While it’s true that leprechaun costumes and green beer attract more than just descendants from Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is, at its core, a celebration of Irish heritage. And with more than 20 percent of Boston’s population identifying as Irish, it should come as no surprise that this city has an impressive clutch of Irish pubs and bars.
You don’t have to be sporting four-leaf clovers to enjoy a frothy pour of Guinness, of course. All year round, the best Irish pubs North of the Charles River are serving patrons both Irish and otherwise plenty of Guinness beef stew, Irish whiskey, and live Gaelic music. From Inman to Central, and as far out as Davis, in Somerville, these six spots are guaranteed good times: no Irish luck required.
Head to Inman Square for Guinness Stout on draft and traditional Irish music at The Druid, a historic mercantile building transformed into a lively pub open every day until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. If what you really need is a post St. Patrick’s Day hangover fix, order a traditional Irish breakfast (two eggs, sausage and bacon, black and white puddings, roasted potatoes, beans).
Guinness-broth beef stew and Irish bangers with mashed potatoes are highlights from the menu at The Burren: a Davis Square pub founded by Irish musicians Louise Costello and Tommy McCarthy. Unsurprisingly, the casual space—all dark wood banquets, personal photograph, and exposed ventilations—hosts live music (yes, including Gaelic music) every night of the week.
The Thirsty Scholar
A smart fit for studious Somerville, The Thirsty Scholar has all the trappings of a traditional Irish pub: Bangers and mash, beer-battered fish and chips, and a solid selection (26 exactly) of beers on tap. But this establishment lures crowds of collegiates with Sunday night trivia and shelves stacked with old magazines and well-loved books.
The Phoenix Landing
The Phoenix Landing is not your standard Irish pub. While patrons come here for fried haddock sandwiches and a so-called “Classic Cork Breakfast” consisting of grilled bangers, white and black puddings, rashers, eggs, baked beans, and toast, what sets The Phoenix Landing apart is its nightlife. Live DJs play this pub every night of the week. It’s also a veritable sports bar, playing major hockey, soccer, rugby, football, and baseball games and matches.
Grafton Street Pub
Less than a five minute’s walk from Harvard Square, Grafton Street Pub is a neighborhood favorite for a bustling Dublin district with a similar vibe. Order the signature Irish Coffee (mixed with Cork-made Irish whiskey, Guinness, and whipped Baileys) or a Journeyman cocktail with Teeling Irish whiskey, yellow chartreuse, and spiced cherry and cynar bitters.
Designed in Ireland and filled with one-of-a-kind Irish furniture, The Asgard pub serves meatloaf with mashed colcannon, shepherds pie, and a chicken pasta named for a 19th-century Irish revolutionary organization. It’s a sit-down restaurant with a casual atmosphere (see photo above), perfect for an Irish meal in Boston.
Photo courtesey of @asgardcambridge on Instagram.