It may seem like a no brainer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, yet when it comes to options available to both the casual visitor and the dedicated townie, the list almost seems innumerable. Indeed, there are probably as many bars to celebrate the Luck of the Irish in Boston as there are Mardi Gras hotspots in the Big Easy of New Orleans, with an equal number of destinations of which only the true, in-the-know locals are aware. Here are five go-to joints in Boston where the good St. Patrick’s Day times are virtually guaranteed.
1 N Market St
(Note: This one is a late add by the editor.)
Ned Devine’s in Faneuil Hall is going all-out on authenticity. They’re actually flying in a popular Irish band from Galway, Ireland called the Amazing Apples to perform on St. Paddy’s Day and the evening before. If you’re hungry, try the Guinness Stout Onion Soup. And if you’re in a partying mood, Ned’s rocks a shot called “PaddyWhacked” – which consists of Irish whiskey, Dr McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie and a splash of sour mix.
911 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02115
When it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, there are few options more iconic than staking one’s claim directly in the shadow of Fenway Park. McGreevy’s Pub is an option many will likely be espousing during this year’s holiday festivities, anxious to get their Boston hooligan on, while enjoying the atmosphere cultivated from standing in Red Sox country. Additionally, McGreevy’s serves as the official home of Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys, a fact that almost guarantees a rough and rowdy time for those brave enough to risk a broken nose or bloody lip (hopefully metaphorically speaking) in exchange for some truly unique holiday memories.
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The Black Rose
160 State St.
Boston, MA 02109
The Roisin Dubh, or “The Black Rose” is an integral part of Irish folklore, dating back to the mythology of Cuchalain, a famed Irish warrior-hero. The quintessential Irish rock act Thin Lizzy even created a concept track about the rose, entitled — what else? — “Black Rose – A Rock Legend.” Boston’s own Black Rose follows in this Irish tradition, making it a great place to hang a hat for the night’s festivities. Live, traditional Irish music, classic cuisine and a Guinness are only a few of the essential Gaelic amenities found at this venerable and respected Boston bar, a place were the luck of the Irish lives all year ’round.
247 Elm St.
Somerville , MA 02144
For a comparatively more relaxed Irish evening, The Burren in Somerville’s Davis Square is heartily recommended. Here, out-of-town revelers and locals alike can sit and commiserate over live Irish music on a nightly basis, an aspect which lifts The Burren over many of its contemporaries. This is a place where food, drink and friends gather over genial conversation and smooth atmosphere; a St. Patrick’s Day destination where the older crowd and youngsters can find common ground over tradition and culture.
1230 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Sharing its name with a famed shopping strip located in Dublin, Ireland, Boston’s own Grafton Street is an Irish pub centered in Harvard Square, which serves as an equally iconic commercial center for the city. It’s on this Grafton Street where tradition gets turned on its ear a bit, melded with upscale decor and a hip atmosphere which successfully melds the old and new for Irish crowds of all ages. Whether it’s the forward-thinking menu of food options or the bar’s unique approach to “Neo-Irish Bar” culture, Cambridge’s Grafton Street promises a St. Patrick’s Day night to remember for all those who venture within its doors.
934 Dorchester Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02125
The Banshee is Dorchester’s home away from home for the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, a place where traditional comfort food dishes (think fish ‘n chips and corned beef) meets traditional European sports (i.e. soccer) on the T.V., creating a comforting place to escape the expected Bostonian craziness for the holiday. While Dorchester may not be the first destination which comes to mind for most on St. Patrick’s Day, this fact actually works in The Banshee’s favor, making this a favored “dark horse” spot to get yer Gaelic on this March.
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.