Irish fare, pints, and live music

Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or any day, this short list of Boston Irish Pubs will set you right the next time you’re craving a pint.


But first: the “one that’s not.” And by “one that’s not” I don’t mean a pub that’s not Irish. Nor do I mean a pub that’s not in Boston. I mean a pub that’s not with us anymore. Technically, it wasn’t even a proper “pub.” Technically–by name–it was a “lounge.” And it’s been gone for so long that it didn’t even make my list of Boston’s Best Dive Bars.


It was T.C.’s Lounge, on Haviland St. in the Back Bay. And I think of it often.


I was thinking of T.C.’s recently when a listener reminded me of the anniversary of T.C.’s demise. It was March 13, 2012. A small electrical fire broke out behind the bar. And instead of being allowed to close and repair, T.C.’s was told to close for good. That put an end to a run that started back in the ’70s. My uncle Neil was a regular there when he worked on the other side of Haviland St. in the ’80s. T.C.’s landed on my map when I was at Northeastern in the ’90s, and I made a regular habit of visiting there in the 2000s. There was no place in the city like it.


7 Boston Irish Pubs to Visit

I could go on and on about the “one that’s not,” but this piece is about Irish pubs that are still open. So let’s get to ’em. These are the pubs that do big business every year on St. Patrick’s Day. But they’re worth visiting any day, be it for a pint or a shot or a pint and a shot. So belly up to the bar. And please: drink responsibly.

  • J.J. Foley's Cafe

    Located in the South End, J.J. Foley’s has been operating since 1909, making them the oldest Irish pub in Boston. Personally, J.J. Foley’s has come through for me in the clutch a couple of times over the years. It was my sober-up spot after an Andrew W.K. show at the Roxy a million years ago. And it’s where I stopped with friends on our long walk home after the 2013 Boston Marathon.

  • The Black Rose

    For the entirety of the 2010’s, I deejayed Irish Breakfast at The Black Rose on State St. every St. Patrick’s Day. I’d play Irish rock and Irish punk between sets from the likes of Black 47 and Christian McNeill. The tradition continues with my friends at indie617 this year. I might even head down there myself!

  • The Banshee

    I worked in Dorchester for the bulk of the 2010s. The Banshee was my home-away-from-home. If you’re a fan of actual football, you’ve probably been there yourself. They hosted a hell of a World Cup party a few years ago.

  • Irish Village

    Back in the 2000s, when I worked at WBCN, we’d split time between Hogan’s Run (R.I.P.) and Irish Village. The village is still alive and kicking in Brighton. Too bad my buddy Fred doesn’t drink anymore. We had some good times there back in the day.

  • The Burren

    Davis Square in Somerville boasts The Burren, which is legendary. Live music seven nights a week. All the Irish liquids you could ask for. And a pretty impressive vegan selection, too.

  • Lansdowne Pub

    A Fenway favorite. Top-notch selection of beer and whiskey. An outstanding menu. And a great sound setup for live music. I’ve hosted quite a few live acts here and it’s always a great time.

  • Ned Devine's

    Faneuil Hall’s finest. Where the tourists and the locals come to mix it up. Multiple bars, too, which is key. The home of the Dave & Chuck the Freak .5K!

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