Scholars Bar & Lounge

4.1
130 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Located along the historic Freedom Trail, at the heart of Boston’s downtown area, is Scholars American Bistro and Cocktail Lounge. Boasting a stylish and vibrant interior, Scholars has established itself as the favored venue for locals and tourists alike. Patrons can savor a mouth-watering selection of food, inspired by regional classics and superbly complimented by our chef’s original approach, late into the night. An extensive selection of tasty cocktails, refreshing beers and fine wines are sure to satisfy any palate. We also serve Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am until 3pm in addition to our all day menu. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm Scholars features some of Boston's best DJs playing classic hits.
What 130 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.1
service
4.1
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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New England
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 1ambience 4

I wouldn't recommend going here for the food. The drinks were great, but the food was mediocre at best. My friends ordered the special taco salad. The dressing was flavorless and there was a napkin under the shell, which my friend ATE because she didn't know it was there when she cutting into the salad.

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New England
17 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Turkey burger tasted delicious but was very messy to eat, bottom bun broke in half somehow. Overall a very good spot!

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PK
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Waitstaff a little too attentive, with three different people asking if we needed drink refills, etc. Nice, but overkill and confusing, plus interruptions. Steak tips tasted old. I mentioned that I'm celiac but I think garlic mashed potatoes may have had gluten. I didn't get the impression they were concened and careful in the kitchen, though they may be. Nice place with lots of good energy, and friend waitstaff, but loud if you actually want to communicate.

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JK
New England
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went before a show at the Orpheum and the food and drinks were both great and the staff was prompt and courteous. I would definitely come back.

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JS
New England
10 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Good food at a good price but nothing Earth shattering

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RU
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

lunch took 40 minutes to arrive; food was OK but not great; thought it would be a step up from bar food but it wasn't

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H
New England
13 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 4

Everything was good except the mac and cheese. Pretty much pasta shells with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

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B
Savannah
4 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Grabbed dinner there on a Saturday evening, and they did not disappoint. Their drinks were great, as well as the food and reasonably priced. One thing I appreciated is that there is a lot of space, and people were not seated on top of each other.

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New England
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is delicious and the drinks are good. Everything is a little over priced. Towards 9PM on a Friday the bar becomes over run with young college students who are rude and disruptive.

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SM
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Well priced menu with excellent variety and delicious entrees and cocktails. Came for my birthday with my girlfriend before a show and was 100% the right choice. Attentive staff, menu was not the standard “steak, half chicken, or salmon for $25 or burger for $15.” thst is so common in the area. Had the steak tips (A+) and a unique cocktail. This will be our regular spot pre-show from now on.

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VI
New England
15 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

First off the food was tasty... however, we had a dinner reservation for 8 of us at 6pm and the table ended up being a low cocktail table more suitable for 6 people having cocktails and hors d’oevres. We squished in as it was busy, no other large tables were available and we had theater tix for a musical starting at 8pm. We finally were able to order at 6:30 thinking we would have plenty of time for 1 course (sandwiches, Mac and cheese, soups, salads). At 7:00 the server came to “confirm our order” and literally wrote it all down again. Clearly something went awry with the original order. We didn’t receive all of our food until 7:30 and had to wolf it down to get to the performance just in the nick of time. The server was very pleasant but maybe was overwhelmed at how busy it was. We told her right when we sat down we needed to get to the theater by 8:00 so are especially disappointed in the service.

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JC
New England
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is my getting together with friends lunch spot. Love their Crispy Shrimp Rice Bowl, it's phenomenal - but wish they had the option without pepper flakes so I don't have to take a Benadryl. Totally worth it! Fish and fries, Beets Salad, Greek Salad is also delicious. Try it!

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n
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We went to Scholars Bar and Lounge for lunch. The selection was pretty good, with enough items for our vegetarian attendees. The food came in after a reasonable wait. The portions were plentiful. The food tasted great and we all loved the waffle fries particularly. The lunch special of harvest salad was also delicious and very filling. The waitstaff were attentive and accommodated our needs well. Best of all, we were about 15 minutes late for our reservation and they held the table for us, which was nice of them. For a lunch entrée, our check came to around $60 for 4 people.
A nice place to have lunch near the downtown crossing area. Not as crowded as the others and not as loud as well. I have already recommended this place to several colleagues.

