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irish pubs

slim Dec 9, 2006 01:26 AM

where would be the best irish pub to take a true irishman for lunch/dinner ill drive anywhere

  1. n
    newhound Dec 9, 2006 11:37 AM

    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)

    1. ponyboy Dec 9, 2006 02:28 PM

      The Burren - Davis Square, Somerville.

      Well served beers, good food, and traditional session music on Saturday and Sunday days.

      1. MC Slim JB Dec 9, 2006 03:14 PM

        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.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          elbev Dec 9, 2006 04:02 PM

          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.

          1. re: elbev
            yumyum Dec 9, 2006 04:26 PM

            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.

        2. Ali G Dec 9, 2006 05:22 PM

          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.

          1. v
            vanna f.k.a. babette Dec 9, 2006 08:59 PM

            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....

            2 Replies
            1. re: vanna f.k.a. babette
              hotsauceathlete Dec 10, 2006 09:33 PM

              My Co. Galway born and raised wife agrees with your friend....but if you want to go where the real Irish actually drink- the above post about the Castlebar is 100 % correct.

              1. re: hotsauceathlete
                tatamagouche Dec 10, 2006 09:36 PM

                Dang, I've never even heard of the Castlebar. Thanks, guys.
                PS "she considers water to be a seasoning" -- that makes me want to weep with affection. Glad I don't have to eat her food, but I'm moved.

            2. Chrispy75 Dec 10, 2006 04:25 PM

              There's always Flann O'briens on Tremont in Mission Hill. I haven't been in about 10 years, but I can't imagine it changing much. Also, The Green Briar in Brighton. I happened to go there when there was an Irish football match and the place was packed.

              1. Harp00n Dec 10, 2006 08:36 PM

                "Mc Slim JB" is absolutely right about an Irish Pub being as much about atmosphere as anything else. Anyone who's been to Dublin, Cork or Kinsale lately would be hard pressed to describe what "Authentic" Irish is today. It's as much about what's local, fresh and seasonal as are the best restaurants anywhere.

                That being said, I love the Washington Sq. Tavern for the food and terrific ale selections. Matt Murphy's STILL has the best shepherds pie I've ever had on either side of The Pond, including Ireland & G.B. As an aside, it's no more a shepherds pie with beef than it's a martini with vodka. They be cottage pies and "vodka" martinis, respectively.

                1. kparke30 Dec 11, 2006 01:45 PM

                  Peddler's Daughter, Wingate St in Haverhill

                  1. hiddenboston Dec 11, 2006 01:56 PM

                    Having traveled through Ireland several times, I have really become a fan of the simple little country pubs that you can find in any small town from Ballyvaughn to Rathdrum.

                    As far as places in the Boston area that have a similar feel? Well, I agree with MC about James's Gate in JP, which might be my favorite in the Boston area. It has that ancient feel that I love so much about the country pubs in Ireland. Other than that, I'd say that the Irish Village in Brighton has an authentic feel to it (and is frequented by Irish immigrants), and Bad Abbot's in Quincy has that well-worn look that you might find in the less touristy pubs of Dublin and Galway.

                    Now if someone could tell me where to find a good toasted ham and cheese in a Boston-area Irish pub, I'd be one happy person!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hiddenboston
                      twentyoystahs Dec 11, 2006 02:14 PM

                      Actually, one of my first experiences at James Gate was at lunch. They had delicious "toasties," which i believe were sandwiches similar to what you describe, i.e. "a good toasted ham and cheese." They had all sorts of sandwich fillings, turkey, cheese, ham, etc and I remember it was really a delicious, comforting sandwich. Not sure if that's available at dinner, but I'm assuming yes?

                      1. re: twentyoystahs
                        hiddenboston Dec 11, 2006 02:35 PM

                        Yes, toasties--that's exactly what I'm looking for! Whenever I've gone to James's Gate (for dinner), I've always opted for burgers, Shepherd's Pie, etc., but never asked if they had toasties. This is indeed good news! I haven't had a toasted ham and cheese and a pint since Gus O'Connor's in Doolin last year, so I'm well past due.

                    2. v
                      vanna f.k.a. babette Dec 11, 2006 03:10 PM

                      Squealing Pig off Huntington Ave used to have some pretty tasty toasties as well, although I haven't been in a few years.

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