Bell in Hand Tavern has left a lasting impression on all who have had the pleasure of visiting.

Online Ratings and Reviews

Online ratings and reviews further solidify the Bell in Hand Tavern’s esteemed reputation. With an overwhelmingly positive average rating, customers consistently praise the tavern’s excellent service, delectable food, and diverse entertainment offerings. These glowing reviews serve as a testament to the tavern’s commitment to providing an unforgettable experience for all who walk through its doors.

Celebrity Sightings

The Bell in Hand Tavern has welcomed its fair share of celebrities over the years. From professional athletes to actors and musicians, famous faces have been spotted enjoying the legendary atmosphere and delicious offerings of the tavern. The presence of these celebrities adds an exciting element to the already vibrant ambiance, creating an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Recommendations from Locals

Locals of Boston are quick to recommend the Bell in Hand Tavern to visitors and newcomers. It is regarded as a must-visit destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the city’s history and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Locals appreciate the tavern’s authenticity and its ability to maintain its historical charm. For a true taste of Boston’s vibrant and welcoming spirit, the Bell in Hand Tavern is the place to be.

With its rich history, inviting atmosphere, and unbeatable lineup of food, drinks, and entertainment, the Bell in Hand Tavern in Boston is a destination like no other. From its early beginnings as a meeting place for patriots to its modern-day celebrations and legendary stories, this iconic establishment continues to captivate visitors from near and far. Whether you’re seeking a taste of history, a lively night out, or simply a warm and welcoming setting to enjoy a meal, the Bell in Hand Tavern is the perfect choice. Step through its doors and embark on a journey through time, immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors that have made this tavern an enduring legend.