Lookin' Fer an Authentic Pint
August 29, 2007 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Help me find the Irishest Irish bar in Boston.

My parents are coming to visit me in Cambridge and help me move in; I in turn want to show them the best this fantastic city has to offer. There are lots of great MeFi posts on things to see and do, but none of them has dealt with a question most pressing to me: which are the absolutely quintessential Irish bars? We're talking low-ceilinged, brass-tapped, accented, representative pubs.

What says the MeFi community?
posted by awenner to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The Banshee in Dorchester seems to fit your description.
posted by dagnyduquette at 3:36 PM on August 29, 2007

Here's a list from the Irish Emigrant.

My favorite in Cambridge is The Field. The Burren in Davis Square has Irish music though it gets quite packed and there's a cover on weekends. The Greenbriar in Brighton is good. It's certainly not somewhere I'd take visiting parents but The Banshee or Devlin's in Dorchester will have the highest ratios of actual Irish people.
posted by otio at 3:46 PM on August 29, 2007

otio's got it. The Burren is the one I've seen the most "parents and adult children" groupings.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:52 PM on August 29, 2007

The Irish Village in Brighton is pretty good. No food though.

If you're willing to go out to Malden, Hugh O'Neill's is wonderful.

Kennedy's on Providence Street off of Brompton in the Financial District is very good.

The Times deeper in the Financial District is also very good.

Do not take your parents to the Banshee. It's a fun bar frequented by ex-pats, but it's not the type of place to take your parents.

Kitty O'Shea's near Quincy Market is probably the best, unless "polished" means "inauthentic"-- they even have believable ceilings instead of tile but it's part of a small chain that has two other locations-- Paris and Brussels, so it's rather more polished than a real Irish place.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:01 PM on August 29, 2007

The Burren puts me off with the crowds and the cover and the patrons-- you either like Davis Square types or you don't. If you're fine with them, go to the Burren midweek and it might be good.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:04 PM on August 29, 2007

I prefer the Green Dragon.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:05 PM on August 29, 2007

Seconding the Field in Central Square. And if the Burren is too much, then just pop down the street to the Sligo.
posted by diggerroo at 4:24 PM on August 29, 2007

I'm a huge fan of The Burren, but I tend to go for lunch or early pints; it does get outrageously loud in the evening, but I think the food's easily up to snuff and the servers tend to be as authentic as they come.

Then just pop down the street to the Sligo.

If your mom likes f-bombs, that's a brilliant idea. ;)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 4:38 PM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Burren didn't seem that Irish to me. It depends if you are talking about just off the boat (as my dad would say) or "culturally Irish."
posted by Ironmouth at 4:43 PM on August 29, 2007

I love the Burren, but like the Mayor said the covers and crowds can suck. I adore the place at lunch time when it's quiet and dark--it feels like pubs I've been to in Ireland then.

In Somerville, I like the Thirsty Scholar (beware: music on that site). You'd also be comfortable taking your parents to the Corrib in Brighton--the food is quite good and you'll hear plenty of Irish accents.

Oh and Matt Murphy's in Brookline. It's more upscale or something (not the right word) and has great fish & chips. Also on my list: the Squealing Pig in Mission Hill and the Brendan Behan in JP.
posted by jdl at 4:46 PM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

and beaucoupkevin's right about the Sligo. Not sure I'd take my mom there.
posted by jdl at 4:48 PM on August 29, 2007

I prefer the Green Dragon.

That's not a bad one, but they always seem to have live loud music. It's a good bar, but I dunno if it's best for a mom.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:13 PM on August 29, 2007

The Plough and Stars in Cambridge. God I miss that place. Though maybe only a parent friendly place by day.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:47 PM on August 29, 2007

You want authentic, you want something in Southie, no?
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:48 PM on August 29, 2007

Twelve Bens in Dorchester - it's named after the area in Galway that the owners are from.

It's a great time, parent friendly, and the folks who frequent it are likely to have lived in Ireland at some point.
posted by mazienh at 5:50 PM on August 29, 2007

You want authentic, you want something in Southie, no?

Southie bars are authentically Irish only inasmuch as the patrons ancestors probably came from Ireland and there will be fights. "Hey ma! We're going to Triple O's, so don't mouth off to anyone. You like Bud draft, right?"

(I know Triple O's is gone.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:11 PM on August 29, 2007

Well authentically Boston, I guess I meant.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:31 PM on August 29, 2007

Definitely The Behan or Doyle's in JP. jdl, I'd say Matt Murphy's is restrained rustic.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:22 PM on August 29, 2007

I vote for Matt Murphy's in Brookline. Fits the bill and is parent appropriate.
posted by emd3737 at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2007

Depends on whether you want stupid drunken cheesy irish or classy irish.

for the latter:
The Druid
Matt Murphy's
The Field
posted by sully75 at 8:30 PM on August 29, 2007

cocoagirl: I'd say Matt Murphy's is restrained rustic.

Oh yes, perfect words. Definitely.
posted by jdl at 9:31 AM on August 30, 2007

The Field
in Central is Irish leaning on the working class side. You won't be hearing traditional irish music here. Pints are poured well and the food (when served) is pretty good fare. Regulars are a plenty. It's Central so its pretty mixed.

The Druid
in Inman is nice and homey with excellent food. Many people say it has the best burger in town, plus I hear excellent things about the fish and chips. Can get busy on the weekends but if you can get a table it would be very good for the parents. The crowd is eclectic and fun. Parking can be a pain.

The Burren
ah the burren in davis. You will hear traditional irish music here. The crowd has alot of students and its more anonymous in general. Its big with 2 rooms and live music. the food is generally ok. not outstanding. they do pour a good pint. the weekends do get crowded.

And Sligos,
ha ok. I have spent many a night in Sligos and its the original dive bar. In a good way. The pbr is cheap but i avoid the guiness here. Maybe thats not fare since i don't drink it here. Its irish i guess, some irish folks here but its very working class with a mix of real locals (getting rarer in Davis these days) and hipsters. If you are up for a raucus time and cheap drinks this is the place.
posted by Gotham70 at 10:27 AM on August 30, 2007

Late to the party, but...

PJ Ryans outside of Davis is pretty Irish. Go there on Saturdays and you'll likely find folks in GAA regalia supporting their home teams.

Asgard, in Central, is very much a cleaned up "Take your parents to" place. It's not authentic, but you'll not fear for your parents' opinions of you.

Also of the Upscale Irish vein is Redline (untz untz untz in the evenings, nice and quiet in the afternoons), Grafton Street, and Temple Bar, all three of which are owned by the same company and found on Mass Ave near Harvard Square.

Of what's listed above, if the Burren's out and you wanna stay on the Right Side of the river, I'd go for The Druid or Thirsty Scholar (mainly because the Scholar has a snug, which is awesome).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:59 AM on August 31, 2007

PJ Ryan's would be my pick.

I lived right around the corner when they bought the neighborhood dive bar and gutted it. They brought in an Irish cabinetmaker to craft the bar and booths and floor. The bar back is composed of antique apothecary cabinetry. The pressed-tin ceiling has been restored. It's really a beautiful establishment, as well as authentic.

Authentic indeed, because I was one of their first regular customers and met the parents of the proprietors (a pair of brothers, perhaps?) on their first trip to the states from Ireland. By the end of the night, this sweet, amiable couple had bought us many rounds of drinks, and the father had his arms slung around our necks as he tearfully described fighting alongside Americans during WWII.

Can't get too much more "Irish bar" than that.
posted by seppuku at 4:20 PM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

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