The uilleann pipes hum and the bodhran ring out a rhythmic, percussive beat. It’s the sound of a ‘Sessuin,’ a traditional Irish ‘jam session’ of sorts, and something you’re likely to hear quite often this St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. Curious to know where to catch the city’s best traditional Irish music? Stop by any of the Irish pubs below for an unforgettable Irish holiday.
247 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144
Hours: Daily – 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Somerville pub The Burren, celebrating more than 15 years now in Davis Square, prides itself on featuring live, traditional Irish music seven nights a week. It also hosts open mic nights, stand up comedy, acoustic sessions and live singer/songwriters. Burren owners Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello are musicians themselves, with the emotional power of music being something duly understood amongst all those who step through the Burren doors.
77 Broad St
Boston, MA 02109
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Proudly hosting many of the city’s aspiring musicians, the name ‘Mr. Dooley’s’ is often heard upon the lips of locals when it comes to Boston’s most beloved Irish pubs. The bar hosts live entertainment from Friday to Sunday while maintaining its well-earned downtown reputation for being the place to go for a pint. Sometimes, the city’s best secrets are lurking right under your nose.
The Black Rose
160 State St
Boston, MA 02109
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The guarantee of live entertainment seven nights a week is something that The Black Rose takes seriously. Beloved by tourists and townies alike, The Black Rose is located within historical Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, and features two stages upon which local and amateur musicians alike may ply their wares. Whether it’s an impromptu ‘Sessuin’ by local, aspiring players or sets from established acts like “The Chieftains” the Black Rose is a sure bet for live music including Celtic music from Sundays Well.
The Green Briar
304 Washington St
Brighton, MA 02135
Every Monday night starting at 7 p.m., for as long as anyone can remember, The Green Briar hosts an open musical seisiun with live traditional Irish music. The bar boasts the longest running traditional Irish Seisiun in Boston. Anyone can bring their own instrument & join in on the jam.
1357 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
Hours: Mon to Fri – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat to Sun – 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Irish ‘Sessuin’ is a tradition kept with joy and pride at The Druid, taking place every Tuesday from 9pm and Saturday afternoon at 4pm. Utilizing such vintage Irish instrumentation as flute and tin whistle, the talents of Noel Scott, Tina Lech, Ted Davis and a revolving cast of friends lend an air of authenticity Ireland’s magic, melancholy musical heritage. Add to this a tantalizing menu of Irish favorites like sausage, beans & mash, shephard’s pie and seafood stew, and you’ve got yourself a winner in The Druid.
116 North St. Hingham Square
Hingham, MA 02043
Hours: Daily – 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Located in Boston’s South Shore, The Snug pub welcomes acts of local, national and international status, while also offering its own take on the traditional Irish ‘Sessuin,’ every Monday afternoon at 5:30, hosted by local Skip Toomey. Whether it’s its acclaimed down home, pub food favorites like Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Guinness, or the lure of local Irish talent, owners Ed & Ellen Brown welcome friends and families to come together for great food, live music and the perfect pint.
George Pacheco has been writing professionally about arts and entertainment for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George currently resides in a humble New England home with his wife, cat and massive music and film collection. His work can be found at Examiner.com.