A shiny and bright Lone Star Taco Bar

Lindsay Coleman, left and husband J.B. Bernstein enjoy a drink at Lone Star Taco Bar. Bernstein, incidentally, tends bar at Backbar.

Contrary to popular belief, Boston isn’t a bar town. There are certainly plenty of bars, but they tend to come packaged within the confines of a restaurant concept. There are a number of reasons for that, including our weird laws about alcohol in Massachusetts, but things are looking up as of late. New options like Brick and Mortar, Saloon, Backbar and jm Curley refocus the spotlight on the bar itself without making good food an afterthought. Add Lone Star Taco Bar to that list.

“We wanted to get away from how people see Mexican restaurants, like a sit-down family type of thing,” co-owner Max Toste explains. “If you go to the Southwest, or parts of Mexico or Texas, there are these little cantinas. You go in and order whatever you want, hang out and drink beer and margaritas.” 

But here there’s no culture for that, he says, despite the spate of recent tequila-focused, Mexican-themed openings.

“There are a lot of places that have opened as restaurants and are run like restaurants. We opened a bar.”

Similar to Deep Ellum, the popular spot next door which he runs with partner Aaron Sanders, Lone Star is a bar that also has great food, but in a non-restauranty kind of way.

“If you wanted to go in and have a couple Pacificos and a shot of tequila and split, that’s fine. Or you can come in and eat everything. … It’s a different sort of feel,”?he says. “Even more casual, and a little more fun. Tequila and street food are fun.”

Drink more tequila

Tequila and street food are fun indeed – for a lot of people they may be too much fun. Toste, like this writer, would like to see people liberated from their negative impressions of tequilas and mezcals.
“A lot of people don’t know that they like tequila because all they’ve had is really s—y, mass-produced tequila,” he says. “I’d had the same experience a lot of people had from 18 to 20, where you get housed on crack tequila and take your pants off in the street at Downtown Crossing or whatever, then never have it again.”

To combat that, he’s hand-selected a smaller list (no 200+ superfluous options here) of quality spirits that he thinks might do the trick.


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