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Dark wooden exterior of a bar with signage that reads Irish Village in gold, in an old-fashioned font
This place is pretty Irish
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Boston’s Most Essential Irish Pubs

Boston’s Irish pub culture is about a lot more than St. Patrick’s Day

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This place is pretty Irish
| Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone: Boston’s got some good Irish bars. From Brighton to Dorchester to Jamaica Plain, Boston drinkers will have no problem trying to find a pint of Guinness or a Bushmills, neat.

Some of these bars are great for the big game (soccer or rugby, that is), and some are great for a plate of bangers and mash (or delicious mussels). All of these bars are great for getting drunk.

Here are 17 of the best Irish bars in and around Boston.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

This map was originally published in March 2018. It is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Olde Magoun's Saloon

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518 Medford St
Somerville, MA 02145
(617) 776-2600
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Olde Magoun’s Saloon serves a killer corned beef brisket sandwich and has an enviable beer list, but the big draw is its burger list. (And don’t miss the mac and cheese.)

Cast iron pan full of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi and topped with a big pile of breadcrumbs and braised short rib
Mac and cheese with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

2. The Burren

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247 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 776-6896
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One of two Davis Square stops on the Irish pub tour. There’s live music daily, from Irish to Americana to bluegrass brunches. Vegetarians, take note: The Burren offers a meatless version of its shepherd’s pie, among other vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options.

The exterior of the Burren in Somerville’s Davis Square, painted black with bright red doors and window frames
A classic Davis Square haunt
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

3. Sligo Pub

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237 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 625-4477
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After some Irish music, exit the Burren and enter the Sligo Pub, which claims to hold the oldest liquor license in Davis Square. The decades-old pub is a true dive, so drink something brown (and drink it neat). Bushmills or Jameson, obviously.

Exterior of a bar. A faded brown sign reads Sligo Pub in white text; it’s on a light brick wall. There’s a strip of forest green wood above the door and large windows, which have white frames.
Sligo Pub in Davis Square
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

4. The Druid

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1357 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 497-0965
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At the Druid, an Inman Square staple, get the mussels. Or the blood pudding. And some Irish whiskey. And some beers.

Dark green exterior of a bar with bright red trim and a long vertical sign above the door that says the Druid
The Druid has a pretty exterior
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

5. The Plough and Stars

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912 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 576-0032
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The Plough and Stars has been operating since 1968 or 1969 (it’s still up for debate), and it’s been in the O’Malley family since the 1970s. Ploughshares literary journal was founded there, and it’s rumored that Van Morrison wrote parts of his masterwork Astral Weeks there, too. Just don’t listen to his newer stuff (unless you want to hear a boomer sing about the generation’s favorite thing: Facebook).

Looking up at a bar sign from almost underneath it. It’s a dark rectangle with light print that says Plough and Stars with a line drawing of a plough and stars.
The Plough is a Cambridge classic
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

6. The Phoenix Landing

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512 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 576-6260
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You know the drill: During the Premier League season, go to the Phoenix Landing on a Saturday or Sunday morning, order a Magners on ice, and watch Mohamed Salah score many goals in that gorgeous red jersey.

bright red exterior of a bar with a long white sign that says The Phoenix Landing in blue font
A den of Liverpool fans
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

7. Ned Devine's

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1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 248-8800
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Ned Devine’s is the Disneyland version of an Irish bar (especially if Disneyland were filled with drunk kids from the North Shore). It’s over the top and corny, but sometimes over the top and corny can be fun. Go on a weekday afternoon after buying socks at Uniqlo; don’t go on a weekend night unless you want someone to puke on those socks.

interior view of an upscale Irish pub with lots of glossy light wood
Ned Devine’s
Ned Devine’s/Official Site

8. The Black Rose

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160 State St
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 742-2286
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The Black Rose: live music seven nights a week. Four decades of getting people drunk. A very beautiful facade. When in Faneuil Hall...

