Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Your local guide to Amherst’s ‘boujee’ bars

Examining the town’s finest craft cocktails

If you’re venturing around the Amherst nightlife scene, you’ll find that the bars fall under two main categories. You have your casual bars, like The Spoke and Stackers Pub, which are for making memories on a fun night out. On the other hand, you have your boujee bars, the ones that give you the whole “Great Gatsby” feel and seemingly require a payday before going.

As a broke college student, I love my casual night out, but a drink or two at the more expensive ones doesn’t hurt once in a while. From espresso martinis to smoked creations, these Amherst bars have a lot to offer.

Amherst Coffee + Bar

From smoked creations to dessert cocktails, Amherst’s high-end bars have a variety of drinks to meet all your palate’s needs.

Amherst Coffee is your standard café during the day, but as the night unfolds, you’ll see it turn into a luxurious bar. Located right next to Amherst Cinema on Amity Street, the establishment has a soothing and calm atmosphere, encased with dim lighting as you enter.

Be warned though; the usual Amherst College snobs tend to seep in as well. Expect some judgy looks and passive statements your way, but nothing new or out of the ordinary.

As for the drinks, they’re not bad, but I’ve definitely had better. My friend got the ginger libation, which had blueberry notes in it, while I got the paisley park, a gin and rose vermouth base with hints of honey and lavender. I thought the drink was good, but nothing that I’d come back for. We also got the cheddar cheese and crackers, which frankly tasted like birdseed and was not the right cracker-to-cheese ratio. Regardless, they have quite a few varieties for snacks.

Ambience: 8/10

Drinks: 6/10

Food: 5/10

The Archives

Amherst’s famous speakeasy is the Archives, nestled right underneath Johnny’s Tavern in Brick & Mortar Realty. A filing cabinet marked with a red ‘A’ reveals a spacious, hidden bar with parchment decor lining the walls and candles lighting up the way

The Pink Squirrel at the Archives

I’ve been to the Archives a few times; their drinks are on the stronger side, but they still have interesting creations. Their menu is also seasonally updated, which I absolutely love.

I’m a huge fan of their dessert cocktails. I got the pink squirrel, which was made with crème de noyaux, crème de cacao and cream – a big hit for me. My friend and I ordered their snacks a few times, like the potato dip and the kimchi cheese dip, both of which warrant a return visit. The bartenders are also really nice. My only caveat is that they don’t take Apple Pay and are on the pricier side. Nevertheless, I’m always trying to go back!

Ambience: 9/10

Drinks: 7.5/10

Food: 8/10


Protocol  is the bar I frequent the most out of the pricier ones. Right next to Iya, it’s pretty much the antithesis of Amherst Coffee, filled with good vibes and a lot of cool drinks. They have an extensive food and drink menu too — fried chicken sandwiches with your cocktail anyone?

Violet Femme, Raptor Punch and Lychee Gimlet at Protocol

The violet femme is probably my favorite drink of all time. It has a lot of berry and herb notes with a gin base — I highly recommend it. My friend got the raptor punch, a more affordable option made with vodka and fruit punch. My meal of choice, a ricotta dip and pita, paired perfectly with the cocktails. The entrees tended to be average and standard to what you’d expect in a typical bar, just pricier. Protocol also regularly updates their menu with new cocktails.

Ambience: 8/10

Drinks: 9/10

Food: 7/10



Bonus: Tunnel Bar

Although it’s in Northampton, the dark tunnel vibes and the creative drinks make it worth the drive! I’ve never tried the food at Tunnel

Chocolatini and Pink Sash at Tunnel Bar

Bar, but their drink menu is incredibly creative. I’ve tried their smoked cocktails, dessertinis and vintage cocktails. I’m a huge proponent of their chocolatini —  which  tastes like chocolate milk. The pink sash is essentially a strawberry martini but good nonetheless. My rating is 10/10; I recommend Tunnel Bar for the drinks and the friendly bartenders alone!

Bonus: Random restaurants                          

Purple Royale margarita and Mango mojito at Garcia’s

Surprisingly, some of the best drinks I’ve had in Amherst haven’t been in any of these craft cocktail bars, but in local restaurants. Mexcalito’s passion lips mezcal, Garcia’s purple royale margarita and Johnny’s Tavern’s harvest moon (vodka with citrus liqueur) are my favorite repeat drinks. They taste like juice, making them slightly dangerous.





Mahidhar Lakkavaram can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X @Mahidhar_sl.

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