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New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

The place was adorable. The food was mostly good but I am fairly confident my waffles were just some Eggos.

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MT
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Good spot for food after shopping and before stroll down to harbour ares

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F
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Sat at the bar, had draught beers and several starters (nachos, flatbreads, definitely wasn't a diet evening). My buddy wasn't sure what beer he wanted, and the bartender was great about providing sample pours until the perfect pint was identified. The food was fine, but we didn't try anything at all adventurous. It was pretty quiet, although not empty; Downtown Crossing on a Monday night.

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J
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Service was poor, but she may have been having an off day. I'm sure great service would have changed the experience entirely. Portions are small for what you pay. But, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was lovely. It was cool inside (temperature wise).

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b
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

The restaurant was relatively empty and were seated promptly. We were waited on and placed a beverage order. After it was delivered were ordered our meals, a simple sandwich and flat bread pizza. We waited approximately 25 minutes and the sandwich was served with the dressing on the bread instead of the side. I waited a bit for the server to return but had to flag done another person to get her. I told her the sandwich was incorrect and did not want it. Also I did not have the time to wait another 25 minutes and asked for it to be removed from my bill. Later a manger came over and delivered another sandwich and stated I will take it off but her is your sandwich. I told her it was not necessary but she was already walking away. My companion took a few more bites of her under cooked flatbread and we paid the bill. The only thing they were sure to promptly do was to drop the bill and then take it to process the payment. As I did not buy the sandwich i left it under the paid check.

Overall, a very weird place. I do not recommend as there are so many other and more welcoming places. Avoid!

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New England
7 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The menu had a good, diverse set of selections. Grain bowls to salmon, burgers to sandwiches on waffles. High top chairs are small and uncomfortable. Reasonable prices. Servers were friendly and responsive. I will likely return.

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OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 4

Themed brunch which had good drinks but mediocre food.

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New England
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 4

We went for Beyoncé brunch. Music was awesome, albeit loud, and the service was good, but the food was terrible. I would not recommend this place for breakfast fare, I could make it better it home.

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K
New England
8 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

I chose Scholars because of its convenient location and positive reviews--I was treating a friend to dinner for her birthday. We arrived early and were seated right away--it was pretty empty at that point (7:15 PM)--there were about five or six seated parties. We were taken to the way back of the restaurant and seated there, away from everyone else in the restaurant. Our waitress took our order and it came in a decent amount of time. I ordered a steak Caesar salad--the steak was good, but how do you rate romaine? There were literally two croutons and no parmesan cheese. My friend ordered a cobb Caesar, and she was happy with it.

The waitress brought our check before we were even finished eating, so we decided having coffee and dessert there were out of the question. I would not return to Scholars.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

They were super accommodating with making an Opentable reservation, however, it went downhill from there. For starters, there was a hair in my wine. Then we ordered their butternut squash hummus with feta but they put goat cheese instead. The icing on the cake is that our server continually disappeared. Overall, it wasn’t a great experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were in town for the marathon and needed a place to eat close to our hotel. Scholars was right down the street so we tried it out. Fantastic atmosphere, hostess and waitress! The food was great too... so great that we went back with a larger party 2 nights later.

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Anchorage
7 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Great place

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AW
New England
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Second time here in last few weeks. Food is really top notch, especially the bowls. Service needs a little work.

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L
New England
10 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The wait staff were very efficient and the food was delicious. Would definitely go again.

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AW
New England
2 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice, clean and fresh interior. Staff was friendly and professional. Not super prompt with taking the bill, but they were busy and we were talking, so no big deal. The build your own bowls were utterly fantastic. My only complaint is that they are not big enough for a grown man with an appetite and I wished I could pick both rice and greens and more options. I would pay more, as the current price is reasonable. I would happily pay $15 or more for a larger bowl/more stuff in it.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was good, and the ambiance was good also

