Are you looking to discover the best bars in Salem?
Then we have you covered!
On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of all the bars in Salem. (More in-depth further below). And, each with why it’s best to go.
Feel free to check out each bar’s official profile to find out more and to find out which is best for you.
We’ve also created separate shortlists for each genre you might like to visit on your time out.
So check out these articles as well:
- The Best Cool Bars in Salem
- The Best Unique Bars in Salem
- The Best Cocktail Bars in Salem
- The Best Most Fun Bars in Salem
- And finally: Our Complete Guide to Salem’s Nightlife
Furthermore, you can get on the guest list or book a table with bottle service on some of the more exclusive bars. We are happy to help you out with either.
11. All Souls Lounge
All Souls Lounge bar was formed by two residents who care deeply about the town and industry in which they live and work. The two constructed pubs to commemorate and pay homage to the previous neighborhood establishments. The bar adheres to traditional hospitality principles. When you enter the pub, you can’t help but notice how friendly it is. The meals and drinks served at the pub are reasonably priced. The bartenders offer genuine service and make you feel welcome. You may have a friendly chat with your friends and loved ones at a cool bar. The strange saying lines “we welcome those who still have their souls and even some who do not” greet visitors to the pub. Gourmet hot dogs, vegan meals, and world-class grilled cheese are among the menu items available at the bar.
You may also get red beans and rice, quinoa and sweet potato chili, beef chili, and pretzels, among other things. The bar serves classic cocktails, wine, beer, vodka, and other alcoholic beverages. Set yourself up at this “old-school” hangout, which serves traditional drinks, gourmet hot dogs, and the tastiest grilled cheese on the North Shore. A large variety of vegan and vegetarian options are also available. Enjoy extensive vinyl and CD jukebox collections and the sincere and knowledgeable service from the staff. All Souls was created by two locals who share an affinity for the community and industry in which they live, work, and breathe. They are here to celebrate and pay homage to the old neighborhood bar, an honest-to-goodness haunt where everybody knows your name.
Their standards are based on the foundations of old-school hospitality: a welcoming atmosphere, sincere service, and affordable food and drink. Cold beer, warm conversation, and the best juke and vinyl selections on the North Shore – they look forward to sharing all of this, and much more, with you in the heart of downtown Salem. They welcome all who still have their souls — even those who don’t. BEST COCKTAIL LOUNGE IN SALEM! What a treat! It’s a small spot easily missed but with a cozy inside and a great little patio. Dog friendly. Be a good person and put some money in the jukebox. They have historical cocktails, grilled cheese (the sweet and salty with bacon and hot honey is my favorite), and hot dogs; what’s not to love? They have friendly staff and helpful staff as well.
10. Sea Level Oyster Bar
Sea Level Oyster Bar has oysters, lobster rolls, specialty cocktails & more offered in a casual joint with water views. Sea Level Oyster Bar can help you arrange the ideal event. This award-winning bar is an excellent choice for your next social event or company meal. It has an unrivaled collection of the finest seafood. It serves various beverages, including beers, cocktails, and wines. Baked lobster mac & cheese, shucked oysters, steak fries, ahi blackened seared tuna, steamed lobster, stuffed lobster, fried seafood, tacos, fried coconut shrimp, and more items are available on the bar’s extensive menu. It also accepts bookings. The Sea Level Salem restaurant is now open for indoor and outdoor dining. Only a few bookings are available.
Their cocktail menu keeps you interested long after you finish your last oyster. Sea Level Oyster Bar has an unrivaled assortment of New England’s best and freshest seafood. If you’re looking to host an event, Sea Level Oyster Bar can help you arrange the ideal one. Let them help you plan your next social gathering or corporate dinner. New Waterfront Seafood restaurant located on Pickering wharf serves fresh local seafood, Featuring an outside bar overlooking the harbor, Fresh Raw Bar, local favorites, and fun bar food, such as Fish Tacos, pizza, and great Burgers served in three ways. Outside, Dining windows that open up on the water open for Lunch and dinner seven days a week. This bar was established in 2015. It is a seafood restaurant featuring a Raw Bar, Outside Dining, Waterfront restaurant, and outside bar.
