5 February
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Ranking Buildings on Columbus Avenue in the South End… or is it the Back Bay? | By Jeff Hamilton

Every so often we’ll highlight a specific street in the Back Bay or South End, calling out our favorite local businesses and homes.

Our first street specific blog post is, naturally, a biography of our namesake: Columbus Avenue. You can go to wikipedia if you need a bio of our human namesake. To be fair, here’s the wikipedia for Columbus Avenue as well… You won’t find much there.

Columbus Avenue, at it’s most prominent stretch, is the dividing line between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods of Boston. This core piece of the
thoroughfare, also known as Route 28, runs (Northeast/Southwest) from Mass Ave to Arlington Street. Once there, it merges with Stuart Street and disappears
rather anonymously into the bright lights, and rising towers,
of the Theater District.

Here are some of the haunts you’ll want to check out if you work/live in the area…

Columbus Avenue eating and drinking

  • Five Horses Tavern: One of the newer additions to the area and a welcome one at that. This tavern style restaurant offers a variety of seating arrangements for the party of 2 to the party of 10+… Menu is creative for a tavern. No shortage of micro brews. Limited outdoor seating seasonally.
  • Anchovies: A “surprised-they-have-a-website” pizza bar that is a far cry from anything else in the area. Anchovies is cheap and good! The type of place where you wish you were a regular.
  • Clery’s: Location, location… At the corner of Columbus and Dartmouth, it does not get much better for this watering hole. After the 30-something DINKYs peel away, the 20 something singles head to the basement where it’s dark and steamy to guide the night into the morning.
  • Mistral: Ok, now we’re going upscale. Mistral has been an institution in Boston since 1997. Long known for some of the finest dining in the city, a sign on the door enforces it’s “Dress to Impress” mentality (no sneakers or ripped jeans). French cuisine does not get much finer. Bring the credit card but it will be worth the splurge.
  • Petit Robert Bistro: This French selection is one of four under the Petit Robert brand in the Boston area (Kenmore, Cambridge and Needham to find the others). Executive chef is French and has operated this venue since 2004.
  • The Castle: What is it? is the most common question we are asked on a drive by… the funny thing, not many know! Built in 1891, it was designed as the headquarters for the First Corps of Cadets and as an armory for the storage of munitions. Since, it has most notably been a venue for tradeshows and conventions operated by the nearby Park Plaza hotel. Smith and Wollensky’s also has a location on the Arlington Street side of the building. They have very cool private event rooms within the facade of the castle
  • Electric Carriage House: An office building with distinctive architecture.
  • Jaes Cafe & Grill: A small but refreshing Chinese and Thai offering. Not the cheapest Asian option in the area but when quality and price are aligned you have value. In other words, get what you pay for…
  • Back Bay Harry’s: Featuring comfort food and a great location on Berekely Street, Back Bay Harry’s is a newer entry on the list. They opened in 2013 and have been serving up fine food and drink since then.


While much of the South End and Back Bay is populated by brownstones and townhouses, this particular corridor along Columbus Ave has a number of larger
buildings for luxury living.

Columbus Avenue building rankings


  1. Albert A Pope Building, 221 Columbus Ave – Originally an industrial site, (built in 1880) this loft style building was converted to condos
    in 1998. Since then it screams elegance. 25 luxury units blend the old world style with contemporary design aesthetic. Open floor plans, a concierge
    and garage parking making living convenient and luxurious. An incredible roof deck offers amazing Back Bay and South End views. To top it all off,
    Mistral (see above) is located on the ground floor! Units are rarely available.
  2. The Bryant, 303 Columbus Ave – Next door to 285 Columbus, the Bryant is a luxury condo building that came to the market in 2009. Victim
    to poor timing, the developer turned to an auction process to sell off the original units. An elevator, concierge and garage parking are all included.
    Select units of the 50 condos in the development have sizable balconies overlooking the South End. The Bryant is positioned beautifully along the
    spine of the Back Bay and South End – Columbus Avenue.
  3. 285 Columbus Lofts – This luxury loft building was renovated in 2008 hitting the market just before the sub prime mortgage crisis took
    hold. The 63 units have access to a common roof deck, a CVS on the ground floor, a concierge and direct access to Back Bay station.The conveniences
    of this location cannot be overstated. The address remains a noteworthy one around the South End long after its initial sell out.
  4. 75 Clarendon Street – On the corner of Columbus & Clarendon, this condo building houses 45 units and was built in 1988. It has an
    elevator, concierge and underground garage parking. A small common roof deck area is available to occupants as well. It’s signature architectural
    features are 7 upper level balconies and a triangular roof point.
  5. Tent City, 130 Dartmouth Street – A mixed income development at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Dartmouth Street, Tent City’s 269 units
    offer a variety of bedroom counts from 1 to 4. Families and young professionals mix at this ideal location adjacent to Back Bay Station.


Please let us know if we can shed any more light on this area or these buildings. Never hesitate to ask a question. We’re here to provide information.