where would be the best irish pub to take a true irishman for lunch/dinner ill drive anywhere
Depends... some places feel like an actual Irish pub in terms of atmosphere and decor, and others have actual Irish people in them. And if you want ot get into the whole "best poured pint of Guinness" thing...
In Cambridge, try the Druid (Inman Square)or Tir Na Nog (Union Square)
The Burren - Davis Square, Somerville.
Well served beers, good food, and traditional session music on Saturday and Sunday days.
I'm no authenticity poobah, but I know fake-Irish when I see it, and I see fake about 50 times more frequently than less-fake around here.
I like James's Gate in JP: good beer, solid food, very friendly, not covered with neon shamrock signs.
I used to love Matt Murphy's in Brookline Village (despite its detractors on this board), but it's been redone, and I haven't been back in a while. It used to have sandwiches on great bread to eat standing at the bar, and really fine versions of roast chicken, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie (properly made with lamb, not often seen around here). Quiz nights (Wednesdays) were always packed with Irish ex-pats.
The Washington Square Tavern in Brookline isn't explicitly Irish, but has the feel I associate with the ideal in my mind: warm, friendly, full of neighborhood regulars. It also has very strong food for this kind of place. Its new sibling, Beacon Street Tavern, is far less interesting.
Tír na nÓg outside of Union Square Somerville doesn't have extraordinary food, but it's a very cozy neighborhood bar that often has live music.
The Blarney Stone is Dorchester used to be a bad fake-Irish bar, and now it's not even pretending to be Irish in any way, but I think it's a good, solid neighborhood spot doing an upscale comfort food menu rather well, and the patio is great in warm weather. Good shaker drinks as well as the usual draughts. A huge, booming bar scene with DJs, Thu-Sat.
re: MC Slim JB
The one thing that Tir na Nog does have an outstanding version of is steak tips. For some reason, they are truly glorious there. This is more Boston than Dublin, I know, but worth keeping in mind.
James' Gate is probably the best all in all. Also quite good (and closer) are are The Field, and Plough & Stars.
The food at the Plough is delicious. Lunch specials every day, a properly pulled pint of Guinness, good mix of neighborhood regulars and a cozy atmosphere. (Much as I love the Tir, it's FREEZING in the winter!) I haven't eaten at Matt's since the redo, but I liked the vibe better before the facelift.
Outside of the city is the Burren's sister pub The Skellig. Irish bartenders and waitstaff, pretty decent food including real irish breakfast, and a large selection of beer. They also have live irish music most of the week in the front room.
I grew up in Brighton and many of the irish would go to the Castlebar in Oak Square. Can't reccomend it for food, but if your irishman wants to grab a drink with fellow countrymen, I'm sure he could do it there. I spent several summers going on fishing trips with my dad that the Castlebar use to put on. I would say 90% of the bus were right off the boat from the old country. Drunken irish songs to and from the cape. Good times.
I once ended up drinking an afternoon away at the Burren with an Irish friend until it was clear we didn't have the faculties to relocate for dinner. While dining, he told me that in his opinion the Burren serves the most authentic Irish in the area, based on the fact that everything tastes like his mother could have made it -- and that she considers water to be a seasoning :)
So take that for what it's worth....