We come here every time we visit, and the food does not disappoint! Bloody Mary, to start, is phenomenal (pretty sure there is a little clam juice in it, but so good). I came here with my friend on a Tuesday night around 8 pm. We were seated upstairs. The restaurant was still pretty busy but starting to clear for the night. We ordered the popcorn shrimp and the fish of the Day tacos and shared them. The popcorn shrimp was my favorite between the two. I liked all components of it, from the actual shrimp to the tartar sauce to the bed of popcorn underneath. The day’s fish was Mahi, which was in the tacos. The restaurant overlooks the harbor, so the view is beautiful. Our waiter and the hostesses were all friendly, and the food was excellent. I would recommend stopping by if you’re in Salem!
9. Gulu Gulu Café
Gulu Gulu Café is a cozy, unpretentious coffeehouse offering an eclectic global menu of small bites, plus live music. The European-style café supports the arts. Breakfast, espresso, craft beer and imports, wine, and light fare. Free live entertainment. Gulu Gulu Cafe is a bohemian hangout that serves hard-to-find artisan beer, coffee, and light fare. Marie Feldmannova and her husband, Steve Feldmann, named their offbeat establishment after the cafe where they met in Prague. Feldmann recalls the Prague Cafe as an influence, saying, “When we began out, I don’t believe anyone understood what to make of us.” We have music, but we are not a club; we have food, but we are not a restaurant; and when people say “café,” they think Starbucks. We’re not quite Starbucks.” Gulu Gulu is more like Ernest Hemingway’s Closerie des Lilas.
In 2005, Steve and Marie founded their first Gulu Gulu Cafe in Lynn. The Salem location was a better match, and the current Gulu Gulu opened in 2007. This renowned cafe attracts a diverse crowd of crunchy artists and fashionable young workers. The emphasis on visual and performance art captures Salem’s appealing bohemian ambiance while local musicians and singer-songwriters perform [through the week]. And the cuisine is pure art, focusing on a clean, veggie-friendly selection of soups, sandwiches, and – most delightfully – an extended crepe menu of sweet and savory fillings. You’ll often encounter the owners and their loyal and eccentric crew relaxing with a cup of locally produced coffee or a great pint of beer that you won’t find anywhere else.
Please introduce yourself! The appropriate amount of distraction, a dash of free internet, a pinch of friendly vibes, and a sprinkling of freedom between coffee, wine, tea, or sophisticated beer offer me the perfect combination of yuppie, real-world Starbucks, and the old feel of the open back college library. The flying Gulu beer civilization has many advantages. Access to the Flying Gulu Beer Society’s secret, restricted Facebook group. You’ll receive first dibs on unique draught and bottled beers, beer education, tasting notes, and early access to events. You will be the first to know about any special, ticketed events, and you will be invited to exclusive Beer Society events. Your beer will be served in a unique chalice, and you will receive a t-shirt, your name on their plaque, and a chalice to keep. So, this is one of the best bars in Salem.
8. Bit Bar
Bit Bar is a bar that offers old-school arcade games, craft beer & playful eats like donut burgers. 50+ classic arcade and pinball games. Local craft beer and specialty cocktails. Now on Derby Street with a large patio and new comfort food menu. 21+ after 8 pm. They find their games and like keeping them running. Check out the existing games on the floor; new ones are constantly added. Finding one of these devices abandoned in a cellar or barn is thrilling; you can see the 35 years of love and cruelty. It’s difficult to describe the sensation of seeing it light up for the first time after years of neglect. The knowledge and components required to repair them are soon becoming a thing of the past. However, it is evident that we have a tremendous emotional relationship with these games as a culture.
Organizations of dedicated individuals have formed to maintain them as a playable part of our shared past. We’ve been planning to create a permanent arcade restaurant and bar for quite some time. A location where friends can get together to play classic games, drink local artisan beer, and eat fantastic cuisine. Arcade bars are well-established across the country, but they have been lacking in the greater Boston region. We hope to spin on this notion by sharing our passion for vintage game graphics, music, and culture. We are also searching for methods to interact with the heirs of this history, independent game creators, by providing them with a specific location to exhibit and unique events to introduce new creations.
