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The Best Irish Pubs from Boston to Worcester, Massachusetts

Image of Raven's Nest Irish Pub, Walpole MA

Article by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 3/15/17. Photo to left; The Raven's Nest, Walpole, Massachusetts. Photo, courtesy of The Raven's Nest.

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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 Cafe, 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!
Doyle's Cafe, 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

Finnegan's Wake, Walpole, MA

Finnegan's Wake, Walpole, Massachusetts
Finnegan's Wake, Walpole, Massachusetts. Photo by Eric Hurwitz.

Another Irish pub gem in Walpole is Finnegan's Wake, once charmingly located in the basement of a foundry building in downtown Walpole, that now resides in a beautifully created space in the 1A Shopping Center, just outside the central district. It's every bit as good as the first Finnegan's Wake in regards to food, drink, coziness and a welcoming, close-knit community feel. 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. .

Dining and bar area at Finnegan's Wake in Walpole, Mass.
The new Finnegan's Wake in Walpole. Photo by Eric Hurwitz

Finnegan's Wake's greatest offerings are a delicious Guinness beef pie, fish and chips, Shephard's pie, roast turkey dinner 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, New England clam chowder and Caesar salads) and the warm, homemade cornbread 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.

Shepard's pie from Finnegan's Wake in Walpole MA
Shepherd's Pie from Finnegan's Wake in Walpole. Photo by Eric Hurwitz

Finnegan's 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.
Finnegan's Wake, 685 Main Street, Walpole, MA Tel. (508)668-1189

The 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.
The Burren,, 247 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville, MA. Tel.. (617) 776-6896

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 & Bar, 1160 West Boylston St., Worcester, MA. Tel. (508) 853-0789

List of 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 your convenience:

Stone's Public House, 179 Main St. Tel. 508-881-1778

Ned Devine's Irish Pub, Faneuil Hall, 1 North Market St. Tel. 617-248-8800
J.J. Foley's Cafe (Financial District), 21 Kingston St.. Tel 617-695-2529
The Kinsale Irish Pub and Restaurant, 2 Center Plaza (Cambridge St. ). Tel. 617-742-5577

The Corrib Pub, 396 Market St. Tel. 617-787-0882

O'Leary's, 1010 Beacon St. Tel. 734-0049

The Plough and Stars, 912 Massachusetts Ave. Tel.  617-576-0032

The Hillside Pub, 2 Royall Ave. Tel. 781-828-7778

Harp and Bard, 1099 Dorchester Ave. Tel. 617-265-2893

The Peddler's Daughter, 45 Wingate St. Tel. 978-372-9555

The Snug Irish Pub, 116 North St. Tel. 781-749-9774

Cornell's Irish Pub, 229 Hayden Rowe St. Tel. 508-435-6191

Jamaica Plain:
Doyle's Cafe, 3484 Washington Ave. Tel. 617- 524-2345

Mickey Cassidy's,116 Main St. Tel. (508) 533-1343

Napper Tandy's of Millis, 969 Main St. Tel. 508-794-1568

Dunn Gaherin's, 344 Elliot St. Tel. 617-527-6271

Emmets Irish Pub and Restaurant, 434 Providence Highway (Route 1 South). Tel.  702-5201
Napper Tandy's of Norwood, 46 Day St. Tel. 781-762-0032

Paddy Barry's, 1574 Hancock St. Tel. 617-770-3620

The Chieftain Pub, 23 Washington St. Tel. 508-643-9031

Napper Tandy's of Roslindale, 4187-4195 Washington St. Tel. 323-8400

O'Neill's, 120 Washington St. Tel. 978-740-8811

Mick Morgan's, 973 Providence Highway (Route 1). Tel. 781-806-0066

The Burren, 247 Elm St. Tel. 617-776-6896

South Boston:
Shenannigans Bar and Grill, 332 West Broadway (D St). Tel. 617-269-9509

Finnegan's Wake, 1034 East St. Tel. 508-668-1189
Napper Tandy's Of Walpole, 1065 Main St. Tel. 508-660-1191
The Raven's Nest, 998 Main St. Tel. 508-734-9377

The Mad Raven, 841 Main St. Tel. 781-894-8188

McGuiggan's Pub, 546 Washington St. Tel. 781-447-7333

O'Connor's Restaurant & Bar, 1160 West Boylston St. Tel. 508-853-0789

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Napper Tandy's is an Irish pub in Walpole, Mass., that is magically delicious!

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. From Boston to Worcester, Mass., enjoy these great Irish pubs.

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