Ah, Boston. So many pubs. So little time. Especially around St. Patrick’s day.
Boston is home to some of the oldest taverns in the nation. I’ve lived here for about 15 years now. The Angry Chef has lived in the city his entire life, and knows more than a handful of pub owners.
Sadly, a bunch of our favorite watering holes have long since shut down. (R.I.P. The Irish Embassy, P.J. Kilroy’s, and many more.)
Cobblestone street outside The Green Dragon
A guide to some of Boston’s Irish—and Irish-influenced—bars & pubs
This article is meant to give our readers who aren’t in Boston a little taste of what the pubs are like here—and provide folks in town with a decent list of bars with contact info.
In the window of The Black Rose
Now, this list isn’t really comprehensive. If you live here, you know how hard that would be to do. If I’m missing any of your favorite spots, definitely pipe up and I’ll add them to the list.
In the window of The Black Rose
I’ve kept my commentary deliberately light. Which Boston bars are the best is always a topic of lively debate…to say the least. (For the same reason, I won’t touch the topic of what constitutes a “real” Irish bar in this town.) I leave it up to you guys to decide for yourselves.
On the wall outside of Foley’s
And if you ever need a tip on where to go for a pint or three when you’re in town, give us a holler. We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
For more on how Boston celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, take a peek at the pictures from last year’s parade in South Boston.
+Jessie & The Angry Chef
A Map of Boston’s Irish Bars & Pubs (zoom enabled)
Government CenterArea Bars & Pubs
History buffs would do well to hoist a glass around Government Center, just on the outskirts of Faneuil Hall. The area is a wee bit too touristy for most locals, but if you’re visiting for a few days, it’s definitely worth a stroll through.
The Purple Shamrock — Sadly, the Shamrock closed its doors in 2012. RIP.
1 Union Street, Boston, MA 617-227-2060
This place is probably one of the most well-known Irish bars in town.
Hennessy’s of Boston
25 Union Street, Boston, MA 617-742-2121
Just down the block, you’ll find The Tap and Hennessy’s.
33 Union Street, Boston, MA 617-263-7771
When I said this strip is full of bars, I wasn’t lying. Paddy O’s is the next watering hole on the block.
The Union Bar
41 Union Street, Boston MA 617-277-2750
The Union Oyster House & The Union Bar are just down the block. This place isn’t really Irish, but it’s smack in the middle of this strip. The Union Oyster House bills itself as the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant in continuous service in America.
Fresh lobsters on ice in the window of the Union Oyster House.
The Bell in Hand Tavern
45-55 Union Street, Boston, MA 617-277-2098
The Bell in Hand Tavern is at the end of the strip. Established in 1795 by Boston’s last known town crier, The Bell in Hand is America’s oldest continuously operating tavern.
The Green Dragon Tavern
11 Marshall Street, Boston, MA 617-367-0055
The Green Dragon is snuggled down a little side street in between The Union Bar and The Bell in Hand. Established in 1654, The Green Dragon slaked the thirst of the likes of Paul Revere and John Hancock. It’s said that it was in this bar that someone overheard whisperings of the plan to invade Lexington and Concord, ultimately sparking Paul Revere’s famous ride.
108 Blackstone St. Boston, MA 617-742-2090
Down the cobblestoned street and around the corner, you’ll find Durty Nelly’s, right on the edge of Boston’s famous outdoor Haymarket.
FaneuilHall Bars & Pubs
Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market are also home to a handful of bars and pubs.
The Black Rose
160 State Street, Boston, MA 02109 617-742-2286
If The Purple Shamrock isn’t Boston’s most well-known Irish bar, The Black Rose probably is. You’ll find it at the back end of Faneuil Hall, as you head towards the New England Aquarium.
6 Commercial Street, Boston, MA 617-248-6511
Right next door to The Black Rose, you’ll find Sissy K’s, where you can always get a $1 draft.
Hong Kong at Faneuil Hall
65 Chatham Street, Boston, MA 617-227-2226
And right around the corner is the famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) Hong Kong. The little sister of the original Hong Kong in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. Not at all Irish, I know, but we’re suckers for a good scorpion bowl here at The Mouse House.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Quincy Market Building, Boston, MA 617-248-9900
In the center of Faneuil Hall, you’ll find Ned Devine’s in the Quincy Market Building. Located in the old Waterstone’s Books space, it takes up two floors and has three separate club areas.
Ames Plow Tavern
9 Commercial Street, Boston, MA 617-523-8928
Right next to Ned Devine’s is the subterranean Ames Plow.
The Financial District Bars & Pubs
There are a handful of other bars and pubs in the downtown area, right near the Custom House tower.
Boston’s Custom House
77 Broad Street, Boston, MA 617-338-5656
Ask folks who’ve lived here a long time where one of their favorite Irish bars is, and chances are, they’ll point you to Mr. Dooley’s.
