New England dining reviews >>> Boston, Worcester Area Irish Restaurants and Pubs
Best Irish Pubs from Boston to Worcester
The Raven's Nest, Walpole MA (photo, courtesy of The Raven's Nest)Article by Eric H.
Given Boston and vicinity's high Irish population, it's no surprise that there are many terrific Irish restaurants and pubs in the region. Here is a sample of some of the best Irish restaurants and pubs:
J.J. Foley's, Boston MA (Financial District) When I first stepped into J.J. Foley's many, many years ago, I knew this just wasn't your run-of-the-mill Irish pub -- it was more like a must-see Boston travel attraction. The cast of characters -- the rich, the famous, the down and out, jocks, college kids, the foodies, human version of cartoon characters and plenty of Boston accents -- lends additional flavor to a pub that has plenty on personality of its own. This is definitely old school Boston -- in business for more than 50 years -- but one that has retained a timeless quality that keeps people coming back in crowds. The recipe for success is pretty simple -- prime Boston location, great beer selection and old-time staples done right like fish and chips, steak tips, corned beef sandwiches, and burgers. J.J. Foley's (Financial District), 21 Kingston St.. Tel 617-695-2529
Doyle's Cafe, Boston MA
(Jamaica Plain) Perhaps Boston's
best known Irish pub, Doyle's has been in business since 1882 and shares some similarities with the aforementioned J.J. Foley's -- that is, it is beloved
amongst a diverse group of people including working class, blue collar types, yuppies and politicians.
Doyle's features large, cavernous rooms that accommodate those who like
to drink beer and tell great stories in sharp Boston accents. You'll
find 23 beers on tap and some very good food, including fish and chips,
turkey tips, and broiled scrod. Doyle's is one of those "you have to be here" type of places that can't quite be described in written form, only experienced in person. The place definitely has an aura that is larger than life! 3484 Washington St.,
Jamaica Plain. Tel. (617) 524-2345.
The Raven's Nest,
Walpole MA Owners, husband and
wife Mark and Maura McAuliffe have created an extremely appealing,
authentic Irish pub overlooking the attractive Walpole Town Common. The
chef here truly has a knack for turning any dish gold, including the
mac and cheese, Shepherd's pie, apple cinnamon goat cheese salmon,
pistachio chicken and mouthwatering over sized burgers. You also have a
choice of 15 draft beers, as well as an excellent wine and signature
cocktail list. There's also some terrific nighttime weekend
entertainment here, especially when Irish music is played. With a
handsome bar, cozy dining room with bricks on the wall that are
individually hand-painted, tall windows that open up for the warmer
weather, and a nice back deck, The Raven's Nest offers a wonderfully
inviting atmosphere and has quickly become a "go to" place in downtown
Walpole. The Raven's Nest 998 Main St., Walpole MA.
Tel. (508) 734-9377
Wake, Walpole, MA
Another Irish pub gem in Walpole is Finnegan's Wake, an attractive, warm, down-to-earth, cozy restaurant located in the lower level of a former foundry in a remote section in the downtown. Irish native Tom Kirwin, with his gracious demeanor and pleasing Irish accent, and Walpole native Kristen Smith (also the master chef) are long-time restaurateurs with a knack for turning our great lunch and dinner selections. Kirwin owned the former Kirwin's Kitchen, a classic Walpole breakfast and lunch place where Smith waitressed. Several years ago, Kirwin decided to close Kirwin's, and with Smith opened Finnegan's Wake around the corner. No "luck of the Irish" was needed here; Smith and Kirwin forged ahead to bring an authentic, high quality Irish restaurant with lots of character to Walpole from day one.
Finnegan's Wake's greatest offerings are a delicious Guinness beef pie, with fish and chips, Shephard's pie and roast turkey and of course, a wide variety of beers and ales that would not look out of place in Ireland. For appetizers, the Irish potato pizza has an addictive full body taste, courtesy of fresh potato skins, peppers, tomatoes, scallions and blended cheeses. Desserts include a brownie ala mode bursting with authentic fudge sauce. The soups and salads are fresh (great French onion soup, clam chowder and Caesar salads) and the warm, homemade rolls suggest great things to come before the arrival of the main entrees. Service is always pleasant; judging from the friendliness of the wait and bar staff, they really seem to enjoy working in the attractive and cozy setting.
The atmosphere is indeed memorable. The dining room has high ceilings, soft lighting, soothing yellow and gold tones, subtle candle light at night, huge stylish wooden booths, Irish memorabilia lining the mantle above the high walls and exposed brick walls perfectly married with handsome dark wood. The bar area sports living room comfort with large screen televisions, comfortable tables and wall to wall rugs, mirrors and more dark wood and occasional entertainment (one or two singers at a time) to create the pub you've dreamed about but never quite found. The square footage isn't that large, so on St. Patrick's Day, the crowds are insane after the work day, so try to get there a bit early to find your spot.
Wake is a nice escape from the hectic pace of Boston. It is the perfect
dining getaway in a town with a high Irish population that knows it
Irish food. They know Finnegan's Wake to be the "real thing," a place
close to home that exceeds in quality and ambiance many of the high end
Irish restaurants and pubs in Boston.
Burren, Somerville, MA Those who have been to
Ireland say the
Burren is the closest thing to an authentic Irish Pub. The nightly
Celtic music, the true-to-form traditional Irish fare (as well as many
American chicken, steak and fish offerings) and the celebration of
friendship over a few beers in a dark, intimate please everyone from
the spirited nearby Tufts University crowd to those who miss their
favorite native Ireland pub.
Casey's Pub, Holliston MA Located in an 1840s former train depot, Casey's has plenty of historic New England charm and Irish personality with salt-of-the-earth staff, many beers to choose from and some great selections for your Irish soul like mac and cheese, Shepherd's Pie, slow smoked brisket, Jameson steak tips, corned beef sandwich and Irish potato skins. Casey's Pub, 81 Railroad St. Tel. (508) 429-4888
O'Connor's Restaurant and Bar, Worcester, MA This long-time popular Worcester dining spot might just be the best of the Irish restaurants and pubs within striking distance of Boston. Large in size, larger-than-life in its authentic, lively Irish atmosphere, and with some of the largest portions of food you'll ever see, O'Connor's is sort of like the Irish restaurant version of Disney World (in the best sense). Some of the menu items include the phenomenal, gargantuan Shepherd's pie, "Famous Beef, Mushroom and Guinness Pie," pecan chicken, chicken curry, fish and chips, bangers 'n mash and Irish whiskey sirloin. Add an incredible draft beer, ale and stout selection, and O'Connor's seems like the Irish restaurant made in heaven -- sure to make other Irish restaurant competitors "green with envy!" It's our personal favorite Irish restaurant in the region.O'Connor's Restaurant and Bar,
1160 West Boylston St., Worcester, MA. Tel. (508) 853-0789
Awesome Irish Pubs in the Boston, Worcester MA Area
Instead of just listing Irish pubs,
please note that the establishments below (that include the pubs listed
above) are places either I have been
and love, or have been spoken of favorably by people I personally know.
In addition, I have listed addresses, phone numbers and web sites for
you have a favorite Boston, Worcester area Irish pub or bar not listed
here? Write us!.
Do you have a favorite Boston area Irish restaurant or pub? Write to us and we'll consider publishing your review or recommednation.
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