Exterior view of a bar, with the light stone corner of the building centered in view. Both the left and the right sides of the bar have a green exterior and black signage with the Black Rose written in gold
A Faneuil Hall classic
Brian Samuels

9. Mr. Dooley's

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77 Broad St
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 338-5656
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Mr. Dooley’s is located very close to the New England Aquarium. Have a few pints, and then wander over and watch a bunch of cute seals swim around looking for some fish treats to snack on.

Dark exterior of a bar in a brick building in a city downtown
Mr. Dooley’s
Mr. Dooley’s/Official Site

10. Irish Village

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224 Market St
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 787-5427
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One could do an exclusively Irish booze crawl through Brighton. Irish Village is a good first or last stop.

Dark wooden exterior of a bar with signage that reads Irish Village in gold, in an old-fashioned font
One of several fine Irish pubs in Brighton
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

11. Porter Belly's

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338 Washington St
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 254-3300
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Exit Irish Village, steady yourself, and walk up Market toward Washington. Hang a left, and head to Porter Belly’s. Sink a Guinness, and watch some soccer or rugby, whichever is on the TV.

Light brick exterior of a bar with black signage that readers Porter Belly’s in gold on black
Porter Belly’s is the second stop on any Brighton Irish pub crawl
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

12. J.J. Foley's Cafe

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117 E Berkeley St
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 728-9101
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A map of Boston’s best Irish bars would be incomplete without J.J. Foley’s Cafe. It’s been around for more than a century, and it’s the South End’s best option for non-Irish Irish pub food. The bartenders also wear white shirts with ties tucked into the space between the middle buttons, which is a charming touch.

Closeup on a breadcrumb-topped baked fish dish with a wedge of lemon, rice, and steamed vegetables
J.J. Foley’s Cafe
J.J. Foley’s Cafe/Official Site

13. Murphy’s Law

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837 Summer St
Boston, MA 02127
(617) 269-6667
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Murphy’s Law is a freestanding dive bar on the corner of Summer Street and E. First Street in South Boston. Avoid it during the St. Patrick’s Day parade; stop by for a pint of Guinness or a bottle of Magners on a less hectic/sloppy day.

red exterior of a dive bar with murphy’s law in an Irish-style gold font
A true dive bar
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

14. Brendan Behan Pub

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378 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 522-5386
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If you’re ever getting tattooed at Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo and need to find an ATM to grab cash, head to the Behan. Also, head to the Behan after getting the tattoo — there are few more satisfying ways to spend the time directly after getting stabbed by a needle for a few hours than by downing a few pints. And there are few better places in the city to down a few pints than the Behan.

Black exterior of a bar with a red door and red trim around the large front window. Brendan Behan Pub is written in a gold font across the top of the one-story building.
A JP classic
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

15. The Banshee

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934 Dorchester Ave
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 436-9747
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The Banshee is especially worth a visit for drinkers interested in watching sports. Especially soccer. Fair warning: it’s (mostly) a Chelsea bar. But it’s also sort of an Everton bar. And a Manchester United bar. And a Manchester City bar. What we’re saying is: Don’t go there if you support Liverpool. (And if you don’t support Liverpool, you should really reevaluate your decisions to this point in life.)

Black exterior of a bar with red signage that says the Banshee in gold font.
A great Dorchester sports bar
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

16. Eire Pub

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795 Adams St
Boston, MA 02124
(617) 436-0088
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Go for a hike in the Neponset River Reservation, and finish with a cold beverage at Eire Pub, one of Dorchester’s most historical pubs.

Exterior of an old pub with light brick and green trim, with gold font reading “Men’s Bar Eire Pub”
Eire Pub
Eire Pub/Official Site

17. Corrib Pub & Restaurant

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2030 Centre St
West Roxbury, MA 02132
(617) 469-4177
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The West Roxbury Corrib (open since 1988) was once P.J. Cronin’s, while the Brighton Corrib (open since 1969) was once McMahon’s bar. Both are worth going to for solid, cheap food and beers aplenty.

