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wanted: dark cozy irish pub

last night we wanted one but, being new to boston, couldn't find one. i would like suggestions for all over town -- cambridge and somerville too, so that when the urge strikes, we can be prepared. last night, fyi, the meltdown of pub radar resulted in a burger at chinatown's only gleaming german beer hall.

dark and cozy are musts. please be explicit in describing the darkness and coziness.

thank you chowhounders!

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  1. Matt Murphy's, Brookline Village
    The Druid, Inman Sq, Cambridge

    3 Replies
      1. re: galleygirl

        I've always liked Matt Murphy's a lot too, but I'm not sure it's been dark and cozy since they renovated a couple of years ago. Seems rather light and airy now, although I've mostly gone for brunch, so the daylight may have skewed my perception. I do think that the Druid is properly dark and cozy, and last time I was there the menu seemed VERY similar (in a good way) to the Matt Murphy's menu, right down to the excellent oxtail soup.

        1. re: MichaelB

          I went to Matt Murphy's last night after also searching for a dark and cozy Irish pub here and was very surprised-- the renovation must have made a huge difference.

          Our corner was dark and semi-cozy due to candles, but they were playing grating techno for most of our dinner and then 70's soul into the evening. The menu was nice and our food was tasty, but it was all so far from the classic, fairly inexpensive Irish pub food we were expecting and craving. (Epic let down.) The beer list looked short and sweet though I only had a ginger beer that was weak. Service was excellent. Cash only. Easy parking (I thought.)

          Its a nice restaurant, but I would NOT recommend it now to anyone seeking a dark and cozy Irish pub. Perhaps once this was true, but it is not so anymore. No way.

    1. River Gods, Central Sq.
      PJ Ryan's, Teele/Davis Sq.
      The Independent, Union Sq. (rather large, but sitting at the bar can feel dark and cozy)

      1 Reply
      1. re: digga

        The bar half of the Indo is indeed dark and cozy as digga notes, but not particularly Irish. Totally worth a trek, though, irishbreakfast. It's one of my faves. Especially on alternate Friday nights when you can have your bar nibbles and well-made interesting drinks while bopping out to the MashAve mash-up djs.

        I also second vanna/babette's rec for the Behan -- a great dark and cozy Irish place.

      2. James's Gate in JP. Dim lighting, fireplace lit in the winter. Doesn't get much cozier than that.

        3 Replies
        1. re: veeva

          seconded-- coat racks (strategically located under the bar and next to the hearth) and no tv make this perhaps the best pub in boston

          1. re: pierce

            Is the music still very loud? I used to sit in the back dining room so I could hear myself think but that was about 5 years ago.

            1. re: ginnyhw

              hmmm, to be honest i can't recall. There's definitely music, and a high din to the background, but i don't remember having to strain to have conversation. In fact I distinctly recall one night in 2008 being flabbergasted in an election-related debate with a friend, both of us with escalating voices (though nowhere near top of lungs shouting) and being admonished by the bartender to keep our voices down....

        2. The Brendan Behan in JP. Excellent Guinness.
          I also like the Squealing Pig, just off Huntington near Mass Art. No fireplace but it really has that communal pub feel.

          1. Well, I've never found a pub as dark and cozy as Gus O'Connor's in Doolin (County Clare), but here are some that you might like:

            Hugh O'Neill's, Malden--dark, cozy, and not very well-known.

            The Druid, Cambridge--excellent burgers and steak tips, very dark, and very cozy. Great place to go on a rainy night.

            The Field, Cambridge--Spartan, well-worn, a bit gloomy, and a place where heavy drinkers tend to go for a pint and a shot. I love it!

            James's Gate, Jamaica Plain--a lot like some of the pubs I know and love in Ireland. Has an ancient feel to it, and some of the food is pretty good.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hiddenboston

              True, hiddenboston, Gus O'Connor's is the best. You made my day by mentioning it.

              I second the Squealing Pig. I sat with a friend once on creaky wooden chairs there next to--if not a fireplace--a heating grate or something? Whatever it was it made it even more cozy.

              The Thirsty Scholar in Somerville has got a snug you can sit in. And the Burren during the week for lunch is nice and dark and quiet.

              1. re: langley

                I spent four days and nights in Gus O'Connor's in 2005 (was staying one block away)--one of the greatest weekends I've ever had. Been there a few other times, too. Nothing like the place!

                I need to get to the Squealing Pig. I remember someone telling me they had toasties there. There are definitely worse things than toasties and pints on a cool fall night.

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  I saw the Red Sox win the World Series at The Pig. Not exactly a quiet, cozy night . :))

                  The back room there is especially nice though, if you want a semblance of psuedo-privacy .