Building on Bit Fest’s phenomenal success and the enthusiasm and encouragement of our incredible fans, the Bit Fest team is excited to introduce Bit Bar to Salem—the greater Boston area’s first Bar-Arcade! There are discussion elements and natural shared experiences, and you find yourself striking up conversations with others about various topics, with the games as a trigger. It doesn’t hurt that there’s alcohol involved. Bit Bar serves excellent artisan brews and spirits from well-known and loved local breweries and distilleries. Our very brilliant and creative executive chef creates innovative, tasty meals that will make your tongue and taste buds delight. Play 30+ classic arcade cabinets and pinball tables on the outside terrace, and power up! So, this is one of the best bars Salem offers you. If you are in the city, we recommend visiting it!
7. Ledger Restaurant
The Ledger is an upscale restaurant & bar serving New England cuisine in a 19th-century bank building. The glamorous interior, a former bank, is relatively spacious, so you’ll have plenty of socially separated room to stretch while discovering chef-owner Matt O’Neil and senior chef Daniel Gursha’s varied, upmarket New American cuisine: Consider grilled apples and honey nut squash puree with cider-glazed pork shank, herb-brined chicken with salsa verde and pepitas, or Maine mussels with pork belly, curry, coconut, and lemongrass. There’s also tented outside seating, ideal for enjoying Ledger’s delectable brunch fare, like delicious chicken and waffles topped with green chile butter and spicy honey. Chef-owner Matt O’Neil recently led the meticulous refurbishment of a circa-1818 old savings bank into a dazzling restaurant space.
Exposed original masonry, a wall of reclaimed deposit boxes, and a long, wooden community table coexist with more polished features like an expansive open kitchen with a bespoke wood-fire grill and a dramatic, massive chandelier over the bar. The menu has a new New England atmosphere with seasonal, locally produced sides like cornbread and succotash and substantial mains like a Berkshire pork chop with marinated peaches. Another Washington Street treasure, Ledger Restaurant, is a must-visit restaurant with a distinctively exciting take on its fabulous fare. Still, Ledger also takes traditional 19th-century favorites and updates them with much 21st-century love. Wood-fired grills, for example, are used to elegantly infuse meats and veggies with a smokey richness found exclusively in wood-fired grills, so that Ledger Double Burger you ordered? It’ll be in a league of its own! Ledger is a favorite for the cocktail set, with a full menu that includes meat-based, vegetarian, and vegan alternatives.
It has the air of a luxury loft, with exposed brick walls, wood flooring, hanging pendant lighting, and many metals and wood elements, and it is located in a historic bank building. According to several recent internet evaluations, the service at Ledger isn’t the nicest. Ledger, located near downtown, is ideal for a date! It offers stunning décor evocative of an old bank, a speakeasy ambiance from the 1920s, significant ceilings, and fantastic food. The service at Ledger is also excellent. A superb gourmet dining experience in a lovely historic building providing some of Salem’s freshest and tastiest food. The food and drinks change seasonally. The cuisine has flavor and texture layer upon layer. It is expertly produced by a culinary staff that values inventiveness and quality. We were taken aback. The crew is kind and energetic.
6. Howling Wolf Taqueria
The Howling Wolf Taqueria specializes in very fresh, authentic, and affordable Mexican taqueria food. Funky Mexican establishment with homemade meals, live music on the weekends, and beers and margaritas. Customer favorites include the San Diego-style fish tacos, Carne Deshebrada (shredded beef) burrito, and Posole (red chile broth with pork, avocado, onions, radishes, and cabbage). Customers of age also love our delicious margaritas, homemade Sangrias, and the price of the PBR ($2/pint). Their great ambiance elevates the taqueria experience to a new level, but for taqueria prices. The restaurant is perfect for all kinds of events, from birthday parties to holiday parties to fundraisers.