Exterior of a one-story brick bar with green trim, black signage, and gold font reading Corrib Pub & Restaurant
The Corrib
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

1. Olde Magoun's Saloon

518 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02145
Cast iron pan full of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi and topped with a big pile of breadcrumbs and braised short rib
Mac and cheese with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Olde Magoun’s Saloon serves a killer corned beef brisket sandwich and has an enviable beer list, but the big draw is its burger list. (And don’t miss the mac and cheese.)

518 Medford St
Somerville, MA 02145

2. The Burren

247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144
The exterior of the Burren in Somerville’s Davis Square, painted black with bright red doors and window frames
A classic Davis Square haunt
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

One of two Davis Square stops on the Irish pub tour. There’s live music daily, from Irish to Americana to bluegrass brunches. Vegetarians, take note: The Burren offers a meatless version of its shepherd’s pie, among other vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options.

247 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144

3. Sligo Pub

237 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144
Exterior of a bar. A faded brown sign reads Sligo Pub in white text; it’s on a light brick wall. There’s a strip of forest green wood above the door and large windows, which have white frames.
Sligo Pub in Davis Square
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

After some Irish music, exit the Burren and enter the Sligo Pub, which claims to hold the oldest liquor license in Davis Square. The decades-old pub is a true dive, so drink something brown (and drink it neat). Bushmills or Jameson, obviously.

237 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144

4. The Druid

1357 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Dark green exterior of a bar with bright red trim and a long vertical sign above the door that says the Druid
The Druid has a pretty exterior
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

At the Druid, an Inman Square staple, get the mussels. Or the blood pudding. And some Irish whiskey. And some beers.

1357 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139

5. The Plough and Stars

912 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Looking up at a bar sign from almost underneath it. It’s a dark rectangle with light print that says Plough and Stars with a line drawing of a plough and stars.
The Plough is a Cambridge classic
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

The Plough and Stars has been operating since 1968 or 1969 (it’s still up for debate), and it’s been in the O’Malley family since the 1970s. Ploughshares literary journal was founded there, and it’s rumored that Van Morrison wrote parts of his masterwork Astral Weeks there, too. Just don’t listen to his newer stuff (unless you want to hear a boomer sing about the generation’s favorite thing: Facebook).

912 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

6. The Phoenix Landing

512 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
bright red exterior of a bar with a long white sign that says The Phoenix Landing in blue font
A den of Liverpool fans
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

You know the drill: During the Premier League season, go to the Phoenix Landing on a Saturday or Sunday morning, order a Magners on ice, and watch Mohamed Salah score many goals in that gorgeous red jersey.

512 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

7. Ned Devine's

1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA 02109
interior view of an upscale Irish pub with lots of glossy light wood
Ned Devine’s
Ned Devine’s/Official Site

Ned Devine’s is the Disneyland version of an Irish bar (especially if Disneyland were filled with drunk kids from the North Shore). It’s over the top and corny, but sometimes over the top and corny can be fun. Go on a weekday afternoon after buying socks at Uniqlo; don’t go on a weekend night unless you want someone to puke on those socks.

1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Boston, MA 02109

8. The Black Rose

160 State St, Boston, MA 02109
Exterior view of a bar, with the light stone corner of the building centered in view. Both the left and the right sides of the bar have a green exterior and black signage with the Black Rose written in gold
A Faneuil Hall classic
Brian Samuels

The Black Rose: live music seven nights a week. Four decades of getting people drunk. A very beautiful facade. When in Faneuil Hall...

160 State St
Boston, MA 02109

9. Mr. Dooley's

77 Broad St, Boston, MA 02109
Dark exterior of a bar in a brick building in a city downtown
Mr. Dooley’s
Mr. Dooley’s/Official Site

Mr. Dooley’s is located very close to the New England Aquarium. Have a few pints, and then wander over and watch a bunch of cute seals swim around looking for some fish treats to snack on.