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P
New York Area
41 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Busy after work drinks/snacks/dinner venue that is extraordinarily noisy but still allowed conversation across a high top dinner table. Cocktails were better than average. Food was surprisingly good but the service was disappointingly bad. Our appetizers had just arrived when a runner (no English) showed up at the table with our entrees. It was impossible to communicate with this woman although she eventually went back to the kitchen with the entrees. Five minutes later she was back with the same entrees (WTH??). At that point we asked her to hail our waiter. After a couple of minutes of her blank stare she left. We finally hailed another server and explained that we did not expect our entrees until we had finished our apps and not only had we not seen him since he served our cocktails but their food runner clearly did not understand the issue or our request to speak with him. Thankfully this server completely understood; told the kitchen to prepare new entrees for delivery at the appropriate time and then brought the fresh entrees at the correct time, kept our water glasses full and ensured we were satisfied. Advice to our initial waiter - it is your responsibility to time the delivery of your customers' orders. If you can't manage that then you should turn in your vest and apron dude. Your customers are not there to do your job for you.

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c
New England
38 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Unexpectedly large inside (outside looks like not much). Decent food; our service was scattered as two different servers helped us throughout our meal...the place is huge so I understand why each would disappear for many minutes at a time and never appeared together. One came over as we were seated to take our drink order; there were 6 of us and only one cocktail menu, so we asked for a minute to get it sorted. We didn’t see her for 15 minutes but another server came over to take our drink order within a few min. Then the first one came back and I asked if she was our server or the other guy; she said she was pitching in since they were busy...they both continued to wait on us so I hope they split the tip! Anyway it was fine; they were working hard. The steak tips with mashed potatoes (w/goat cheese! Yum) and green beans was straightforward and good; crispy Cobb salad good tho the chicken would have been better grilled instead of breaded and fried; the Mac and cheese was creamy and rich and great. Good sweet potato fries. Would return if in the neighborhood. Good for groups or to meet up with friends.

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T
New England
11 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

This is one of our offices go to spot in the city. We go for lunch and happy hour often. Food is very consistent and a great value. Love the ambiance day or night it's appropriate.

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A
New England
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We went to celebrate my friend’s birthday. The service was excellent, the food was good. The only thing is that they changed their menu sobI couldn’t get my usual drink which I miss but overall it was really good.
We brought our cake cooked at home and they kept it cold and brought it with the candlelights when we asked the waiter and it was a nice surprise for my friend, he was totally amazed. Thank you Scholars to help us make his day more special!

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K
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great little find in Boston. Service was excellent; as was the flat bread and cider!

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M
New England
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The food is delicious, especially the bowls. Three in our group ordered the make-your-own bowls and one ordered the shrimp/jasmine rice bowl. Healthy options that tasted good, too!

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KR
New England
9 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

I've been to Scholar's a handful of times, but never actually for dinner, so I shouldn't have been surprised that this wasn't their strong suit.

The food was better than expected, but two wait staff and two hosts all seemed confused as to who were taking care of us, we never got bread or water, and the music piped into the dining area was as loud as everywhere else in the bar.

Scholar's strengths are known, stick to them!

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New England
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Food and drinks were great! Service was okay - a few orders were missed/delayed but overall the waiter was pleasant and attentive. Lighting was a bit weird and the bathrooms were FREEZING! Overall, we’d definitely come back.

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N
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good location, the service was excellent (even for a large party) and the food was delicious. Management staff was also really helpful with a special request. Overall a good experience!

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Derbyshire
3 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

The waitresses were excellent.
The bar/restaurant turns into a nightclub later in the evening so doesn’t really lend itself to eating amongst he masses who wish to drink and dance.
The food was tasty and served exceptionally quick.

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R
New England
24 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Came to Scholar's for somewhere close to our hotel. Looking for some good food and drinks before a formal event. Scholar's did not disappoint. Was really quiet when we walked in at 4:30pm, but filled up quickly. Restaurant and bar space on first floor is modern, but very comfy cozy. There is a lot of room at the bar to just sit and drink which is what most people were doing that followed us in. There looks to be a balcony and pool tables, but we did not explore or see to confirm.

Had a nice glass of wine and a cocktail before dinner. Boyfriend had the Scholar's burger which he enjoyed. I had the Maple Turkey BLT which was fantastic! Ask for extra ketchup though because they give about half the amount you need for the serving of fries.

Service was average is not slightly inattentive. We were never asked if we wanted additional drinks, and I didn't get to ask for more ketchup. Luckily the fries were perfectly seasoned so ketchup wasn't entirely required. Pricing was appropriate for what we ordered and the service.

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