Building community through their business is one of their highest priorities and the reason they open up the room to fundraisers benefiting North Shore communities. They also provide catering throughout the North Shore and deliver to Salem residents and businesses. They are open seven days a week. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m., with the regular menu available until 10:00 p.m. and the late night menu available until 11:00 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, they are open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., with a standard menu available until 11:00 p.m. and a late-night menu available until midnight. Then go to Howling Wolf Taqueria on Lafayette, where savory and fresh made-from-scratch Mexican cuisine is served in a clean setting highlighted by bright and artistic art pieces that add to the ambiance southwestern-style restaurant. Howling Wolf Taqueria’s hand-made flour and maize tortillas ensure that there is no such thing as a lousy taco or burrito.
Tortilla chips are also freshly fried throughout the day, so the chips and salsa are out of this world. This Salem, Massachusetts restaurant serves delectable tacos, burritos, and salads made using fresh, local ingredients. The Howling Wolf is a laid-back eatery in Salem, MA. Most tables are high-tops, or you can sit at the bar. However, all tables get full service. This Mexican joint’s enormous burritos include the namesake Howling Wolf, a fork-and-knife-required beast loaded with shredded beef, salsa, and beans and sitting in a sea of chili sauce. The homemade tortillas are among the best in town, especially when deep-fried for superb chimichangas. But don’t overlook the menu’s other “wolf munchies,” such as avocado fries or chicken wings with jalapeno ranch. The Howling Wolf claims to be the coolest cantina on the north coast. So, this is one of the best bars in the city!
Bambolina is a rustic-cool spot serving wood-fired pies, small plates, wine & craft beer to hip crowds. This location opened in 2015. Bambolina serves Neapolitan pizza and Italian shared meals in a contemporary industrial setting. The menu mixes fresh foods with culinary integrity to provide a relaxed eating experience. Their wood-fired pizza oven, imported from Naples, Italy, cooks handmade pizza at 925 degrees in 90 seconds and serves as the restaurant’s focal point. They emphasize craft and local beer, as well as unique wine options. The rustic Italian cuisine at Bambolina is anchored by wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas, which are topped with anything from octopus to bresaola to gorgonzola dolce. Pasta dishes and sides, such as mushrooms marinated in lemon, thyme, and crushed red pepper, are also available, as is affogato—vanilla gelato topped with a double espresso—for dessert.
Meanwhile, Bambolina’s takeaway menu includes a slew of “necessities”: Where else can you arrange for a curbside collection of house-made chile oil alongside CBD tinctures, sanitizer bottles, and firewood bundles? These two restaurants are new, modern, and lively, with polar-opposite themes in the exact location. Kokeshi used to be in its building, a hip retro hangout with lots of Japanese and Chinese decor and classic kung-fu films projected on a giant brick wall. It has now teamed up in Bambolina’s industrial-chic setting, with high ceilings with exposed wood beams, hanging pendant lighting and Edison bulbs, and a long, steel-top bar with communal seating. It is an Italian-style pizza restaurant in the middle of Salem, MA, with great pizzas and an abundance of specialty beverages.
The wild mushroom pizza comes on a handcrafted crust with pancetta (Italian bacon). It is covered with garlic ricotta cream sauce, fontina and mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, and fresh basil, which is my favorite. Their garlic knots are pretty addicting! Their approach is straightforward: utilize exceptional ingredients, depend on historic culinary expertise, and rely on the craft of integrity, and a Bambolina pizza is ready for you to enjoy in 90 seconds. The Bambolina Restaurant is the ideal spot for made-to-order Neo-Neapolitan pizzas that will transport you to Italy with every mouthful. The Margarita pizza was delicious, and I strongly suggest it. I can’t take away points because the crust was still fantastic. They appear to offer some essential menu items and rotating unique pizzas. Surprisingly, they provide a variety of Asian cuisine, which looks delicious and popular.