160 Milk Street, Boston, MA 617-451-9460
Wait, Mexican and Irish in one bar? Yep, yep.
31 India Street, Boston, MA 617-426-1870
An Tain is right around the corner.
171 Milk Street, Boston, MA 617-451-7415
And so is Coogan’s.
131 State Street, Boston, MA 617-725-0100
And Kitty O’Shea’s. (Are you getting the idea that this is a good neighborhood for a pub crawl?)
21 Kingston Street, Boston, MA 02110 617-338-7713
J.J. Foley’s is further afield from the heart of the Financial District. If you’ve spent any time in Boston at all, you know Foley’s.
Other downtown Boston bars & pubs
Grand Canal (57 Canal Street, Boston, MA 02114)
Hurricane O’Reilly’s (150 Canal St., Boston, MA 617-722-0161)
Kennedy’s Midtown (42 Province Street, Boston, MA 02108 617-426-3333)
Littlest Bar (102 Broad Street, Boston, MA 02110 617-542-8469)
McFadden’s (148 State Street, Boston, MA 617-227-5100)
McGann’s (197 Portland Street, Boston, MA 617-227-4059)
The Harp (85 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 617-742-1010)
The Kinsale (2 Centre Plaza, Boston, MA 617-742-5577)
The Times (112 Broad Street, Boston, MA 617-357-8463)
An Tua Nua
835 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215 617-262-2121
Formerly Ri Ra, The Angry Chef spent many years here, playing Roadhouse with badly behaved football players and other assorted ne’er-do-wells. Just around the way from Fenway Park and Lansdowne Street, An Tua Nua is still one of our favorite bars in the city.
Other Back Bay/Fenway bars & pubs
Clerys (113 Dartmouth Street, Boston, MA 617-262-9874)
Crossroads (495 Beacon Street Boston, MA617-262-7371)
Lir (903 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02115-3104 617-778-0089)
M.J. O’Connor’s (27 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 617-482-2255)
The Angry Chef and I hardly every head out this way anymore, but here’s a list of some of the better known bars in the area.
Common Ground (85 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 617-783-2071)
Green Briar (306 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 617-789-4100)
Irish Village (224 Market Street, Brighton, MA 617-787-5427)
Matt Murphy’s (14 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 617-232-0188)
The Corrib Pub (396 Market Street, Brighton MA 617-787-0882)
The Kells (161 Brighton Avenue Allston, MA 617-782-9082)
O’Brien’s Pub (13 Harvard Avenue Allston, MA 617-782-9082)
O’Leary’s (1010 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 617-734-0049)
Over the river in Cambridge & Somerville
These days, you’re more likely to find The Angry Chef and I cozied up at one of these bars, across the river in Somerville or Cambridge.
247 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144 617-776-6896
Opened in 1996 in Somerville’s Davis Square, The Burren is named after part of Ireland’s County Clare.
The Sligo Pub
237 Elm Street Somerville, MA 617-623-9561
Just down the road from The Burren is the Sligo. It’s one of those dive bars that everybody loves to hate.
The Thirsty Scholar
70 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 617-497-2294
The Thirsty Scholar is tucked just outside of Cambridge’s Inman Square.
Other Cambridge/Somerville pubs
The Asgard (350 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 617-577-9100)
The Field (20 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 617-354-7345)
The Independent (75 Union Square, Somerville, MA617-440-8439)
Olde Magoun’s Saloon (518 Medford Street, Somerville, MA 617-776-2600)
Phoenix Landing (512 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 617-576-6260)
The Plough and Stars (912 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 617-576-0032)
The People’s Republik (876-878 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 617-491-6969)
The Druid (1357 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 617-497-0965)
Tommy Doyles (Two locations: 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 617-225-0888 AND 96 Winthrop Street in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA 617-864-0655)
Amrheins (80 West Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127 617-268-6189)
Blarney Stone (1509 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 617-825-8877)
Eire Pub (395 Adams St Dorchester, MA 617-436-0088)
Harp & Bard (1099 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 617-265-2893)
Murphy’s Law (837 Summer Street, South Boston, MA)
Shenannigan’s (332 West Broadway, South Boston, MA 617-269-9509)
The Banshee (934 Dorchester Avenue, Boston, MA 617-436-9747)
The Blackthorn (471 West Broadway, South Boston, MA 617-269-1159)
Slightly Farther Afield
Bad Abbots (1546 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02169 617-774-1434)
Doyle’s Cafe (3484 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 617-524-2345)
James’s Gate (5 McBride Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 617-983-2000)
O’Neill’s (120 Washington Street, Salem, MA 978-740-8811)
And what about you?
If you’re in or around Boston, where’s your favorite place to hoist a pint? If you’re not in town, tell us about your favorite tavern!