77 Broad St
Boston, MA 02109

10. Irish Village

224 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135
Dark wooden exterior of a bar with signage that reads Irish Village in gold, in an old-fashioned font
One of several fine Irish pubs in Brighton
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

One could do an exclusively Irish booze crawl through Brighton. Irish Village is a good first or last stop.

224 Market St
Brighton, MA 02135

11. Porter Belly's

338 Washington St, Brighton, MA 02135
Light brick exterior of a bar with black signage that readers Porter Belly’s in gold on black
Porter Belly’s is the second stop on any Brighton Irish pub crawl
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Exit Irish Village, steady yourself, and walk up Market toward Washington. Hang a left, and head to Porter Belly’s. Sink a Guinness, and watch some soccer or rugby, whichever is on the TV.

338 Washington St
Brighton, MA 02135

12. J.J. Foley's Cafe

117 E Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02118
Closeup on a breadcrumb-topped baked fish dish with a wedge of lemon, rice, and steamed vegetables
J.J. Foley’s Cafe
J.J. Foley’s Cafe/Official Site

A map of Boston’s best Irish bars would be incomplete without J.J. Foley’s Cafe. It’s been around for more than a century, and it’s the South End’s best option for non-Irish Irish pub food. The bartenders also wear white shirts with ties tucked into the space between the middle buttons, which is a charming touch.

117 E Berkeley St
Boston, MA 02118

13. Murphy’s Law

837 Summer St, Boston, MA 02127
red exterior of a dive bar with murphy’s law in an Irish-style gold font
A true dive bar
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Murphy’s Law is a freestanding dive bar on the corner of Summer Street and E. First Street in South Boston. Avoid it during the St. Patrick’s Day parade; stop by for a pint of Guinness or a bottle of Magners on a less hectic/sloppy day.

837 Summer St
Boston, MA 02127

14. Brendan Behan Pub

378 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Black exterior of a bar with a red door and red trim around the large front window. Brendan Behan Pub is written in a gold font across the top of the one-story building.
A JP classic
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

If you’re ever getting tattooed at Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo and need to find an ATM to grab cash, head to the Behan. Also, head to the Behan after getting the tattoo — there are few more satisfying ways to spend the time directly after getting stabbed by a needle for a few hours than by downing a few pints. And there are few better places in the city to down a few pints than the Behan.

378 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

15. The Banshee

934 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02125
Black exterior of a bar with red signage that says the Banshee in gold font.
A great Dorchester sports bar
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

The Banshee is especially worth a visit for drinkers interested in watching sports. Especially soccer. Fair warning: it’s (mostly) a Chelsea bar. But it’s also sort of an Everton bar. And a Manchester United bar. And a Manchester City bar. What we’re saying is: Don’t go there if you support Liverpool. (And if you don’t support Liverpool, you should really reevaluate your decisions to this point in life.)

934 Dorchester Ave
Boston, MA 02125

Related Maps

16. Eire Pub

795 Adams St, Boston, MA 02124
Exterior of an old pub with light brick and green trim, with gold font reading “Men’s Bar Eire Pub”
Eire Pub
Eire Pub/Official Site

Go for a hike in the Neponset River Reservation, and finish with a cold beverage at Eire Pub, one of Dorchester’s most historical pubs.

795 Adams St
Boston, MA 02124

17. Corrib Pub & Restaurant

2030 Centre St, West Roxbury, MA 02132
Exterior of a one-story brick bar with green trim, black signage, and gold font reading Corrib Pub & Restaurant
The Corrib
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

The West Roxbury Corrib (open since 1988) was once P.J. Cronin’s, while the Brighton Corrib (open since 1969) was once McMahon’s bar. Both are worth going to for solid, cheap food and beers aplenty.

2030 Centre St
West Roxbury, MA 02132

Related Maps