4. Village Tavern
Village Tavern is an upbeat American tavern with a patio, game room & extensive beer list serving classic American pub grub. The Village Tavern is located in the center of downtown Salem, immediately across from the World Famous Peabody Essex Museum. It is only a two-minute walk from the iconic ‘Salem Witch Museum’ and a five-minute walk from Salem’s Seaport Hotel. They serve “The Best Steak Tips in America, Period,” fantastic Roast Prime ribs, Fresh Salads, Popular Sandwiches, and a wide range of delectable appetizers. There’s something for everyone and every budget. Four (4) years in a row, Salem’s Best Burger voted! Across from the Peabody Essex Museum. Patio overlooking the Village Fountain. It was voted the #1 burger in Salem. Large craft beer selection, lobster rolls, prime rib, and tasty appetizers. Buses welcome.
Village Tavern provides hefty chunks of meat like their renowned slow-roasted Prime Rib with New England mainstays like creamy New England Clam Chowder and buttery Lobstah’ Mac n Cheese. A weekly game night rotation, live entertainment, and a gaming room with skee ball, air hockey, dartboards, pool tables, and more are also on the menu. Village Tavern on Essex has a full bar as well as indoor and outdoor seating, so whether you want to quietly sip your cocktail while eating your Prime Rib French Dip and people watching from your open-air table, or you want to drink your beer and munch on your 10-Spice Dry Rub Tavern Wings. At the same time, the game plays in the background; you can do it all. Begin the day with a delicious cheeseburger cooked to perfection, and conclude the night with Smoked Wings, Live Entertainment, and Pool.
Fresh, honest cuisine is available at the bar, booth, table, or outside in our quiet yet comfortable Sidewalk Café’. The Village Tavern is one of the top casual restaurants in Salem, MA. They always have terrific live music and a full bar, so it’s a vibrant spot to dine or drink. Sandwiches, seafood platters, rib-eye steaks, burgers, and salads are among the beautiful selections on the menu. Our service was OUTSTANDING! Jessica might be my new best friend if we lived nearby. I ordered the Rueben, the finest I’d ever had. The baked Haddock was very delicious. It was so crisp and light. We also ordered meat lovers’ pizza and beef stew. Everyone is raving about it! So, this is one of the best bars in Salem.
3. Flying Saucer Pizza Company
Flying Saucer Pizza Company has Pizzas topped with local ingredients paired with craft beers in funky digs sporting space decor. Traditional, vegan & gluten-free craft pizza with New England craft beers and ciders. Sci-fi decor. Fresh dough is made daily! Flying Saucer Pizza Company is the go-to in Salem for delicious ‘za in a fun atmosphere, with décor and food themes that include Star Wars, Doctor Who, and all things sci-fi, such as their Spaceballs: The Musical meatball appetizer, their Soylent Green spinach, and artichoke dip, and their major crowd favorite specialty pizza, the Nick Fury, a super spicy pizza with cream sauce, buffalo chicken, Scallions. Doesn’t it sound amazing? There are also a lot of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free alternatives, so there is something for everyone. They’re on Washington Street, directly behind the Bewitched Samantha monument, and there’s also outside seating.
The menu is rife with geeky allusions, from the “Spaceballs” (aka. garlic knots) to the several specialty pies: The “Audrey II,” for example, is a homage to the ravenous plant from Little Shop of Horrors, with arugula, roasted red peppers, and balsamic fig. But you can also make your pizza with spectacular extras like sweet habanero sauce, Cajun-style chicken, and a slew of vegan options like jackfruit disguised as “pulled pork” or “meatballs.” Gluten-free crusts are also available and trust us when we say they’re out of this world. The Flying Saucer Pizza Company serves gourmet pizzas and specialty brews in a quirky, chic urban environment. They serve New York-style pizza and vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. They cook everything from scratch and utilize fresh, local ingredients wherever feasible.
This award-winning restaurant is one of the best places to dine in Salem, serving exquisite gourmet pizzas in a pleasant and relaxed setting. The pizza was delicious. They performed an outstanding job. The interior is really out of this world. The waitress was excellent. In addition, someone drew the hex girls on the chalkboard, which was fantastic. It was the most incredible pizza I’d had since moving to Massachusetts. We were in Salem for two days and were searching for an inexpensive, fast lunch spot, so we all bought a piece. The pizza was so incredible that we returned for supper to try some specialty pizzas. I highly suggest it! The service was excellent and so were the meals and beverages. So, this is one of the best bars Salem has to offer you.
