In some seasons (sadly not this one), scoring a ticket to a Red Sox game is nearly impossible. Fans often face the prospect of paying over $100 for a last-minute ticket. But many don’t realize that there’s a way to catch a game at Fenway without a ticket: it lies in a triangle-shaped, dimly lit place underneath the center field bleachers, just feet from the stadium’s only red seat, which commemorates Ted Williams’ historic June 6, 1946 home run—at 502 feet, the longest home run ever hit at Fenway.
The Bleacher Bar, accessible from Lansdowne Street, offers patrons food, drink, and a garage-door-sized window looking out on center field. Open since May 2008, Bleacher Bar is closed only one day a year (Christmas revelers will have to find someplace else to get a drink). On game days, it’s a magnet for Red Sox fans, but the rest of the year, the bar attracts a mix of baseball aficionados, tourists, and local residents looking for someplace with a little atmosphere (the bar is decorated with all kinds of Red Sox paraphernalia) to grab a drink and a bite to eat.
Fans hoping to get a great view of center field be warned: the window’s protective mesh covering makes a clear view difficult, as we discovered on a recent visit. Fortunately, large screen plasma TVs on either side of the window show the game. So unless you’re lucky enough to snag one of the few tables in front of the window or a seat at the tiny bar right behind it, you may have to settle for watching on the nearest TV.
While seeing a live ball game is the main attraction here, the food made a bigger impression on us. Among the snack standouts, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the fried pickles ($8), which were soft and juicy. The classic buffalo wings ($10) were mildly hot, well-suited for those who prefer their wings not too spicy. We also enjoyed the warm soft pretzel sticks ($6), a good change of pace from standard bar food. On the other hand, the crispy onion rings and the gravy fries were a disappointment: the rings tasted like they’d been reheated and the fries were flavorless, despite layers of gravy and salt.
Moving on to the entrées, the Bleacher Burger and Fries was everything we expected: prepared as we’d instructed (medium-well) and served with a garnish of crisp lettuce, slice of tomato, and a smear of mayonnaise. All burgers come with fries and a pickle, sandwiches with chips and a pickle. Among the reasonably priced sandwiches ($8 to $12) are pastrami, salami, beef brisket, corned beef, and even liverwurst. And for those who don’t want an entire burger or sandwich, Bleacher Bar offers three different slider options: burger, pastrami, and meatball and mozzarella. To our mind, the burger sliders, with three sliders per order, were the best, enough to serve as a hearty appetizer or a light dinner.
And be sure to leave room for dessert. The warm brownie sundae ($8) is a must. As befits any restaurant near Fenway Park, it has an extensive list of bottled beers (from Corona Light and Heineken to Twisted Tea and Wachusettt Blueberry).
The average meal, consisting of an appetizer, an entrée, a dessert, and a drink, will run you around $30, considerably less than you’d pay inside the ball park.
A few other things you should know before you go: the place doesn’t take reservations on game days, so you may have to wait. It begins to fill up two to three hours before a game (depending on who the Red Sox are playing and how well they’re doing). Important to note: Bleacher Bar is 21+ during all home games and after 10 p.m. Those under 21 must be accompanied by a legal guardian.
For male patrons, the men’s restroom may be the best part of watching a game here. How many times have you waited in your seat because a game was so close? The men’s room offers see-through glass above the urinals, so you’ll no longer risk missing the bottom of the ninth when the game is tied.
The Bleacher Bar, 82A Lansdowne St., is open year-round for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Thursday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tonight, Thursday, September 24, the Red Sox host the Tampa Rays at 7:10 p.m. The Bleacher Bar accepts all major credit cards. Find a menu here.
This is part of a series featuring Boston nightlife venues of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below.
Emmanuel Gomez can be reached at email@example.com.