2. O’Neills Pub & Restaurant
O’Neills Pub & Restaurant is a lively, casual Irish bar with eclectic pub grub & imported beers, plus live music & DJ nights. The Irish bar and downtown Salem restaurant have a fantastic beer, cuisine, live music, and Wicked Good Craic! Since 2000, O’Neill’s has been a cornerstone of Salem’s Irish community due to our welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. If you haven’t already, coming through the door of O’Neill’s Pub may put you in the mood to taste everyone’s favorite Irish stout! Standard pub meal is offered in a pleasant setting that will have you feeling the “wicked fantastic craic” that O’Neill passionately believes in (translation: excellent discussion and entertainment!) They also take their craic seriously, with a full calendar of live entertainment, trivia nights, gaming nights, and other events.
Irish pub favorites like Bangers & Mash and Shepherd’s Pie are served alongside New England classics like Clam Chowder, and if you’re looking for a well-made cocktail, you can order from the complete bar or build your own at the super-equipped Build Your Own Bloody Mary station! A traditional Irish bar serves lunch and dinner. Live Irish bands perform early Friday and Sunday mornings, while DJs and Karaoke are available on weekend nights. Where can I even begin!? What a beautiful location! Parking is a problem since, well, it’s Salem. Best wishes. The food is inventive and delicious, especially the Irish “nachos.” I’m pleased we dropped in; the service was polite, the music was enjoyable, and the meal was delicious! And the cocktails were the cherry on top! Without a doubt, the most excellent shepherd’s pie I’ve ever tasted!
The Guinness stew is also delicious! The atmosphere is ideal, and the workers are all quite kind. Only an Irish bar in Salem is better than a pub in Salem! Excellent spot for a drink with your pals! My college friends and I recently graduated and traveled to Salem to celebrate. We happened onto O’Neills and were delighted we did. Their variety was fantastic, and the personnel was quite pleasant. What more could you want? A terrific environment and a great drink. O’Neills is your neighborhood bar right in the center of the witch tourist trap in Salem, Mass. It is your excellent Irish pub. Massachusetts is like New York in that you need to order some food to imbibe, and we got the cheapest item: tortilla chips and salsa for $1. I miss bars—the wisdom of the bartender.
1. Salem’s Retreat
Serving delicious homemade food every day from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY DINNER TILL 10 pm. They offer a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and Dinner options. The bar is now open and stocked with a wide range of beer, wine, and liquor. Stop by for one of their many mimosas or a bloody mary! We have keno and scratch tickets as well. They founded Salem’s Retreat out of a deep love for real food, for food that is fresh, healthy, and authentic. They only use natural ingredients here at Salem’s Retreat. They work hard to create each meal, a healthy representation of our passion for food, life, and living. Salem’s Retreat debuted in 2021, although its history stretches back to February 26, 1775, when British Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Leslie and his 64th Regiment of the Line staged a raid on American military depots in Salem, only to be repulsed by local militia.
Breakfast is available all day. They serve both sweet and savory foods. Lunch starts at 10 am. They also serve alcohol with a full bar open. I have come twice since they changed ownership from their initial establishment. Both times were on pretty busy days, but luckily there are seats inside and outside available. We’ve had to wait at most 10 minutes for a seat. On one occasion, we came for brunch. On the second, when we came for breakfast, however, lunch was served almost all day. There is a parking lot at the back for those who do not want to walk far or risk getting a ticket. Been there, done that.
So far, we have tried Salem’s Chicken Sandwich, Hangover Burger, Monte Cristo, omelet, Greek Salad, and Reuben, including their side of fries, Cole slaw, and onion rings. Everything has been a home run in my eyes, but the game changer is the Reuben sandwich. I’m typically not a big roast/corn beef fan, but this changed my mind. Something about their bread, mayo, and meat is just the ultimate combination. Although the French toast for my Montecristo did come out undercooked the first time, they were very understanding and quick to correct their errors. Out of the size, I did enjoy their french fries the most, in my opinion. Overall, my friends and I have had beautiful experiences thus far. I cannot emphasize enough how great of a place this is and for others to experience it for themselves!